Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finally Some Sunny Days

We are now at least getting some sunny days, interspersed in what must be the rainiest summer in history.

Air is still damp all the time, and with the heat, it is now tropical (with more storms predicted for this week). Playing havoc with drying times and shellac work. I am trying to get things together for a large antique show in Union, Maine (http://www.maineantiquefest.com/), where I will have a booth displaying restoration and gilding work, etc.

Photo shows a street corner in Wiscasset, where the sun's appearance brought the tourists out.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Visitors Spur Museum Trip

We have been getting around to some of our New England museums this week (we often delay visits to the treasures in our own back yards).

I wanted to show visitors from England something "New England", so decided on a visit to Salem, in particular the Peabody Essex Museum (http://www.pem.org/). Our guests, Yvonne and Tom Jones found it fascinating, and Yvonne in particular (an author on the decorative arts and a museum professional) said it was one of the best collections of export ceramics she had ever seen.

Since the dogs were in for an all day grooming, we were free this week to go the the exhibit of Venetian paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (http://www.mfa.org/).

It was interesting that both museums are highlighting the importance and process of conservation and research on the art work (one exhibit at the Peabody Essex has a conservator working in the gallery, for the education of the viewing public).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Head Tide, Alna Maine

Last weekend it didn't rain for a change, so we took a ride over to the Head Tide section of Alna, where the expression "time stands still" is not just a cliche. At the bend in the road are a number of eighteenth and nineteenth century homes and buildings. Nothing much going on there, but if you were there, you wouldn't want it to.

Here are some pictures.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lemon Gold Frames

Antique dealers and collectors will often refer to silver-gilt frames as "lemon gold" frames. It sounds classier than silver, apparently. This type of finish became popular in the early nineteenth century, primarily from German manufacturers. To create them, the frame or molding was gilded with silver leaf, using traditional water gilding technique. A tinted shellac (as well as other options) created the effect of gold. This finish ages differently from a traditional gold leaf finish, and has its own distinct charm. In the Nineteenth Century, “Lemon Gold” frames were very popular, and are prized today for framing antique or reproduction art such as theorems.
The pictures show a sample stick in progress, to test finishes for what will be two large frames. The first picture shows the silver leafing, with a distressing and chemical spatter to create the effects of age. A color finish will be built up using tinted shellacs (and just when I want to use shellac, we are in the middle of another hot, humid spell of weather).

The method described here is based on a workshop given by Michael Gilbert, of Maryland.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Here is one of my paintings in the frame I made a couple weeks ago. It wasn't intended for this frame, but it worked well (as did two other paintings), so I think I will make some more frames of this design.
This painting, an acrylic, is a street scene in Wiscasset, Maine.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

The rain finally stopped long enough for the Wiscasset Fourth of July parade (and fireworks that night).

A typical small town parade, everyone who wants to gets to participate. Local groups, veterans, children, small businesses, and of course, local firetrucks and rescue vehicles. This year's parade seemed longer than usual. Sorry, I have no idea why the fluorescent green phallic symbols.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Making Frames

I needed to get some molding for a frame order, and every time I go to my supplier, 2 percent is for a real project, and the rest is for playing around with making frames for myself or inventory.

I forgot to take a picture of my supplier, Stephen Izzo, http://www.stephenizzo.com/, but he is a great source of wood moldings, most of which are accurate reproductions of original frames from museums and collections.

So with all that stuff, needed to get to work. Two of the frames I need to make are fairly large, and the incessant rain makes me work indoors. At the same time I chopped and joined some other frames for myself, and did a quick carving. Since I will have a weekend of gesso-ing ahead of me, may as well make the most of it. I will work on these up in Maine, where I have much more work space.

The finished frame shown is a new design I am trying. The molding is a heavy bolection type profile. I gilded the inner and outer edges, and to add some interest, did a simple incised design. After gilding and paint work, with a casein wash, it will get a final wax job. I will post another image when the art is inserted.