Scientific American 38, 12.6.1847
The Art of Painting.
(Continued from No. 37)
Lithographic and other prints are sometimes used in ornamental printing, being transferred to the durface of painted grounds by the following process: - The ground is sized with a mixture of two parts of copal varnish with one of old linseed oil, or with an article sold at the paint stores under the name of transfer varnish, which consists principally of diluted fir balsam: and the print to be transferred is put into warm water. When the sizing is nearly fry, but still adhesive, the print is pressed between two or more dry papers, to deprive it of its surplus moisture, and is then gently pressed - the print side down - on the sized ground. When the sizing is thoroughly dry and hard, the paper which adheres thereto, is again moistened with warm water, and being gently rubbed with the hand, will peel off, leaving the entire print adhering to the ground. This may be colored with transparent colors, and afterward secured by varnish. This work is frequently applied to fancy sleighs, fire engines, and omnibuses.
CRYSTALINE CHANGEABLE PAINTING.
This may be said to the most brilliant branch, in the entire art of painting, in as much as the pictures produced in this line are more brilliant in appearance than any other. It is seldom seen on any other work than nicely wrought French fancy boxed, waiters or teatrays. It can be executed on no other ground than tin-plate, or tinned iron plate, which for nice work should be smoothly planished; but a practitioner may work on the ordinary tin plate. The crystalizing process is effected by means of acids. Let the plate be perfectly clean, and placed in a horizontal position; then dip a very soft brush in muriatic acid, and wash over the face of the plate with it, and immediately immerse the plate in clear water. Wipe the plate dry, and repeat the process three or four times, and the plate will have acquired a beautiful changeable crystalline appearance. Another process which gives a finer and differently formed crystaline figure, is effected by a mixture of equal parts of sulphuric and muriatic acid, diluted with double the quantity of water. For this process, the plate should be annealled, by being held over a charcoal fire until the tin on the plate begins to melt; but it should become cold again before the acid is applied. A still greater diversity of crystaline figures may be produced, by applying a hot iron to the under side of the plate while in a horizontal position, and moving the hot iron slowly in various directions over the surface of the plate; thus by anuealing some parts of the plate while other parts escape, the crystalization, whether produced by the muriatic or mixed acids, will appear differently in different parts. By a litte experimental practice, a learner may be able to produce such an appearance as may suit in his taste. Having prepared the ground in this manner, and provided a full variety of transparent colors (heretofore described for painting on glass) and some fine hair pointed pencils, proceed to draw the outlines of the designed picture on the crystallized ground, observing to lay out the design in such manner as to accommodate the crystalline figures and show them to the best advantage. On some parts of this work, opaque colors may be applied, but in such a manner that the most important and conspicuous figures, shall present the changeable crystalline appearance, in bright colors and metallic brilliancy. Of course the lights must be observed, and the same rules in applying the colors observed as in transparent paintings. Human faces must be painted opaque, unless a sufficient space of the ground may be found of a uniform shade, to accommodate it, in which case the changeability of the countenance, as the position of the picture is varied, will have an interesting effect. Water views, edifices, rocks, flowers, and ladies' dresses, may be worked in the transparencies; and especially forests, if well managed, will have a beautiful effect by their changeability, and resembling the appearance of trees and foliage wacing in the wind. Also, waves of the ocean, will appear in motion, as the position of work, relative to the eye, is changed or varied. The bronzes, gold or silver, may be occasionally applied to this kind of painting; and the whole is to be finished and secured by a smooth coat of copal or seed lac varnish.
Thi branch has propably never been so much in vogue as at present. Imitations, or pretended imitations, of oak, maple, mahogany or marble, may be seen on three-fourths of the doors of houses in the cities, besides wainscotting, chimney pieces and furniture. The grounds for this work are painted with common oil paints, and of colors corresponding with the lightest parts of the materials intended to be imitated. The ground for maple is a straw color, made of whitelead slightly tinged with chrome yellow and yellow ochre. When this is dry, a thin coat of terra de sienna ground in water slightly sweetened with sugar; and while this coat remains moist, the deeper shades, termed graining, are laid on with a peculiar flat brush, called a grainer. The first staining is usually applied by a piece of cotton cloth, and so thin as to show the ground color through it. This staining is then rubbed off, or removed from such parts as are intended to remain light, with a piece of cork. If bir's eyes in the wood are to be represented, a flat piece of cork with several points formed on the edge thereof, is used. It is important thant the learner should have several varnished pieces of the real wood before him while practising, to guide him in forming the grains and shades, which must be performed before the graining is dry. In case of any mistake, the whole may be washed off with water, and the work re-commenced. When this graining is dry, it must receive a coat of copal varnish. In imitation of birch the same color is used for the ground, and either terra di sienna, or umber, may be used for staining and graining. For imitations of oak, the ground color is slightly tinged with Venetian red, sometimes approaching a salmon color. The principal color used in graining, in terra de sienna, with occasionally burnt umber. In this branch, a tool similar to a comb, made of soft wood, is used in removing the staining in streaks, lengthwise: and a piece of cork is used in forming the cross lights. The deeper graining is made with a graining brush as before directed. Either of the ground colors before mentioned, will answer for mahogany imitations. The principal and almost exclusive color used for staining and graining, is burnt terra de sienna; though sometimes Venetian red is used in staining, and occasionally burnt umber or gum asphaltum in the darkest shades. In this process, a part of the graining is applied, and blended with the staining by having a soft stiff brush passed over it: after which the sharper shades are formed by the grainer. The graining colors for this work, may be ground in a mixture of oil and spirits of turpentine, and this is, in some respects, less difficult to manage, than the water staining, though there is less facilitation in the process. Imitations of marble are produced on white, or light slate colored grounds, and the shading colors, - which are ground in oil - are applied immediately to the ground color, and blended therewith before the former begins to dry. The shading used in light marbles, is generally a mizture of blue, black and white, though occasionally green, red and yellow are used; - true marble being often shaded with each of those colors. In imitating the Egyptian marble, the ground is painted nearly black, and the graining or clouding is formed with various lighter colors. In all attempt at imitation, the practitioner should be furnished with choice of specimens of the real article, and imitate by sight and judgment; as no specific rules can possibly be given whereby he can succeed without a sample.
(To be continued.)