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Major Workshop – Traditional Raised and Burnished Gesso Gilding with Ken Harris – October 2017

October 7, 2017 @ 9:00 am - October 8, 2017 @ 5:00 pm

Initial D by Ken Harris

Have you ever marveled at the beautiful illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages? Have you ever asked yourself how it is that these amazing illustrations, painted in vivid colors and gilded with real gold, have survived for hundreds of years and not lost a bit of their beauty? This is the class that will teach you the secrets of the medievalists and their art.

Classic gilding such as raised and burnished gold, involves techniques that have come down to us from the Middle Ages. You will grind ingredients to create the gesso (or ground) that supports the gold, lay the liquid gesso on your design, apply the gold and then polish it to a mirror brightness. Once your design is finished it will be ready for the next process – the application of color.




About Ken Harris:

Born and raised in southern New Mexico, Ken has a long history of visuals. As a young boy, he was inspired by his grand-mother who was an artist. She passed those genes to his creative father and now to Ken.

He was awarded an art scholarship to New Mexico Junior College and received his AA degree there and started his real education in the arts. He received a BFA degree in Graphic Design from Brigham Young University and a Master of Arts degree from Western Oregon University. One of the most important concepts he learned from his education is how to look. “ Paint what you see, not what you know.“ That intense looking has served him well. It has also influenced his style of representational art. Honing his hand-to-eye coordination, he also became a master calligrapher, studying gilding and medieval illumination with the scribe to the Queen of England.

Ken’s career began as a graphic designer for Pasadena City College in Pasadena California. He then took a position with Western Oregon University in Monmouth Oregon, from there he went to work as an artist at American Greeting’s World Headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. His love of the West led him to Southern Utah and the beginning of plein air painting.

He is constantly studying the varied landscapes of his surroundings for the next painting inspiration. Art is a continuing journey for him, feeling the challenge when facing each new canvas. Ken lives in the St. George, UT area with his wife Jan.

Ken shows his work at the Authentique Gallery in St. George, Utah and at the flagship store of Deseret Bookstore at City Creek in Salt Lake City, Utah, His work is also in private collections in Canada, France, New York, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, California, Utah and Oregon.

“I began painting from life after we moved to Southern Utah. I have reconnected with my life-long love of the West. I try to capture all the pleasing compositions and subtle nuances of my surroundings. My goal is to find ways to achieve the many moods of a landscape, freezing a moment in time with the subtleties of color and atmosphere. I am striving to capture the ‘feel’ of the cliffs and mesas with a painterly realism, and am continually pursuing the spiritual nature and beauty of this land. I treasure the ability to find beauty in the everyday. I am constantly drawn to the way the sunlight falls on a tree or how the sky is reflected in water. These are the things that bring me joy. I remember exactly when and where I was each time I look at one of my paintings. I am humbled that I can share something so personal and touch someone else by that experience through my art.”

Supply List:

  • Bring a 2 inch square design drawn VERY LIGHTLY in pencil with at least a 3 inch border around it. Suggestions for designs are letter or leaf designs, stars, stripes, hieroglyphics, heraldic devices, Japanese crests, geometrics or anything else you would like to see in gold.
  • White plastic eraser, (the click pencil type).
  • Arches 90 lb cold or hot press watercolor paper.
  • Gouache and/or watercolors, in colors suitable for your chosen design, plus white gouache.
  • Any gilding tools you may have, for example: Agate burnisher or hematite burnisher, quill knife and quills.

Don’t worry – Ken says he will provide everything needs for class.

Class Fee: $150. This includes gold, quill, and gesso.

Sign up begins August 15, 2017. Contact Leslie Winakur to sign up or if you have any questions, by email, snail mail, telephone, or in person. Your check made out to SACG will hold your space. No checks will be chased until after the workshop takes place.


October 7, 2017 @ 9:00 am
October 8, 2017 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:


Discovery School
222 Salem
San Antonio, TX 78201 United States
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