Monday, February 15, 2010

From the Mailbag

A few years ago I was playing around with some video clips made with my $100 kodak camera.  Windows Movie Maker couldn't produce the video due to resolution/light issues, so I downloaded a trial home movie maker with a pre-loaded, wacky video editor.  The video I produced gives directions for making egg glue, also known as glair, which is a glue that can be used to adhere gold leaf to a panel.  Last week I received some good questions from Scott Songfeather, a self-taught iconographer: 

following are his questions and my response:

"Researching verre eglomise I was pleased to discover the vids of you at work with the technique and your blog.

1. Is the ratio of snow/crushed ice to the egg white critical? How much snow to egg white is good?

answer:  the ratio isn't critical. I use about 2 tablespoons of snow/crushed ice.
2. Should the egg glue be used immediately, while still cold from the snow/ice?

answer:  the glue sets up to tack pretty quickly and can be used immediately, but it is better to let it sit refrigerated for 24 hours.  the albumen coagulate (chelaga) and other residue should be strained out to create a glue that will flow smoothly onto the surface to be gilded.

3. Is snow/ice necessary, or will water substitute satisfactorily?

answer:  Ralph Mayer in "The Artist's Handbook" has a recipe using 1-2 tablespoons of water. I have never used this recipe, so I don't know the results.  If Ralph says it works, it will work.

I paint icons in egg tempera and recently discovered online the Romanian technique of icon painting reversed on glass (verre eglomise/hinterglasmalerie) and plan to try it. Thus these questions.

Thanks, and best wishes,
Scott Songfeather

Scott provides some excellent pics and directions for writing icons under the username Celadonite on wet canvas. follow this link for his info.

If you have a question/comment that you would like to see answered through this blog, you can leave a comment here or email me at


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