The glamour of iconography; the sweat and blisters from all the sanding, always checking for any grit on the surface, and as much patience as one can muster.
This phase of gold leafing needs to be done before I can continue writing the icon. In case you are wondering whether the current paint gets damaged in this process, the Golden High Load paint is very tough. Once the gold leaf is done and sealed, I just give the whole panel a good wipe with a soft cloth and it is ready to go. I've brushed in the gold size again in the sky sections and the center with the halos. With the difficulties of the square inner edge to the framing which the cabinetry company did in error (rather then the usual 45 degree angle), I will have to do the gold leafing in 2 stages;
1) the inner surface (sky and halos) and then,
2) the front face of the frame and its inner edge.
It is the only way of dealing with gold leafing that inside edge between the sky and the frame, without the leaf cracking and creating and uneven look.
So the sky and halos have been 'sized' and it is quite literally watching 'the paint dry'. I'll start checking the size at the 3 hour mark to check on the 'tack'. It usually takes 4 hours but with the heat in my studio, I have to be careful not to miss the right time to start leafing.