Sunday, July 31, 2011

Restoration Update

Here is an update on a 19th century frame I have been working on ( Gesso has now been applied to the ornament.
It's not that these processes are that time consuming individually, but in order to have some semblance of a rational work flow, I try to group tasks (and I was making and applying gesso that day). And of course, since it is my own property, it can sit in storage for quite a while before getting worked on.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wiscasset Psychic

I have been working on a series of paintings of a storefront - formerly a succession of antique shops - now a psychic's establishment. I was attracted by the night-time view, which seemed like a perfect subject for Edward Hopper. What gives this a twist is that the proprietress is now involved in a case of elderly endangerment - police claim she left an elderly woman in a motel cabin without adequate care; the psychic claims that is not true, and that the woman is a family friend. The unfolding story will perhaps motivate me to work on this series some more.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Antiques Show in Camden, Maine

We were at the annual antiques show in Camden, Maine, as we have been for most of the past 25 years. A nice small show, the selection and appearance this year was even better than usual, but the weather did not cooperate, at least on Saturday. The tail end of the heat wave kept attendance and enthusiasm in check; Sunday the weather was the kind of breezy summer day we expect in coastal Maine, so that helped a bit.

The show is sponsored by the Camden-Rockport Historical Society, and is managed by Goosefare promotions (

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Antique Cars at the Codman Estate

Historic New England held an antique car show at the Codman house and grounds in Lincoln, Mass ( ).
Lovely weather, but hot. If I was more mechanically inclined (or if I won the lottery) I would want some of these, but the maintenance would be a big issue for me. I love the era when Detroit was sculpting the sheet metal - unlike today when all the cars are almost the same except for the name plates).

One of my top picks was this Packard I posed with. At least I wore a hat when in the presence of this grande dame.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Applying Compo Ornament

Many frames, particularly Victorian ones, used applied composition (compo) ornament. This particular frame suffered from some fairly minor losses, but apparently losses at the top edge made it easier for someone to simply strip off the remaining ornament and paint it "gold". As you can imagine, not a satisfactory solution.

As part of my last compo ornament order, I received this very elaborate, high-relief border. These show the frame as found, with repairs and application process for the ornament, which is steamed to make it pliable and release the glue so that it will adhere.

Once completely dry and hard, it will be gessoed and gilded.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Painting in the Cemetery

Some of the members of the Artist Guild of Shrewsbury ( try to meet for some plein air painting. On this hot Monday morning, three of us wound up in the old cemetery in the town center.
I did a couple of quick watercolor sketches, and took lots of photos.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

House Painting Again

You have to keep up with the paint work on an old house. Spent this weekend rebuilding a rotted threshold, and starting the season's exterior paint work. We try to do about 25% each year. Ah yes; summer in Maine.