Sunday, March 27, 2011

Victorian Frame Restoration

I bought this frame a few years back. I never seemed to get it out of storage to work on it, and kept forgetting about it, then would occasionally use it to show as a bad example. By that I mean that it probably had losses to the top border ornamentation, and rather than fix, someone just scraped it off and painted the flat surface "gold". Amazingly, the rest of the frame (except for some easily repairable losses), was in wonderful original condition. Now that my latest order of composition ornament has arrived, I can put ornament back on this as was intended. I may then keep it ungilded for a while as a demonstration piece.

FWIW, what appears as lovely burnished gold in the wide band is actually silver-gilt.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Southern Maine in Early Spring

Just wanting to get away for the weekend, we spent a couple days in the Kennebunk area. Most seasonal businesses won't open until the April, so this is a quiet time there. We knew the weather would not be great (especially after the warm, sunny days earlier in the week), but weren't counting on snow Saturday morning. So we shot up to Portland, to visit the art museum (, the when the snow stopped, poked around Kennebunkport.
Sunday morning was bright and clear, so we wandered around the coastal area, including Ogunquit and York. During the summer season, these are insanely crowded, so off-season is usually our only time to visit.
The rivers in New Englad are high right now, due to the snow melt and heavy rains, but Perkins Cove in Ogunquit was very quiet Sunday morning.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Composition Ornaments

It feels like Christmas morning when I get a shipment of composition ornaments. These molded ornaments are decorative elements used on frames and furniture. There are still some companies selling them, from the same molds they have used for many years.

This shipment was from Bomar Designs (

Due to the ordering requirements (minimum numbers, etc.) it takes a while to build an order, and I order lots of extra stuff that I don't have an immediate use for, but when I have it on hand, it lets me get creative.

The texture of these is like a very stiff cookie dough,and I will store them in the freezer. To use them, they are steamed to activate the glue and make them flexible. Then apply them to a frame corner, etc. - the flexibility lets them conform to a contour of the molding, and they eventually dry rock-hard. Then gesso, gild, etc.

Some of the long strips are for replacements on antique frames; other items are for the new frames I make. I will post some of those projects as I work on them.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Second Prize

The Artist Guild of Shrewsbury ( show had a nice selection of work on display at the Tatnuck Bookseller, in Westborough. This was the first time for me at the show, and one of my works, "Savannah Balcony" did win 2nd place.

The opening was on Sunday, and the show runs through April 13.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Painting Backgrounds

The Art Guild of Shrewsbury ( has a project going where they exchange painted backgrounds with a group in Japan - each group then uses these as a basis for an artwork.

Another student in my painting class uses leaf in her paintings, and since I am a gilder, I decided to incorporated leaf in the backgrounds I painted: one with silver, one with gold.

I will now receive in exchange two backgrounds prepared by someone in Japan.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Savannah Scene

Finishing up some paintings and frames. This is an acrylic, from photos I took of the Sorrel -Weed house in Savannah on one of our trips there. It may look a bit "milky", as the top coat of acrylic was not quite dry when I took the photo of the painting.

Mahogany Grained Frame

I had to duplicate an antique frame for a customer, and since it was different from the others in my portfolio, I made a version for myself as well. It was intended for an early 19th century portrait; apparently they owned the companion portrait, and wanted to match the antique frame on the other one. They were quite happy with the results.