Monday, 16 December 2013

Experimenting with Sculpt Nouveau

Remember how I said I got some Sculpt Nouveau metal coating to try?  This weekend I had a play with it.  I'd like to show you some photos and share my thoughts about Sculpt Nouveau, because it really is an exciting medium to work with.  Here's the final result of my first experiment:


Final result: two coats of Sculpt Nouveau brass coating over primer.

What you're looking at there is brass coating on a cast paper leaf (they're fun to make and I'll post a tutorial soon).  At first I applied two coats of brass coating to the leaf.  It had a nice colour, but it wasn't as rich and vibrant as I'd like.  The next photo shows my first attempt, with brass Sculpt Nouveau applied directly over paper.  As you can see, it's okay when photographed with a flash...




...but when photographed without a flash it's decidedly underwhelming:




In fact, the surface has a dull greenish tone to it.  At this point I realised where I'd gone wrong.  You see, this is what you get when you apply gold leaf over white.  Medieval artists who made illuminated manuscripts used to paint a red undercoat before they applied their gold leaf, because the red shines through the thin gold and gives it a nice rich gold tone.  So, off I went to the hardware store for some red primer.




When the primer dried I applied another two coats of brass coating, plus a coat of clear gloss to seal the brass coating.  It's important to use a coat of sealer with this stuff, otherwise it will corrode over time.  The end result of my little experiment is shown in that first photo at the top of the post. 

At this stage I haven't had a play with patinas, because I wanted to see what the Sculpt Nouveau looks like on its own.  However, these metal coatings are designed to be used with patinas and it's possible to create some amazing effects by applying patinas.  The Sculpt Nouveau company has a YouTube channel with tutorials on how to use the coatings, and I highly recommend you check it out.  There are some great videos on how to use metal coatings with different patinas.

Sculpt Nouveau is very convenient and easy to use, since you simply paint it on.  I bought the B formula, which is water-soluble in its liquid state, and this means you can clean your brushes with water and detergent as you would with an acrylic paint.  Just don't let it dry on the brush because I promise you, once that stuff is dry it's not going anywhere.

Interestingly, the leaf feels heavy and cold to the touch.  Sculpt Nouveau contains powdered metal, so what I have here is essentially a paper sculpture coated in brass.  For obvious reasons, this is a very exciting innovation for artists who work with paper.  I can't wait to try some patinas with this stuff!