Monday, May 14, 2018

Adding a Pair to a Full House



While not period antiques, this pair of mirrors is very attractive, and are descendants of the way many frames and mirrors were made in the nineteenth century when the use of composition ornament took over from hand carving.

That means, unfortunately, they suffer from the same inherent faults of using compo as their predecessors: wood and compo expand and contract at different rates, and pieces of the molded ornament can lose their grip and fall off. These mirrors had losses (as well as a previous bad repair). 

The mystery is what happened to these large pieces - I suspect someone has an end table with these pieces in the drawer, and has wondered what they belonged to.


Removing a very bad old repair attempt.



While it looks daunting, this is usually a simple repair.



 Another problem with this style of mirror is that when not on the wall, they need to lie flat as there is no way to lean them on an edge without damaging them. This one suffered a break to one bottom swag, breaking the piece and bending the wire armature out of alignment.

When examining these closely, I noticed how they were not identical, due to the way the ornament was applied. While not attaining perfection, these differences indicate that human beings worked on them.

Someone wasn't careful.


The repairs were fairly straightforward - molding and casting, gilding and toning.

Molding and casting replacement sections.

Currently on the wall for their own protection until a suitable packing case arrangement can be built for safely transporting them. Meanwhile, the previous wall occupants have been exiled to storage.


Finished!






Monday, April 16, 2018

Just Touch Up Some of the Gray, Please.

The weather was deceptively spring-like on Saturday, so a few of us went out for the first plein air session of the 2018 season at Potter Hill in Grafton.

This area has nice vistas as far as Mount Wachusett, but as usual, my focus was a little closer. The colors were not intense, as the day was not consistently sunny, and of course, due to this year's weather pattern, not much was leafing out yet.

As often happens, my paintings look ok until I get them home, where they look pale and insipid. I took some corrective action a couple days later. Improved, but I would still like more depth in some of the color.


"Hay Bales" as painted outdoors


"Hay Bales" after enhancement

"Wishing Well" as painted outdoors

"Wishing Well" after enhancement

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Little Light Classical

Finished eglomise panel


I accumulate mirrors, sometimes just for the glass panels. Of course, sometimes these were broken, but I have them for my archive and use them to make a copy.

This mirror is one I purchased for the panel (earlier post here),  and after making my copies (another post here), decided I wanted to make the mirror useful again. I had been wanting to do something in a classical vein, with a more refined image, and wanted a mirror with a more delicate frame to match. Aha, I had this one on hand.

Mirror with original broken panel


I found an image in one of the Dover books on classical themed illustration, and used that as the basis for this version.




The procedure is the same as I have described in other blog postings: Gold leaf on the glass, etch, backup areas with black, then apply background paint.

Gold leaf backed u p with paint





Finished project


Friday, February 16, 2018

Figure Painting Wrap Up

Marci I

Last session of the three week course at the Worcester ArtMuseum, Portrait and Figure in Watercolor with Randy LeSage (I did paint in week 2, but haven't got photos done).

Our model for the evening was Marci, who is also a blues singer. I am trying to be more forceful and adventurous with color, as well as looser with brush work.



Marci II

Preliminary quick sketch

Still doing a sketch before painting, in order to familiarize myself with the subject through observation, and find out the areas likely to cause trouble in the painting, since watercolor can be difficult, if not impossible to correct.

Marci III


As with many things, practice, practice, practice.

Next course is the same, but in oils. Hope I'm able to sign up for that one as well.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Let's Face It



Over the past few years I have tried honing my skills at figure drawing, primarily through the Worcester Art Museum's life drawing sessions in the galleries. Since they have been discontinued, I have signed up for a watercolor portrait and figure class with instructor Randy LeSage.

The experience with drawing has been helpful, as this is my first attempt at portraits and figures in watercolor. The model was Kate, and her fair coloring and delicate features made it a struggle for this first week's attempts.

In any event, onward and upward with the arts!







Saturday, December 30, 2017

Like Day and Night

View from Fort Hill Street in Wiscasset


There are scenes that you may walk by frequently, and always "meant to take a photo" or think "that would make a good painting subject". It can take a long time for these inspirations to come to fruition.

The owner of a property near mine in Wiscasset, Maine, has been converting the hillside into an almost vertical landscape. When viewed from my street, you would see very little as it is at the edge of the hill. In addition, a number of trees blocked the view. With the removal of some trees, he now has more light for his yard, and it has opened up the view of that section of the village.

The inspiration for the painting came from seeing this view on a daily basis while out walking the dogs, although it took me a couple of years to get around to it. Looking down on the buildings from this vantage point made it seem more toy-like and whimsical than most of my other scenes. Rather than be technically realistic, I did take some liberties with placement and color to create a fun and colorful view.

Overlooking Wiscasset Village, Acrylic, 24 x 30

Painting finally completed, and won second place at the Artist Guild of Shrewsbury's annual show in November, 2017.

Second Place winner

Looking down from my street to the other side of the village, I was taken by the view of the food shop and bakery on the next street. Yes, while walking the dogs, at night this time.

Bad, fuzzy photo



I did a small watercolor sketch, with the idea of making a more finished painting at some point. Again, a hiatus of  two years before completing the second painting. Again, liberties were taken.

Watercolor, 8 x 10




Baker's Moon, Acrylic, 18 x 24







Monday, November 13, 2017

Does this artist's name ring a bell?


I happened to come across these two paintings listed in a Skinner's  auction catalog. The paintings, while pleasant and competent, might not seem that striking. The name of the artist, Edward Darley Boit, may not immediately ring a bell with most people.




Lot 1016Edward Darley Boit (American, 1842-1916) Hillside Landscape



Lot 1362Edward Darley Boit (American, 1840-1915) Villa, San Remo 

What makes them of interest is the connection the artist has to a very well known painting, possibly the most famous painting in Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Yes, those are his daughters in the famous Sargent painting.







The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882)
John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925)