The Traveller WIP

For this piece I planned on melding the lovely linear beauty of ink crosshatching with realistic renderings in oil... A piece like this can easily look too overworked or too detailed so my aim was to try to keep my lines simple, adding each stroke, be it oil or ink, with conscious proficy so the final result was completed with the least amount of dabs or strokes possible to convey what was needed...

Preliminary Sketch

After a few brainstorming sessions, sketches, and a clear idea of what I wished to achieve, I needed plan out the method and process since so many different materials (with different needs) would be coming into play with this piece. All the water based mediums would need to be applied and sealed appropriately before the final alla prima oil paint layer, and be able to withstand, as much as possible, any future cleaning / restoration that an oil painting would usually go through.

Testing different sealers over the ink
I love the beauty of crosshatched ink drawings done in warm brown tones, however coloured inks are generally not lightfast and to protect the final ink drawing as much as possible I wished to be able to varnish it with UV protected varnish. 
So after multiple tests on the back of the canvasboard I was to use, I found a good spray of archival fixative ( used for charcoal drawings ) worked at fixing the ink enough to apply a quick layer of clear acrylic on top ( I had to ensure the acrylic was applied at one go though as multiple brushing risked the ink lifting off).. Once the acrylic was applied over the ink, it would be truly protected and ready for the uv protection varnish and any future revarnishing treatment it may go through... 

With that worry sorted out, I was able to transfer the outline of my sketch to the canvasboard and begin the ink drawing with freehand crosshatch.. I used W&N Peat Brown Ink with a dip pen, using a tiny brush when I needed to load up on the ink for the really dark passages..

I was able to remove the W&N easily with turps whenever I wished to improve a passage because I had traced my outlined sketch with carbon ink paper which is incredibly permanent.

With the ink layer complete and fixed with the UV protection archival fixative, it was now time to apply the gilding paste for the silverleaf. Clear acrylic gloss medium would then be applied all over the piece to protect not only the ink but the silverleaf from tarnishing. (note* I have since stopped using clear acrylic gloss to seal silverleaf as it tends to dull the shine quite a bit, and am currently testing alternatives).

Brushing off extra silver metal leaf
It was important to apply the fixative first to ensure the ink was dry to the touch and not tacky, or the silverleaf might adhere to the ink as well.
For the silver metal leaf, I used a water-based gilding paste that was tacky enough within 5 - 10mins to start laying on the silverleaf.
The extra silverleaf was then brushed off the next day once the size had completely dried. 
​After the first brush off, the silverleaf details were refined or added on, as I assessed the composition.

With the silverleaf done, I clarified a few tiny details with a mixture of ink and clear acrylic.
It was now ready for a coating of clear acrylic gloss. I applied two layers, full strength from the tube as any thinner and it would have beaded up over the slick silver leaf surface. It was now ready for the oil paint layer.

Silverleaf done and ready for the oil paint layer.

A simple palette of Cad Red, Cad Yellow Light, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Violet, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber and an Alkyd of Titanium white was used. Throughout, I tried to keep my strokes simple and applied correctly straight away.. If I fiddled even a little (more than 2-3 strokes in the same place) I removed the paint and started again..

On the easel

Since I had used Alkyd (fast drying oil paint) 'The Traveller' was dry enough and ready for a final coat of W&N Artists UV Varnish in only 3 months.

Here it is complete (scanned with my new Epson Perfection V39 scanner!!)
Now, because of the ink, this piece will need to be displayed away from sunlight as much as possible even more so than an oil painting, however I really love the mixed media look of this (especially on the stoney like effect support) and will definitely do more in similar fashion in the future.. :) 

'The Traveller' / Ink, Silver metal leaf & Oil on Canvasboard / Size: 5.1 x 7.4 Inches

Don't forget to drop by my 'On The Easel...' page to see my works in progress in almost real time!..

Ta for now folks!!


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