art of miniature painting

E V E L I N A  P A S T I L A T I




The art of painting in miniature has developed into many different techniques(for example, tempera or oil on papier-mache, watercolor on ivory ,oil on mother-of-pearl),the last of these being the technique favored by the artist Evelina Pastilati

Miniature painting on mother-of-pearl calls for exceptionally sharp eyes and dextrous hands.To complete a single miniature,the painter spends an average of 40 hours,peering attentively througt the magnifier.

After a first visual appreciation of the colours needed for her task, the painter composes her palette, preparing paint mixes, which will be maintained and modified as the need arises.
She then reshapes her brushes. Its bristles made from hair of a marten, as none available on the market are fine enough for this art. She will get through at least 10 and as many as 20 such brushes before the painting is finished.
Given that miniature painting needs total concentration and sometimes up to 70 hours of meticulous work under the magnifying glass, the painter’s rule is to start with the most difficult details. In a portrait, the eyes and the facial features are dealt with before anything else.
The search for the right shade is a constant challenge; the artist has to identify the dominant colour of each detail of the subject. The base colour for each element is painted on uniformly to prevent the mother-of-pearl showing through.
The base shade is applied and the other colours are progressively blended in to achieve the desired gradation and nuances. Many extremely fine additional layers are then applied, yet the completed painting is hardly five hundredths of a millimetre thick.
The miniature has to pass through the kiln several times to dry each layer of paint, so that a new layer of colour can be painted on. Repeated drying also minimises the wet paint’s exposure to dust, which can ruin the work. The paint takes between 30 and 60 minutes to dry — depending on its thickness — in a 100 C kiln. Particularly complex subjects need up to 60 passages in the kiln. The completed painting is finally baked for five hours to prepare it for finishing.
A transparent lacquer is now delicately applied over the whole dial surface. Five layers are needed to apply 0.15mm of lacquer. The miniature is then dried in the kiln for 24 hours, before being smoothed on disks to reach its final thickness. After cleaning, the lacquer is polished to its full brilliance. Finally, the miniature can be mounted on fine textures manufactured with gold and precious stones of coloured transparency that emphasize and give glow to the painting.

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