Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shell Game: Another "Finished" Project

When working on a restoration project, part of the decision-making is "how far to go" and what to replace. Will you return to pristine condition, "looks good", or just keep it from falling apart further?

With this mirror (see earlier post),  the most glaring defects where the missing shell ornaments, and the unappealing, and badly deteriorated scenic panel. Aside from these issues, it was mostly intact and original.

I cast replicas of the shells, gilded them and then put them in their corners. These were originally placed in beds of compo material, and they probably detached as the material dried over the years. Mine were bedded with an epoxy putty.

Since the reverse painting was not that attractive, I did not want to make a replica. I put in a plain mirror plate, and since the mirror frame is so ornate, I find this a more elegant, restrained solution. At some point, if I find a design I like, I may replace with a reverse painting.

There are still numerous small losses and chipping, particularly around the edges. These have been tinted to make them less obtrusive. If a more pristine look is desired, they can be repaired as well, but the age of this mirror, combined with it's edge construction makes it naturally prone to this type of damage and decay.

Compo bedding that held (or didn't hold) the original shell.

Replacements,and new bedding material in corner.

New shells installed

Replacement shell toned to match.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer at Old Sturbridge Village

Since I had an errand to run in the area, we stopped in to Old Sturbridge Village for a visit. This weekend they had a variety of textile-related activities being demonstrated.

Bedding being aired on the fence at the Small House

Dying wool with natural materials.

The Freeman Farmhouse and barns

Baking time at the farm kitchen; no fly control here.

Dairy room at the farm.

Shoemaker at work.

Towne House barns.

Towne House with all blinds closed.

Friday, August 15, 2014


While at the Maine Antiques Festival in Union Maine last week, an impending rainstorm made for some dramatic skies. (The ones in the first picture are real, even though they look like something from Pixar!)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Painting on Southport Island

Robert Wilson came by for the second time this summer, and on the recommendation of another artist suggested we visit Southport Island on the Boothbay peninsula.

It was another picture perfect day, and surprisingly, there was a parking spot and few people about on the dock. This location was the next best thing to going out on a boat (and probably a lot steadier).

We had a good view of the Cuckolds lighthouse, softened just a bit with the haze. So much to paint we could have spent even more time. I was able to do three quick watercolor paintings.

Cuckolds Light watercolor by Joseph Rice

Moored Dinghys watercolor by Joseph Rice

Southport Shore watercolor by Joseph Rice