Blogs » Skull of the Giant - notes on its making

Skull of the Giant - notes on its making

  • Skull of the Giant (March2001) The Russian born painter Nicholas Roerich 1874-1947 used colour and imagery in a way that I find richly metaphoric. I wished to echo something of his style with enamel. I have taken a detail of his painting “Issa and the Skull of the Giant” (tempera on canvas 1933) Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York. (Issa is the great Haiku poet of 18thC) This detail appeared suitable for interpretation with low fire technique using only flux and white, allowing fire-scale to form colour. Method: 1. Make sketch of detail. 2. Trace onto 0.9mm copper panel 12.7 x 15.3cm via carbon paper. 3. Reinforce outline with wax pencil. 4. Paint in areas where golds and whites needed with mixture of 50% liquid flux (Ball 10098) and 50% liquid white (Ball 10099) in varying dilutions with water as appropriate. 5. Dry and fire at 800c. 6. Rub off loose scale with paper towel. 7. Paint over scale and bare metal with liquid flux 10098. 8. Dry and fire at 800c. Rich reds appear from fire-scale. 9. Sieve overall with finishing flux, fire at 820c. to just molten. 10. Counter enamel and fire at 820c. 11. Sieve overall with finishing flux; fire at 800c. to just molten (keeping low to preserve reds). Conclusions: Counter enamel not fully fused but deemed sufficient for the purpose. Some white areas may have benefited from harder firing but I declined to do this due to the risk of ‘burnout’ in some regions of fire-scale.