Sunday, December 19, 2010

Metal Embossing

I brought home three cherished peonies from the store the other day, an extravagant purchase, but I NEEDED them!  In each state we have lived in, I planted a row of peonies, and have left a peony trail behind me.  Here in Texas the climate is too warm for them, so I can't grow them anymore. Lucky people in a number of states are benefiting from my labors!  Peonies are my favorite flowers and have an unbeatable, heady fragrance.  So, because I had these lovelies, I just had to draw them.  Decided to try it on metal.
Here it is with my etching finished - as you can see, it's pretty thin and floppy.

This shows a close up of a little section so you can see the detail a little better.  Because the metal is so reflective (and because I'm not great with cameras) it's kind of hard to show what I want, but you get the idea.  Peonies are so multi-petaled, that I wanted it to be complex, and metals really beg to be heavily etched to show off their reflective qualities.
My next step was to gesso it to a board because the metal needs support.  I used a LOT of gesso and laid it thickly on both board and metal, filling in all the indentations to preserve the etching.  It'll probably take three years to dry.

Here it is sitting on my workspace drying.  I haven't measured it but it's probably 11x14 or so.

My next step will be to paint it; I think I'm going to paint it in some pastel tones.  I'll take some pics of that and post it very soon.

Let me know what you think of it so far, and if you've had any experiences with metals.  I do these every year (on a smaller scale) with my art students.  The younger the student, the smaller the piece.  They invariable LOVE it!


  1. you really have me guessing what type of metal this is--it's very beautiful as are the peonies....regrettably i cannot grow them here as it's not cold enough in winter and i refuse to dump ice on the mud just now...i guess i can do some tree peonies...anyway, can't wait to see the progression of this..gorgeous etching! very inspiring too ... blessings..x

  2. Wow that looks amazing...Love it..!

  3. I use 38-gauge decorator foil. You can get it in rolls at serious art stores. They come in a myriad of colors - gold, silver, copper, bronze, red (great for Christmas) blue, aqua...

    Just make sure that you don't order, for example 'copper' instead of 'copper color,' or you'll get an extremely small piece instead of a nice big roll, ha ha! Yes, I've already made that mistake so you don't have to!

    The metal comes in a variety of gauges - I suggest starting with the thin metal and working your way up, depending on how serious you get with it.

    Yeah, I've thought about dumping ice, too - too much work! I've decided to glory in the new and different plants I can grow here. :)

    If you would like to continue this type of work, you can get the metal at good art stores (Texas Art Supply) or online. Today we used 38-gauge decorator foil. It comes in silver, gold or bronze. We antiqued it with acrylic paint.

  4. Wow, this is something I've never seen before. Looks like a 'no corrections' kind of media. You did a super job with the peony flower-her shapes are so complex.