(post started a few days ago, but Google wasn't cooperating)
...did you notice? It's a pune...
I've long avoided gilding, being a calligrapher first and foremost. I've done a couple of practice pieces, but my heart wasn't in it. But I've always known that my trusty W&N gold gouache, no matter how neatly painted on, does not give the same 'look' as true gilding.
Going to the Royal Manuscripts exhibit over the summer really brought that home; the frames and borders of raised gold leap off the page, while the shell-gold highlights of drapery shimmer - different looks, for different results.
So for my most recent work, I picked up some improved gold body (bright-yellow water-based size with a self-help name, available from Cornelissens) and pushed ahead with some flat gilding.
Many moons ago I picked up a gilding sample pack from St Gabriel guild at Pennsic, that included squares of several different types of gold, as well as palladium and white gold.
The one with the best result this time round was the 'transfer' gold - it works like, well, a transfer, or Letraset (remember that stuff?) or temporary tattoos - it removes the intermediary step of laying the gold leaf, which by-god has a mind of its own.
A second piece, still on the slope, was a test bed for the loose gold leaf...and I don't know if life is long enough for me to get competent handling it. :-)
So here's the transfer gold piece - outlined rather heavily with vermilion this time, but in future will use a much lighter hand. After checking with Mistress Nerissa, I've tried brown-black gouache, with a soooper-fine W&N No 7 brush, and had good results.
Happily, since I did this work, I had a chance to visit with Mistress Oriane, someone who loves gold and gilding. And we talked over the merits of flat and raised gilding, and her favourite tools for each, and I got to watch her handling some loose gold - a real pleasure.
So I'm feeling I have a bit of the gold bug, for the moment. Whether I'll be able to follow though on it in the next month or so remains to be seen!