This is “Santo” a pastel and silver leaf painting on Strathmore toned gray 400 series. The image is 16 x 20. I wanted the moon behind the model’s head to like a halo, plus he had such a look of innocent wonder on his face. Thanks to my beautiful model John Carrasco. This was an experiment for me to be able to use pastel over metal leaf, which I hope to do more of.
Because my original concept was a more simple drawing with silver leaf, I used a drawing paper normally used for charcoal. I was surprised and pleased at how well the paper held up against the moisture of the sizing to apply the silver leaf, as well as the application of pastel layers. I would not recommend using this paper for a pastel painting with many layers, but a drawing with just 2 or 3 layers should work.
1. I first drew the general figure as I wanted it to appear. I used a plate to lightly draw the circle where the silver leaf would be applied. The edges of the paper were taped to a drawing board to avoid it buckling when applying the sizing.
2. I brushed on the sizing, being careful around the edges to get as crisp an edge as possible. After the sizing dried for about an hour, I applied the silver leaf, using cotton gloves and a brush to smooth it out.
3. Using a stiff bristle brush, I removed the silver leaf from the edges, leaving the halo shape around the head.
4. To seal the silver leaf, I brushed on Liquitex Gloss Medium so the metal leaf would retain its shiny quality under the pastel. You have to be careful to brush it on only on where the silver leaf is, leaving a crisp edge. Let it dry a couple of hours.
5. Then I applied a coat of Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastel. This is a little “milky” and tends to dull the surface of the metal leaf. In the future I will use Liquitex Clear Gesso. Let it dry overnight.
6. The next day I proceeded to work on the drawing using pastel pencils, and pan pastel for the black sky.
Let me know what you think or if you have any questions.