With a job interview coming up on Tuesday, this was a good time to do the first coat of gold size on both the St. Thomas Aquinas and Thomas Merton icons. That will give the size 2 days to fully set. So, starting this Wednesday, I will sand all red boles surfaces.
This is the first coat which is important for the next step. It seals the red bole surfaces with a hard finish, which can be sanded with a very fine grade sandpaper. While setting, the gold size also pools into the small imperfections in the red role. While sanding, it is easy to see any remaining imperfections, which may be taken care of with more sanding with a 400+ sandpaper. On occasion, if I am not satisfied with the quality of finish, I will decide to do another coat of gold size after thoroughly removing and dust or grit. If so, then it adds another 2 days before I can sand once again.
Once satisfied, I can proceed to the next step in preparing for the gold leafing. The Thomas Merton icon itself will have to wait for the leafing as the Palladium will have to be special ordered once I have the funds to do so.
Yes, I am managing to get time on St. Thomas Aquinas's icon.
I want to get the icon to a point where I can get to work on the gold leafing. That takes at least 4 days on average. I'd like to begin that this coming Wednesday, so that come next Sunday, I can continue writing the icon.
I was able to put in a good day on the St. Thomas Aquinas Icon yesterday, but I needed to get the Thomas Merton Icon further along today. I'm very conscious of the fact that my son and I have to vacate our current home (and my studio) on March 31st. and with no idea where we will be after that.
The board and gessoing was completed earlier this morning and the design was transferred and inked in.
The unusual aspect of the Merton icon is its blue, instead of the usual red bole wherever the leafing will be. The reason being is that I will not be using patent gold leaf on this icon. The commission requested a Palladium patent leaf. It is the more stable substitute to silver leafing. Silver leafing, no matter what precautions you take, and even with varnish, will tarnish. Even White Gold leaf will tarnish. Palladium won't.
It will be interesting how the blue will guides the process.
My apologies that I haven't been able to add an entry for the last few days.
I have to prepare for my Opening Reception in Mission tomorrow, and I am struggling with an ever deepening problem of finding a lender that with approve me for a house and studio on Vancouver Island; even the bank who carries my current mortgage (TD Canada Trust). Once having sold my condo on the bank's advise and reassurance, it then told me on the day of sale, that it couldn't approve my next mortgage. The reason being my retirement fixed income and self-employment as an artist (my 2014 tax Net was too low for them, given that it was my investment year)! All of which it knew since last October! So to say that I am under extreme stress at the moment would be an understatement. I am now potentially without a home as of March 31st if I don't succeed in finding a lender as the clocks keeps ticking.
Your support and prayers are greatly needed,
Got the main colours blocked in, the halo etched in, and the red bole put in. The red is the underlay wherever there will be be gold leaf applied. Now the work begins in developing the image.
It was quite a crazy day today, starting with more drama in trying to secure financing for a new home and studio on the Island. It was looking iffy.
But in the meantime, I got the Totem series wrapped for transport and ready to deliver to the Mission Arts Centre just after lunch tomorrow. The walls look so bare. You can see some of them behind the easel.
All going well, I hope to take a stop over to the Abbey. It has been years since my last time there.
But I just needed to get some paint started on the icon so that it is officially underway. 😀
The day ended with a productive phone call with a new broker, and I am hopeful that something will work out in the end.
Got the icon gessoed and sanded. After enlarging my earlier design for an icon of St. Thomas Aquinas, which I wrote last year, I transferred the image onto the face of the board with graphite paper. The earlier design was for a 11"x14" icon. Never a good idea to do the drawing directly onto the gesso surface as it retains any corrections along the way. A separate sheet drawing also leaves you with a template which you can use, or refer to, in the future. After all these years, I have many. :-)
I picked up the Baltic Ply that I had cut to size, and the oak molding that needed right angled bevels. Now the task to build the frame on the Baltic ply.
Of course, I was suppose to be moved by now, so things like my box of assorted clamps is buried in storage! Luckily, I had kept 4 clamps. So the process, along with a left elbow wrapped in a tensor bandage (painful Golfer's Elbow), is slow.
With 4 clamps, I can only do one side of the frame at a time and wait for the glue to set before the next one. Also, with the Golfer's Elbow, it is difficult to hold the molding in place on the miter, and oak is a hard wood. The plan is to get the frame cut and glued in place so that it can set until tomorrow afternoon.
I'm having to use my dining table as a work bench as it's the only thing I can use with the ongoing viewings. On the condo sale front, I finally have another offer, but unlike the original offer that was above asking in November, this one is under asking. Hurts my options on the Island, but after 3 months, I hope this one works out. The potential buyer is having a home inspection done tomorrow at 9AM! So I will have to pack everything up again tonight. I won't know until the 9th whether the sale is confirmed or not.
Feb. 7, 2016
Got the framing done for both the 22"x28" STA commission, and also a 11"x14" for a Calgary commission. The plan for this afternoon is to tackle my least favorite stage of adhering the muslin to the board. It's a messy job with acrylic medium (laytex gloves absolutely required) and you need to work fast before it begins to dry. You have to keep working your hands over all surfaces to avoid air pockets, which is especially tedious with the inner edges of the raised frame. You then check it as it dries and sets to make sure that it is well adhered.
Adhering muslin - Feb. 7, 2016
Tackled the larger icon board this evening. You need to keep an eye on it as it dries and sets, as it will often come up with a surprise or two; in how it shrinks, or air pockets just come up unexpectedly. The inside corners of the framing always need tucking in as the muslin dries as it will often lift a bit because of the stresses of working the cloth into a recessed corner while being stretched along the outer sides and corners.
Now to let it fully dry overnight, before I can trim the excess. and apply the first 2 coats of gesso...and then the sanding and gesso layers have begun.
Gessoing - Feb. 8, 2016
The gesso process has begun.
The first 2 layers of gesso coat and seal the muslin, in the same manner that a regular canvas would be prepared. After letting these first coats fully dry, I need to sand all gessoed surfaces to smooth out any texture(s) left by the muslin, acrylic gel medium and gesso. It is important to do this from the beginning as these will only get worse as you go along, contrary to the smooth finish you are wanting to achieve.
This will be repeated after every successive two coats of gesso. There is never less then 7 - 8 coats applied to the board before it is ready for the prototype to be transferring onto it.