Kay Jackson is an American artist who uses Manetti gold leaf in nearly all her paintings. After completing her Masters of Fine Art at the George Washington University in 1984, she shifted her focus on endangered ecosystems. In particular, she uses gold leaf to promote love and protection for animals and, in particular, endangered species.
The message is transmitted by creating gold leaf icons that do not depict celebrities or saints but gold leaf animals to enhance their importance. Gold leaf gilding was often used to decorate the Saints’ halo. Kay Jackson combines gold leaf gilding with the skilful use of tempera paints to define and enhance the contours and as a base for further decorations.
Kate Jackson uses the water gilding technique, the most difficult one used since 1200 by great Italian and European artists and one of the most popular ones used for gilding wooden surfaces. It consists in the preparation of a plaster surface, followed by the application of bole, and the application of the gold leaf. The plaster is used to create a homogeneous base for the next process, whereas the bole acts as a binder and provides the background colour in tones compatible with those of the gold leaf.
The artist who most inspired Kay Jackson is Simone Martini, who was born in Siena in 1284 and died in Avignon in 1344. He was famous worldwide for his paintings depicting religious figures. The use of gold in Martini’s paintings showed a new world to Kay Jackson. Gold leaf has given a noble and shiny appearance to her paintings that was not possible to achieve with the use of paint alone. The distinctive feature of her creations consists in associating gilding with the use of tempera paints and a perforation technique to create golden patterns and drawings.
Over the years, Manetti gold leaf has become the product of choice for artists and cultural professionals.