Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Shell Gold Batman

Black ink batman with gold chest symbolHaving recently finished my shell gold, I wanted to do a couple of experiments with it. Firstly, I had to know how it painted. Second, I wanted to run a multimeter over the gold to find out just how grinding and mixing affected it. However, gold is expensive, and I didn’t want to be creating wires for no reason.

Fortunately, a new client came to the rescue. I often ask Twitter what I should paint, and without fail, one of my followers (and always the same one) will reply, “Batman.” Imagine his joy when he realised he could actually pay me to paint Batman, and be given the art work! A postcard from me, of original art, is £12. For that, I drew him Batman in Sharpie, and then I painted the bat symbol in gold. 22kt gold. I like Batman too. It was worth it.

On the top left picture, you can see the layer of red under the gold. You can click on the picture to see it bigger, and click again to zoom in even further. The graininess of the gold is visible. It’s over red acrylic, so that the warm red colour will be visible through the gold.

batman_2The process of drawing was pretty easy – I did a rough version, then the one to send. I have a thin-tipped Sharpie, and I used that for the final copy. The cloak was done with the thick end to speed it up, but it wasn’t really a difficult job. Then I decided which watercolour paintbrush to sacrifice. I was going to have gold dust stuck in it forever, so I went for one that would give me precision but also a bit of breadth, and hold a decent amount of water. This was one of my favourite sables, and still is – it’s just that now it’s about £1 more expensive.

I painted several layers of gold, which meant I was blobbing it on a little, as it handled very strangely. It flowed slowly, and although I could deal with that with ox gall liquid, I didn’t have any to spare. I used a jam jar for the water, so I could seal it up and get the gold back. There was a bit floating on the surface when I was done, giving the water an odd twinkle. After that, I let it dry, then burnished it – the client has a picture of Batman that shines when the light hits it. First of all I used the back end of a paintbrush, with the picture inside an anti-static bag (for the smoothness, not the anti-static properties) and then later I used a curved piece of agate, known as a dog-tooth burnisher.

Then, we waited for the weather to get dry so we can send it. Those of you who know who my client is will be aware that people around him spend a lot of time wringing out their sheep. So, eventually, I put it into an envelope, and he got it this morning. Happy Client.

For those of you who are wondering, I did put the multimeter across it. The gold on the chest piece is a 60 Ohm resistor.
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If you would like something just as spectacular and interesting, let me know. Prices start at £12, although you may not get gold-plated Batman.

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