The Fascinating World of Metal Leaf

"Gold leaf" I normally use is so-called 
"Dutch Metal Leaf", "Composition Leaf", 
or "Imitation Gold Leaf".  It is a copper 
based metal leaf which looks almost like 
genuine gold leaf. The reasons I prefer using 
this Dutch Metal Leaf got my artwork are; 
I can work with chemical reaction to get some 
interesting patterns and colors, it is easy to 
handle because of the thickness of the leaf, 
and its reasonable price. (Normally, genuine 
gold leaf costs at least 8 times more than 
composition leaf.)

The image above is my very first try of gold leaf (composition leaf) applied on a thin 
paper with water based adhesive size and a rough brush. You can see the rough 
brush stroke marks underneath of the leaf. Edges are tore and it is rough look on it. 
I did not know how to handle the leaf to make straight edges as well as create flat 
surface appearance at this time. Compare to the traditional gold gilded surface, my 
first try looks far away from the smooth shiny metal leaf look which gold leaf is 
famous for. However, this rough surface texture looks interesting and appearing to 
me as well. I can delivery use such expression to create certain effects and adding 
uniqueness to my artwork. 
Normally a smooth shiny leaf surface has been applied for religious paintings and 
traditional work of art through out the world.  I think that the use of this unperfect 
appearance of the metal leaf is certainly adding some flavor to my art. I would like 
to be a modern artist who creates and expresses herself with these traditional 
materials in her modern and own ways.

Samples of My Experiment On Metal Leafing: (vinegar reaction, texturing, combination of different methods/mediums, etc...)

click images to see the larger views

Combination: A combination of copper, silver, and gold leaf. They are applied on a shiny gold colored mat board.

Lemon: On top of the combination of three metal leaves, I sliced a fresh lemon and put it on the surface for one day with some weigh on top of it. Acidity of lemon reacted with copper and composition leaves and left a lemon shape mark.

Vinegar: I used a paint brush dipping into adhesive size. I drew strokes with size and then applied composition leaf. Then I put a paper towel which I dipped into cooking vinegar. Weigh it and waited about 15 min. Splay with acrylic to stop the further reaction from the vinegar.
gold leaf used here is composition gold leaf

More Samples...


List of Metal Leafing Web Sites I found Techniques, Products, Information, and Artwork ----- ------------- Go Back -----