My Enameling Process
is a process of fusing finely ground colored glass particles to another material, often metal. The most common method of enameling is with the use of a high temperature (1500˚F and up) kiln. The method of torch-fired enameling is performed by using a common plumber’s torch to fuse the fine glass particles onto the metal.
I create each piece of jewelry and decorative wall tiles in my home studio using my own designs. I use various techniques in crafting miniature works of art. The technique I decide to use usually depends on the design of the piece. There are so many creative ways to use enamel! I'll describe some of them...
Sgraffito: a form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color. In the case of enamels, a base layer of enamel color is applied and fired, an additional layer of contrasting color is applied, and with a fine pin-type tool (I use dentist's tools) a design is "scratched" into the top layer. After some clean-up, the piece is then fired again.
Stamping: carved rubber stamps and a white stamping pad are used on a fired base layer of enamel. A contrasting enamel color is sifted onto the base layer and gently blown off with an aspirator (I use the drug store variety!). Then another firing takes place.
Painting: painting enamels are a powdery form of enamels which when mixed with a medium, such as clove oil or water, forms a consistency that can be applied with a tiny brush. Painting enamels are applied in very thin layers with multiple firings in between each layer.
Silver/Gold Foils: fine silver and 24K gold foils are used primarily as accents in the enamel design. The foils are very, very thin (.009214 mm) sheets of almost pure metal.
Cloisonné: decorative work in which enamel, separated by strips of flattened fine silver wire, are carefully placed edgeways on a layer of fired transparent enamel on metal. Typically the cloisonné technique uses many thin layers of transparent enamels on fine silver, but cloisonné may also be used with copper wire and opaque enamels.
The completed enameled pieces are then set and finished with handmade sterling silver, brass and/or copper components....and sometimes with beads and gemstones!
Each small work of art develops its own personality throughout the creation and no two pieces are ever exactly alike.
My Painting Process
I consider myself a traditional contemporary realist oil painter. What does that mean?
I start out with a basic underpainting on a toned canvas (stretched or board). A basic underpainting is essentially drawing your subject using a neutral transparent paint color (I typically use burnt sienna) and Gamsol (an odorless turpentine). Then I build layers of paint color either alla prima (all at once or wet on wet) or layering (letting the paint dry in between painting sessions). I am more inclined to paint alla prima as I enjoy the immediate and spontaneous use of color on color. Plein air painting, which I also do, is done alla prima.