So after I decided to take up reverse painting and gold leaf gilding on glass, I realised that I was going to need a bit more guidance than the 2-3 minutes of Kirstie’s Homemade Home that original peaked my interest. So I started googling to discover techniques, tutorials and materials etc. One of the key things I discovered is the official name of this arts and crafts technique I want to try (always good to know!): Verre Églomisé. Once I had this I was able to turn up all manner of useful websites and videos.
This is how I discovered Debbie Clarke, an artist from Gloucester, Massachusetts who creates the most interesting mixed media works with metal leaf gilding as well as oil paint, sharpies, packing tape and much more! I discovered her through a series of Youtube videos in which she gives a tutorial on reverse painting and using metal leafs, in other words, verre églomisé:
The first thing that captured my attention is the confidence with which Debbie Clarke works with her materials – also noted by the narrator. The tools she uses and the way she uses her paint brushes is really educational for me. Also, the use of a sharpie on glass was new to me and I’ll definitely be trying it. I have since found out that Sharpie make these interesting little oil paint markers which I am looking forward to trying out.
The artist explains how she discover reverse painting while she was making prints. The different paths we take to find these things is often so simple and unexpected.
She applies the metal leaf directly to the paint. I thought the paint would have to be dried and then a glue used to apply the leaf, but apparently not. She also talks about the metal leaf changing colour over time and how this adds to the overall effect of the painting. So, while you can buy lacquers to preserve metal leaf, it isn’t always necessary if you are open to seeing how the colour change effects your artwork.
After seeing these videos I looked at Debbie Clarke’s blog. The things that stand out for me in terms of her images are fish, faces, mixed media and nature. These are very simple topics, but the mix of materials she uses to evoke them brings them new dimensions. I’ll definitely be returning to her blog for inspiration as I begin my experiments with verre églomisé.