Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gold Comparisons

In the last session of our advanced Reggie class he brought Shell Gold for us to try. This is a venerated substitute for gold leaf, and is valued for its ability to be tooled. But I have never liked it. Call me unsophistocated, but it just looks too dull for me.
So, I began a quest to find a good substitute for shell gold. Here are the first of my experiments:

The first two samples are of golds in powder form, mixed with equal parts gum arabic and water. First I brushed some on, then lettered with a #4 mitchell nib. The paper is black Bugra.
Here are the golds in order from top to bottom: Schminke powder, Maimeri powder (available from DiBona Designs and possibly Quietfire Designs), Pearl-Ex Brilliant Gold, and Pearl-Ex Sparkle Gold.

These two (below) are Twinkling H2O's. They are watercolors mixed with mica and anyone who knows me knows that I love them. The first time that I was introduced to them I tried the Sunflower and thought it was a perfect substitute for gold. Since then they have come out with a few other golds. (the one at the bottom of this photo that says "PE Aztec" is actually pearl-ex).

Below are the same golds on white arches 90 lb. hot press watercolor paper. Photographing gold is notoriously difficult and I have done my best to show these tests accurately.

While I would like to recommend one product as "the best" across the board, it is not that simple. Each color will react differently on different papers, and will also be affected by the anount of gum arabic that you add, and the humidity in your area and which side of the bed you woke up on. You know how it is!
But if I had to pick a favorite, based on its similarity to shell gold, its ease of use and its shininess, I would pick the Schminke powder.