Bugs, glorious bugs. Insects inspired me to start these paintings using metal leaf.
I start with a sketch of the desired bug, and transfer the image with graphite to an ampersand block coated with absorbent ground. Then I do a quick under painting in watercolor.
I paint the colorful details of the bug in watercolor, then coat the area around the color with gold leaf size. I lay down the metal leaf and gently tap the coated areas with a stiff brush to press the leaf into the adhesive.
I use the same brush to remove the leaf, making gentle circular strokes the blow away the leaf and reveal the painting underneath.
The fun part. I ink around the painting using shellac-based inks (which have a great honey-like glow over the metal leaf) and define the shapes and patterns.
The wooden part of the board (cradles the panel) is stained with watercolor and the whole block is coated to protect the watercolor and leaf from exposure. I use use a mineral spirit-based spray varnish. View all available blocks here.