Monday, July 14, 2014

Brand New Antique Frames

Collectors of antique art can become frustrated trying to find an antique frame that is appropriate to the art, not to mention being the correct size. While antique frames are still often cut down, you can't cut a frame "bigger". Or you may find the perfect frame, but, alas, you have a pair of paintings.

For this grain painted frame, the client had an antique frame that had the graining pattern and color they wanted. While it can be time consuming to match an existing item, one benefit is that there is less debate and indecision about color, etc.

In order to give the frame  more "presence"  the width and depth were built up with additional pieces of wood.

Examining the lightest areas on the antique let me match the base color of the old frame.  The grain painting will be done over this base color.

After making some sample sticks, I began the paint process, manipulating the paint with various brushes and tools to achieve a good match. Since the new frame was wider and larger, I felt the pattern had to be just a bit bolder than on the smaller original.

When the grain painting was dry, I began the finish coats, tinting them as needed to match the color more closely. Some of my finishes take a few days to build up, compared to the originals which likely had either no finish coat, or a quick varnishing.

By slowly building, you can continually adjust color, as well as creating the impression of a well-aged item.

A good match between the new (outer frame) and the old.

The frame was given a final waxing, packed and shipped. Then begins my anxiety period - "Will it fit?", "Will it look good?". Relief comes with the message that all is well, and both customer and frame maker are happy with the final result.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Painting in Maine

Quintessential Maine view - cove in South Bristol

With my return to painting, it took a surprisingly long time for it to sink in that I spend a great deal of the summer in an area with great painting subjects (as evidenced by the fact that along the coast, artists seem to outnumber seagulls).

In early July, a compatriot from the Artists Guild of Shrewsbury, Robert Wilson, joined me in Maine for a few days of painting. (watercolor, not my usual scraping and painting the side of the house).

We spent one day poking about the peninsula, and had a morning painting session at this little cove in South Bristol. With few people around, we could stake out spots on the docks. Bob enjoyed the view of the shack with its stacks of lobster traps (even though they are no longer the picturesque wooden ones of bygone days).

My watercolor quick sketches served as a warm-up for the remainder of the painting day.

I saved Pemaquid Point as a surprise for Bob, since I knew it would be the perfect spot. Weather made for postcard views, and gave both of us the chance to try painting moving water and surf.

The picture seen on almost every Maine calendar and restaurant placemat.

Painting down on the rocks was great fun, even when the incoming tide started giving new meaning to the term "watercolor". The sky was cloudless, and I received another lesson about the hazard of not using sunscreen. But I did wind up with some good watercolors that will serve as starting points for some more finished paintings.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Catching up on Framing

Like the old saying: "The cobbler's children have no shoes" it seems I take a while to get around to my own framing projects. This week I finished up three. My watercolor of the back side of the Artemas Ward Homestead in Shrewsbury is in one of my painted frames. I think I'll start using more of these for some of my watercolors.

This drawing of a dog done by one of our Art Guild members, Rose Wang,  reminded me of our long-gone (but not forgotten) Rufus. This is in one of my gold leaf frames.

This is a Christmas card I painted showing the current pack. It is in an antique frame.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Catching up (and trying to keep ahead)

Oh dear, it's been a while. My purpose for even having this blog was to reassure myself that I was accomplishing things - letting the photos and postings be the proof. Fear not, I was busy, in fact, things needing real work took precedence over this blog. So, let July be the month of catch up!

This weed, now 7' tall, is the plant growing the best for me.

Spring in New England means lots of garden work. In our suburban area, we are battling wilderness which tries very hard to take back what is clear and cultivated (and sometimes the wilderness wins).

My garden nemesis is the poison ivy. I spray to kill it, but every so often decide on manual means, and with the aid of hook tool and rubber gloves, try to pull out as much as I can. Yes, I wind up with the awful rash and itching, but figure that since I'll probably get it anyway, take advantage of the encounter and try to remove as much as possible.

This large branch feel from my neighbor's ancient chestnut, and now serves as "found sculpture"

Forsythia in bloom - careful pruning increases the blooms each year.

And after its haircut