This was a black lantern assembled from flattened Japanese coins. You will just have to believe me on the color. I found it at the thrift store when I almost kicked it.
I asked David to take a few Before photos and then left to run a few errands. This was, in hindsight, a mistake because I neglected to specify where he should take the photos. As soon as I left he grabbed the lantern, carried it out into the afternoon sun and snapped away. Granted, we are delighted to see the sun after a miserable week of rain, but unfortunately the direct light completely changed the lantern’s color. Instead of black, it looks bronzy-blue. Ironically, the washed out colors in this picture are startlingly similar to my end goal of this piece.
I wanted to create the illusion of verdigris on the lantern, similar to our Chinese warrior statue. He stands watch outside our front door and his metal is beginning to show weathering. I love seeing him every time I enter our house. I assume he’s based on the terra-cotta army figures found in China by farmers digging a water well — an estimated 8,000 soldiers found, along with chariots and horses. And a small one stands in front of my door.
Apartment Therapy provided historical information on verdigris which I found delightful because I didn’t know about the salt, honey, vinegar, urine and wine.
“The name comes from the French ‘vert de gris,’ which roughly translates to ‘green of Greece,’ and in fact, recipes for verdigris are found throughout ancient literature and include ingredients like salt, honey, vinegar and even urine to be applied to copper plates in order to cause the necessary chemical reaction. In France, verdigris pigment was produced in conjuction with wine, as the acetic acid of fermenting grapes was found to be an efficient catalyst to quickly rust copper. The bluish green patina was then scraped off the metal and ground into pigments.”
After his photo shoot, David spray painted the lantern gold, forming the important base layer. I wanted a bit of gold to peek through after I distressed it. The lantern sits on gorgeous hand- painted Japanese fabric, which I picked up at an estate sale for a song. I’d like to transform it into a wall hanging if I can figure out how to do it easily and inexpensively.
Next, I followed the procedure described in my Verdigris Cherubs post. I dry brushed Annie Sloan’s Louis Blue and Antibes in patches until I covered each side.
To get a softer, older look, I needed to add a whitish patina. I mixed water and Old White at a ratio of 2:1 and quickly brushed it on one side of the lantern at a time. I did this part outside. While that glaze was wet, I sprayed on water and then dabbed it with a cotton cloth. After everything dried, I distressed the lantern with 220 grit sandpaper. I used an extremely light touch so that I didn’t expose the black underlayer.
Here is the finished product, sitting among the Florida oranges as the sun is rushing toward the horizon.
I’m pleased with the result of faux aged green, blue, white and hint of gold. I chose not to wax the lantern so that it can be used indoors or outside.
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Ann Marie and David