Very few things are as intrinsically beautiful as gold. Gold captures light in a way unlike any other material or surface I have ever seen. In low light it looks blue. In sunlight it dazzles. In cloudy daylight it overpowers its surroundings with a luminous glow.
I decided after seeing the Klimt painting "Adele Bloch Bauer" at the Neue Gallerie that I wanted to experiment with gilding. For a period, I started gilding everything that I could: canvases, Montauk beach stones; over-wintered vegetables (a gourd from our Montauk garden is shown here), swords, portraits, etc. As I learned more about the practice of working with gold leaf, I came to appreciate its attributes more. The subtle glow of gold approximates magic. Even rudimentary efforts have a glow of Byzantium or High Renaissance. Even pedestrian efforts look remarkable with gold.
I have worked with gilding in two categories: works on canvas and works on objects, mostly stone (apologies: there is a good deal of overlap between the "gold leaf" and "stonework" categories).
What is not easily represented by the photographs is the range of appearances that the leaf imbues depending on the light. Some of the most interesting effects from gold leaf are in low light or in strafing light from the side which can't really be conveyed in a photograph.