Mastering the techniques of the past enables an artist to convey his wishes in the present.
— Gary Milek

Autumn Splendor Egg Tempera and Gold Leaf, 38.5" x 40"

About the Medium

Painting is two-dimensional, a flat surface. The magic of expressing three dimensional illusions has possessed the artist throughout time. Picture planes, vanishing points of perspective, and receding colors are the tools Gary Milek uses to create his landscapes. He learned the medieval techniques of egg tempera and gold leaf at Rijks Academy in the Netherlands, where he spent countless hours in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam copying the paintings of the Old Masters.  

The atmosphere created by twelfth- and thirteenth-century artists using gold leaf in religious paintings was truly magical. The Old Masters used gold leaf flat for decoration, to embellish and sanctify their surroundings, and to create a mood of heavenly thoughts.

About the Inspiration

At times in the late fall or early winter, when the fields are golden, the Vermont landscape resembles a twelfth-century painting. This autumn inspiration led Milek to incorporate gold leaf into some of his egg tempera landscapes. Through trial and error he found a way to use it to depict depth and to break the planes of the fields, so that the painting moves back into space. 

Gold leaf reflects back to the viewer and gives life to a painting that cannot be captured in any other way. Using this medium, Gary Milek is able to create an extraordinary sense of dimension, from a perfectly flat surface of gold leaf, to heighten the viewer’s awareness of the beauty that exists in nature.