Featured Artist Joan Metcalf

Artist Joan Metcalf, inspired by the lush landscapes and flora of her native Oregon, paints shimmering images using oils and composition metal leaf. See more of her work by visiting her website.

 

“Penny’s Maple Tree” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48" x 36" by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Penny’s Maple Tree” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48″ x 36″

 

I have been a professional artist since 1961, and during that time have painted in oils, acrylics and watercolors – but it is my current technique of oils and composition metal leaf which I have found to be the most intriguing and challenging.

 

"Catching the Light” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 40” x 40” by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Catching the Light” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 40” x 40”

 

I was painting an aspen tree in my series of aspen groves when I wondered if I could convey the “quaking” aspect of its leaves in a better way.

 

“Shimmering Poppy Garden” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48" x 36" by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Shimmering Poppy Garden” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48″ x 36″

 

I wanted to use gold leaf, but realized with the large size of my paintings and my need for experimentation, my medium would have to be composition leaf rather than genuine. Composition gold is an alloy of 88% copper and 12% zinc, silver is 100% aluminum and the copper is genuine, and all of them require coatings of a special sealer to prevent oxidation.

 

“Winter Tree” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48" x 36" by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Winter Tree” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48″ x 36″

 

The Japanese Rimpa artists of the 17th and 18th centuries have impressed me with their gold and silver leaf paintings and screens. I am respectful of their tradition, but have also explored other ways of applying the metal leaf besides their method of using the intact square.

 

“Ornamental Cherry Tree #2”Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 72" x 36" by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Ornamental Cherry Tree #2”Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 72″ x 36″

 

I started applying small bits of metal leaf around elements of my images, and discovered a special bonus that surprised me.

 

“Gilding the Lilies” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48" x 24" by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Gilding the Lilies” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48″ x 24″

 

The reflective, shimmering quality of the leaf causes the appearance of the painting to change as I move past it and even seems to affect the value of the oil painted areas.

 

“Twists and Turns” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48" x 36" by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Twists and Turns” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48″ x 36″

 

I live in Oregon and I am constantly inspired by its forests, gardens, mountains and ocean. I have painted all of them over the years.

 

“Basking in Sunlight” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 36" x 48"by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Basking in Sunlight” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 36″ x 48″

 

Recently, because this is also one of the largest areas of vineyards in the world, I have focused on grapevines. The “shimmer effect” has become a major compositional element in these paintings, and weaves around the grape leaves to give each painting a special glow.

 

“Trailing Vines” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48" x 36" by artist Joan Metcalf. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Trailing Vines” Oil and Metal Leaf on Canvas, 48″ x 36″

 

This technique is definitely labor intensive, with successive layers of oil paint, adhesive, bits of metal leaf applied one at a time and then the sealer coatings, but it has increased my creativity and caused each day to be exciting and challenging.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Beautiful shimmering pieces here Joan. Such vibrancy and light.

  2. Renee G. Noel says:

    The metal leaf reminds me of Gustav Klimt…absolutely beautiful!

  3. Beautiful. Worth the hard work. Good Luck

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