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Traditionnal gesso

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Traditionnal base for gilding

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This traditionnal gilding base is applied, diluted like a gouache, in several layers to form a thickness. Once dry, it is re-moistened and heated with breath, which gives it its sticky power : then the gold leaf is immediately applied.

12 gram tubes.
Put some gesso on a plate, add a few drops of water. Using a precise but not too fine brush (n°2 or 3), gently stir without « tossing » to avoid bubbles or foam until you obatin a mixture with a rather thick but fluid creamy consistency. Load the brush thoroughly, and paint the surface you want to gild by placing the gesso on the support and spreading it, trying to keep a certain thickness. Take frequently some mixture, carefully keep it the same consistency by adding drops of water. Once the area is fully painted, let it dry (this is very important to not dilute again the bottom layer). Place in the same way several layers until you obtain a clear convex relief in the center of the zone (this result is difficult to obtain regularly on wide areas). Our diagram illustrates well the type of relief to look for, avoiding edges too little coated, because this lack of thickness would not allow the gold to stick.

If your dilution is good, three or four layers will be enough to have the correct thickness.

When it's finished, you can perfect the surface by sanding it very gently using fine abrasive paper (minimum 600 grain). Be aware that the slightest defect in the relief, little visible, will be strongly highlighted by the gold layer. You can also correct small contour accidents by scraping with the blade of a scalpel or knife.

Your gesso is now ready to receive his golden coat. But you can lay the gold several days or weeks later. I refer you to the technical advice proposed for the
gold leaf.
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