We begin by sanding the surface of the board we have chosen with fine
sandpaper in order to attain a smooth finish. Then we coat it with lukewarm
rabbit skin glue and fine fabric, such as cotton or linen, and several coats
of gesso making sure each dries before the subsequent coat is applied. After
all the layers have dried we sand the ground with fine sandpaper, and must
be done with great precision and care because the surface we are going to
gild must be absolutely smooth.
After gilding we are ready to begin painting the icon. Egg tempera is
the basic medium for icon painting, the preferred medium for creating
traditional icons because of the mediums greater luminosity and brilliance.
The use of acrylic paints for icons is fairly wide spread because it is an
easier technique and supplies are easier to obtain, whoever an acrylic
painting cannot match the delicate and luminous characteristics of an egg
tempera painting. By using egg yolk and natural pigments we create different
color tones. We never use acrylics or industrial colors because they not
only fail in reflecting the color tones but they also fade after some years.
The natural pigments used by the first iconographers have retained their
original color, allowing us to admire their work throughout the ages.
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