Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Accidental Frame

In the interest of efficiency, when I have things of my own to frame I may wait to  cut and join the wood frame when I have several to do, even though I may not finish gilding/painting for some time. Sometimes a real long time.

Frame with gold leaf details

In this case, I had an etching purchased several years ago, the frame was cut, and was even gilded and painted. I knew I would include some other design work, but hadn't come to final decisions. In a burst of "let's get some of these unfinished projects out of the way", I added gold leaf design work to the panel of the frame (a "faux sgraffitto" technique).

Since, as with the frames, I often get the mats cut ahead of time, and along with the art work, put them away for safe keeping, I next had to retrieve the art and mat. Amazingly, it was, for once, where I thought it would be. But when I went to assemble the package, something was off. A lot off. the art and mat were for an 8 x 10 frame, and my newly finished frame was 11 x 14.

I know that I sometimes mess up measurements, but this was bad, even for me. I went looking through the other unfinished projects, and found a frame the correct size. In fact, it was even noted on the back that it was meant for the etching.

But, as luck would have it, I did have a painting of mine that fit, and, was much better for the new frame than the one it was in before.

"Power Psychic" oil on canvas by Joseph Rice

Now I just have to finish the other frame. Maybe next year.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Restoration of a 19th Century Frame

One of my regular clients brought in this 19 century frame. Typical of the period, it had varying styles of composition ornament, with the topmost a running garland of leaves. The surface seems to have been a combination of gold leaf in prominent areas, with the rest finished with bronze powder. 

Frame in un-restored condition.

 As these frames aged and dried out, the composition ornament would crack and come loose. There was one significant loss on the top border, and smaller numerous losses to the cove ornament. There had been some old repairs and bronze paint.

Mold and castings.

After re-adhering all the loose sections, I made molds and casts for the replacements. Fitting them in is always tedious, and requires making extras in case of breakage.

Fitting in the replacements.

Finally, gilding and toning to match the coloring and patina of the rest of the frame.

Finished frame.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Plein Air in Phillipston, Massachusetts

So New England!
 We are still in "foliage season" here in New England, but it is getting colder, and we must make the most of it while it lasts.

One of the artists groups invited painters to her family's apple farm in Phillipston, MA. Quintessential New England - apple trees, barns, mountain views - as well has home made soup and apple crisp for lunch!

Lots of photos, some watercolor studies for working up later, and cold, tired feet. A good day.

Hundred mile views from the hilltop

Orange leaves, and still some bright red apples hanging on the tree.

Back side of the neat and tidy barn shown above.
I always seem to go for the "not as pretty" subject matter

My rendition of the old truck. The apple fell on the hood as if meant for me to paint this.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall Still-Life Paintings

I did two watercolor still-life paintings for a change. One was inspired by looking at Andrew Wyeth's paintings on a visit to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine (even if he was still alive, I don't think he'd be worried about competition from me). The other was of a group of accidental squash (i.e., appearing out of the compost pile from seeds that must have been tossed out). I know there were green acorn squash seeds in the compost, but I don't know where the white one came from.

Both of these are in my grain-painted frames.

Odd Squash

Apple at Rest

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall Plein Air Painting

A perfect fall day for plein air painting. The Shrewsbury and Framingham artist guilds met up on the grounds of an 18th century farm in Lincoln, Massachusetts. I was able to complete three small watercolor sketches.

Everyone wanted to be in the sun since it was a bit cool.

The compost and dump pile always appeals to me.

End of the summer, with just a few flowers left.

Getting ready for the next season.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fall Color in Wiscasset

Let's face it - there's nothing to match the fall colors in New England. These were all taken around Wiscasset during the Columbus Day weekend.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gilt Frame with French Mat

Finally framed!

If you think the hiatus from posts has been long, think of the owner of this artwork given to me in spring for framing! This is a watercolor by a decorative artists, Walter Wright of Vermont. He painted in many different styles and techniques, creating everything from trays and furniture to Christmas cards.

This appears to have been inspired by Italian Commedia delle Arte characters. Walter Wright was interested in many different forms of art, and may have copied the characters from a book or a picture in a museum.

Now deceased, Walter was most active during the 1940-1960 period.

This piece was purchased by the current owner at an auction of Wright's work held by family members. Since it had an "old world" feeling, I made a water gilded frame, with deep red bole to pick up the reddish colors in the costumes. The tone of the mat was chosen to make the foxing age (staining) of the paper less conspicuous, and a watercolor panel added for some extra elegance.

Fortunately, the client felt it was all worth the wait!