I went through my paintings that are prepared and Blog ready, and chose the Pekin Duck by the Altisimo Roses. This is a 24" X 36" hardwood panel with 23k Gold Leaf in the negative space and background. I have a large 36" X 60" panel prepared, and illustrated but I did this panel to sort out my thoughts before I tackled the large one. This is the left hand section of the larger panel. I'm glad I did this one because in the large picture there are two more ducks, but they were too large in comparrison with the Pekin Duck. I revised my drawing and changed the size of the other ducks. I also will probably turn the rose into a creamy white with pink to maroon tips on the petals. I will at least see what it would look like.
These panels are very complicated to do. I first draw the illustration full scale on vellum paper that I buy in rolls from a Blue Printer. This paper after the drawing is done and inked, can be then taken back to the blue printer, and he can make you blueprints copies of your illustration.
This is very handy when you are doing etched glass or stained glass because you have a copy for your client to approve, a copy to cut up for cutting out the glass pieces, and a copy to put down on the board where you assemble the pieces with the lead came. You also can have a copy to lay the cut pieces on after they are ground so you know none are missing,plus you can number the pieces on the blueprint so you know how many pieces you have to cut, and which piece is missing when you go to assemble. I used this method for these paintings and put an X in all the negative space so I knew where to Gold Leaf. I then transfer the drawing to the Gessoed Board (3 good coats and sanded inbetween). After the transfer with the X's through the negative space, I paint all of the negative space with two coats of Red Acrylic paint. After that dries I apply the gold leaf size, and when that dries to the tacky stage I apply the gold leaf. Wait 24 hours, and then apply the second coat of God size, and add another layer of Gold Leaf. Now I'm ready to paint the picture. This is how the Peacock panels were done, and all the other panels using this method.
This is basicly a method I developed after some trial and error. The first panels didn't have the Red Acrylic, and the Gold didn't glow as much, and I didn't know how the negative space would look. I needed to know where to leave negative space and where to just to make dark leaf colored negative space to pop the flowers. I also used Magnolia Flowers in many of these paintings, and I knew how to draw, execute, cut, etch, or assemble a Magnolia Flower. However, I didn't know how to paint one in Oils and Alkyds. A very minor point, but a sticking point once I got started. Again that is why I did small 18" X 24" panels of the Leadbeaters Cockatoo, and the Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. I needed to master the Magnolia Blossom. Remember this lesson, knowing how to draw something doesn't mean you know how to paint it. So I just learned on the job (my personal art Job), and mastered the Magnolia Blossom. However this was accomplished after taking many many photographs of Magnolia Blossoms in all their different stages of growth from bud to Blossom to pod. Every Artist should have a very good Digital Camera, with at least 2G of memory sticks, and a very good Printer, Paper, and Ink. You need to study, know, and have a record of what you want to paint. The Altisimo Red Rose is in my back yard, and the Nasturiums, Anemones, and other spring flowers are in my front yard and come back year after year. If you want to paint flowers, it helps to plant them, know them, and understand them. If you don't have a garden, knock on the door of someone who does, and ask if you can photograph. I photographed all the Magnolia Blossoms at a near by Apartment Complex that has about 40 Magnolia Trees on the property, and they (thankfully) are on different levels with staircases that allow you to photograph on level with many of the blossoms.
Keep your eyes open for opportunities like that, and you will find the subject you are seeking.
There are many more paintings waiting to be finished and I need to get to work, but I hope this disertation helps understand the process that I went through to paint the Gold Leaf Paintings, and if you can't afford 23k Gold then buy Composition Gold or silver and try your hand at a painting with Gold Leaf in the negative space. Leave yourself plenty of time, for drying, but it's fun, and makes a very elegant and different look for flowers, birds or ? Try it, have fun, and be sure to write especially when you get work. Happiness is painting!