Our Patinas

David M Bowman Studio

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Blue-green & White Blue-green

Brown & White Brown

Dark Green & Black

Ochre, White Ochre, & Black Ochre

Grey, Silver, Silver Brown, & Stone Grey

Mottle, Burnt Mottle, & Brown Mottle

Spray Blue-black

Apple Green

Pigmented Blue & Antique Blue

Flame colored copper

Patina care

Our Patina formulas


About the Studio


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David M Bowman Studio
Box 738
Berkeley, CA 94701
510 845-1072
[email protected]
[email protected]

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The Silver patina is actually a solution of silver nitrate applied to the brass using the torch technique. Is is easy to apply, but care must be taken subsequently to bring up the desired effect. When the patina dries it is mostly a dull, variegated grey-white, with hits of green and occasional shiny silver flecks. Much of the white is powdery, however, and must be fixed with a spray fixative if the matte grey-white effect is to be kept; otherwise, the white powder will smudge with the application of the protective wax coating. When we preserve the matte effect with fixative, we call the patina Grey.

Normally, however, we gently rinse away the loose white, then wax the surface, and finally (when the wax is well hardened) buff it on a soft brass brush wheel to bring up a cloudy mottled silver-grey with a medium-high gloss. There is some variation in this color—from dark gunmetal depths to brighter silvers—which is not entirely controllable.

Silver Brown was an accidental discovery (which others have made as well). A layer of transparent brown patina can be added on top of a layer of rinsed silver patina. At first this yields a muddy light brown, of very little interest. When experimenting with this, we found that a light reheating of the surface with the torch would bloom the edges of the silver modeling up through the brown, while darkening the latter. The result is a dramatic cloud-like effect. We were pleasantly surprised to find that this coloration is stable as the patina cools and dries.

Stone Grey was less accidental a discovery, but no less fortuitous. In this case, the silver nitrate is applied as a second layer over a layer of Spray Blue-black patina. The spray blue-black is done in the style we call "Turkish stone", to create the splotches and marbling, and the silver layer inherits this modeling as more sharply defined overlapping spots and pools in all shades of grey and silver. Depending on the quality of the first layer, some tinge of blue or even green may show through in the end result, resulting in an even more subtly beautiful effect.

Designs and images copyright © 1990-2017 David M Bowman & Reed C Bowman
Page copyright © 2017 David M Bowman
All rights reserved
Last updated 20 April 2012