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If it Sparkles...

An exploration of metallic, gemstone and mica based paints to add reflected light to watercolour painting.


Gold leaf was possibly the first metallic colours to be used in art, under the Mughal Emperor Akbar (1542–1605) . Artisans ground down the leaf into fine powder, laid on top of vellum paper to create illuminate miniature paintings. Mica  powders have been traced as far back to  the time of cave paintings.  Azurite and Gemstones such as Lapis Lazuli were used in blue pigments during the medieval and Renaissance periods.

In watercolour these shiny powders create tiny mirrors, laying in all directions on the surface of the paper and reflecting various degrees of light depending on the angle of the light source and the viewer creating an interactive experience. To best see this in effect I have captured these images in motion. Enjoy!


Refracted Aurora

In nature refracted light creates beauty all around us, Hummingbirds,  a rainbow in the sky and some seashells refract light creating shifts in colour dependent on the angle viewed. 

Science calls it snell's law. And now we have perfected this into chameleon paints, given to me as a gift from my eldest daughter. 

What a difference they make to bringing light into my painting of the Aurora Borealis!


Silver Snow

I am captivated by the light reflected from the snow off of sharksfin mountain south west of Tumbler Ridge in Monkan Provincial Park.  During the day, the white of the snow on the angled  quartzite cliff faces  call me to paint this iconic mountain. 

Recently I read about the technique of burnishing metallic watercolour paints resulting in a smooth reflective surface. What could this accomplish if paired with irridescent paint and the glow of the white paper?

Winter Lights at the Lake

Winter Lights at the Lake

Tumbler Ridge is such a captivating landscape we that we have a bounty of amazing photographers sharing their works. I am very honoured to have the privilege  of  using these images a inspiration. 

When Denise Kearns posted her self portrait taken on the frozen Moose Lake with glowing northern lights lighting up the sky and ice, I immediately asked if I could paint it, then sent her a picture of my image once it was complete. 

If you look closely you will see the sparkle of fushite gemstone in the ice as well as iridescent mica paint swirling into the light yellows and greens of the winter lights.

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