Gilding the Image

Gilding the image – Marc Alexander demonstrates his techniques for using gold leaf gilding in an oil painting. 

In 2012, I produced a series of paintings for a solo exhibition entitled “Dreams of an Enchanted World”. This exhibition was mainly inspired by bedtime stories, folklore and nursery rhymes, which I often told with much glee to my four young children. Working mostly in richly coloured oils in the style of the traditional realist and incorporating the lustre of gold-leaf gilding, texture and some two-dimensional elements into my composition, I aimed at creating a surreal world of talking animals, heroic characters and magical trees.

I’ve always found the rich cultural diversity of the different South African ethnic groups inspiring and worthy of preservation. So growing up in a fast changing world of lost cultural identities has been a challenge to me. It’s because of this reason that I have often included traditionally dressed subjects into my paintings, continually trying to recapture the narrative elements of almost forgotten cultures and folklore.

It was during my training as museum technologist at the Pretoria Art Museum, that I developed a keen interest in the restoration of 14th to 17th century Dutch and Flemish art, especially the extraordinary luminosity that they achieved with their glazed layers. I also learnt how to restore Baroque frames and other gilded surfaces. In fact, I love gilding so much that gold or silver leaf almost always replaces background water, earth, snow or sky in my artworks, which adds a two dimensional element similar to that of a Coptic icon.

For many years now, I have been combining these traditional techniques, and some modern ones with contemporary materials. My compositions are usually clean and triangular with an off centre focal point. During the preliminary drawing stage I take time to get the proportions and perspectives as true to nature as possible. After that each new element of the painting is systematically applied and there is never a shortage of painstaking detail.

This hyper-realism that I’m aiming for usually has a very smooth finish, so I will add an element of texture. Trees, dead branches or rock are sculpted using my homemade texture paste and a palette knife or other tools. I generally find that people are so saturated with perfect digital imagery these days that they often crave a bit of texture in a painting. Because the texture paste has a water base, I cannot apply it over my oils or gilded sections, so careful planning is essential in the beginning stages or what I like to call the ‘water’ stage of the painting.

 

Source: The Artist UK June 2016 edition

 

To view the demo portfolio click here or to see the demo video click here.

 

Marc Alexander demonstrates his techniques for using gold leaf gilding in an oil painting.
Applying texture paste
Marc Alexander demonstrates his techniques for using gold leaf gilding in an oil painting.
Gold leaf gilding
Marc Alexander demonstrates his techniques for using gold leaf gilding in an oil painting.
Titanium white highlights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting “The Kiss”

The Kiss (Lovers) was painted by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt between 1908 and 1909, the highpoint of his “Golden Period”, when he painted a number of works in a similar gilded style. A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. The work is composed of oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance. The painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of Vienna Jugendstil—Viennese Art Nouveau—and is considered Klimt’s most popular work.

I was recently commissioned to reproduce this masterpiece, Watch Video and see the stages and techniques that I employ for this reproduction.

November Workshops

Marcs Technique 2GILDING AND PAINTING

Come join Marc Alexander as he discusses and demonstrates his technique and the stages of producing his signature partially gilded oil paintings. The workshop will cover an overview of the following: priming, sketching, monochromatic underpainting, texturing, gilding and painting in oils.
You will be able to practice each stage on your own canvas.

DATE: Tuesday 24 November
TIME: 9am to 5pm

COST: R600 (includes gilding materials) Your payment confirms your booking. Limited places available

 

 

ART AS A BUSINESS I – an evening workshop with Marc Alexander

Marc with Red Fox paintingFor those wanting to earn money from their artwork, join Marc Alexander as he discusses various aspects of Art as a business. Drawing from his many years of experience as a museum technologist, freelance curator and full time artist, Marc will share his successes and disappointments in the business of making a living out of his art.
The workshop covers the following topics:
Approaching galleries and agents for representation, pricing your artwork, generating media, online marketing and sales, administrative software, digital printing, copyright law, etc.

DATE: Wednesday 25 November
TIME: 6.30pm to 9.30pm

COST: R300 (includes notes) Your payment confirms your booking.

 

Online Shop

 

ART AS A BUSINESS II – an evening workshop with Marc Alexander
For those wanting to sell their artwork directly from their own website and take advantage of other online selling and marketing platforms, join Marc as he introduces the world of DIY web-design, e-commerce, online selling, marketing and much more. No prior knowledge of web-design or online marketing is required!
DATE: Thursday 26 November
TIME: 6.30pm to 9.30pm

COST: R300 (includes notes) Your payment confirms your booking. Limited space is available.

To book email: info@thestudiokalkbay.co.za
R550 if you book for both Art as a Business workshops.

 

 

 

Gilding and Painting Workshop

Come join Marc Alexander as he discusses and demonstrates his technique and the stages of producing his signature partially gilded oil paintings. The workshop will cover an overview of the following: priming, sketching, monochromatic under-painting, texturing, gilding and painting in oils. You will be able to practice each stage on your own canvas.

DATE: Tuesday 27 October

TIME: 9am to 5pm Limited places available

COST: R600 (includes gilding materials) Your payment confirms your booking.

To book email: info@thestudiokalkbay.co.za

Bateleur #II Completed

Marc Alexander's Bateleur Eagle #II, Oil and Gold Leaf on Canvas, 120cm by 90cm. (2015)

My Bateleur Eagle is finished! Now on show at the Studio Galley Kalk Bay, as part of a group exhibition titled “Soul Food.” Showcasing new works by some of South Africa’s leading artists. This exhibition will run until the 9th of September 2015.

I really enjoy painting these magnificent birds. My Bateleur is slightly larger than life size, so there is loads of super fine detail to feast your eyes on. The bateleur is a medium-sized eagle in the family Accipitridae and is a fairly common resident of the open savanna country and thornveld within Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2009, the bateleur was placed in the Near-Threatened IUCN Red List Category due to loss of habitat, pesticides, capture for international trade and nest disturbance. Decline of the species is suspected to have been moderately rapid over the past three generations. Sadly current conservation efforts are unknown.