'Give me some paint, brushes and canvas and I will give you gold, silver, ruby and pearl. I will give you the greatest treasures you have ever seen. I will show you magic. Artists are the greatest alchemists, the best magicians of all. They can make gold from base metals, they do that every day and more. Would anyone doubt the cost of Rembrant's painting below well exceeds the cost of the gold helmet? Oil and lead to gold ... now there is alchemy proven.
In painting metals the key is to understand they are distinguished by their color and their ability to reflect light rays. Apart from chrome and stainless steel all metals oxidise to some degree - alloys usually more than the others. The highest reflective metal with the least hue is, in descending order; chrome, aluminimum, gold silver, brass copper, bronze and lead
Some will say this depends on the shine, and it does but our purpose is to differentiate holding all things ideal. The practical method of explaining the degree of polish or reflective mature of the metal is to decide on the focus (sharpness) of the items it reflects. A mirror for instance will reflect exactly what surrounds it -unless it is a concave mirror which reflects the surrounding items otherwise . used in interrogation techniques - very disorientating, I confess.
In my studio there exists a metal cup (an old sporting trophy - don't know why I kept it?). It is made of some alloy of pewter and tin that gives the impression it is silver. I will use this as my basic object to demonstrate the essential considerations when painting metals. I will also use the same artificial room I used to create 'the pearl'. The cup is drawn here in its most neutral form but with shading to indicate its shape. The manipulation of its environment that will largely determine its final presence.
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