FlorenceArt is the place to be when learning the ways of the old masters.

This week Stacey of Faux Studio Designs continues her patina tour in Florence. She is presently studying in an intensive, three-week course at a lovely school called FlorenceArt and staying at the Villa Palmerino.

This last week Stacey learned the ancient art of water gilding, essentially gilding without using modern size as an adhesive. Her course was taught by a master gilder, whose family has been practicing the craft for at least five generations. Instead of just slapping on size and adding the gilding, Stacey practiced using gesso, rabid glue, gilding water bole (fine red clay), and casein paints in layers, carefully sanding and sealing in between. The results after a weeks work were this stunning frame:


Notice the shine from the layers of preparation and sanding. Imagine, in today’s world taking an entire week to do a single frame!

Later this week we will visit the Uffizi through Stacey’s eyes, but I was struck by a comment she made. Given the time it took to do one small frame, imagine the time it took to do all of the frames and art in the Uffizi It would have been years of painstaking work.


Nowadays we all want the instant gratification that modern technology offers us. Don’t get me wrong; I too want to “get the project done.” But… I was left pondering, maybe we all should slow down and take a little longer.

Water gilding is layering and no matter how good you are, layering takes time. It can be the time you take to analyze your subject before you paint, like we talked about in our door patina post. Or it can be taking a little long to make certain the paint is perfect, ensuring it is completely dry and studying how the layers are turning out. Maybe it can be a little light sanding in-between coats to get a better finish. No matter how you look at it, the masters took time…. I think there is a lesson to be learned her not just for painting but also for life.

You can follow Stacey on Instagram @staceysbrush Remember, Stacey offers a wonderful recipe service that provides monthly faux finish recipes that you can do today!

Quick and Easy

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