Laying down gold-leaf on portrait

May The Fourth be with you!

To celebrate this year’s Star Wars Day, I have been working on a portrait, icon really, of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa (Skywalker) to commemorate this year’s #MayTheFourth.

Aftermath of brushing up loose gold leaf on portrait.

The portrait I began painting earlier this year and have spent months practicing my gold-leaf technique. Gold-leaf is the application of thin sheets of hammered gold, or any metal, to a substrate of some sort; could be anything from furniture to fresoes but in this case it is a portrait of Carrie fisher. 

You lay down a layer of sizing, or glue, to the image and allow it to dry and become tacky. Once the moisture has been absorbed/evaporated you can lay down the sheets of gold onto the image. Afterwards, you use a brush to gently remove the gold-leaf from the paper except the areas treated with the sizing. 

View of work in progress of portrait of Princess Leia

This technique is ages-old and I have been experimenting all year with it to create this image. I believe the concept stolen from icons of ages past is appropriate for commemorating Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and her place in the mythology of the Star Wars Universe that George Lucas created for us in 1977. 

Gold-leafed portrait of Princess Leia

I have spent much of my career merging and transposing my traditional skills I was taught at university to the digital world. Combining my love of portraiture, my digital toolkit, and the techniques of masters from long ago seemed an appropriate way to celebrate #MayTheFourth this year. 

The portrait of Carrie was created using Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Corel Painter. The image was printed on Red River Papers 13″x19″ (A3+) 88lb Polar Matte paper.

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