Our lease is almost up so we’re preparing to return to our home in Las Vegas. It’s been quite an adventure and great way to celebrate our 20th. Anniversary! Renting a trailer to haul everything back to Las Vegas and then do it again in less then two months seemed silly. It was cheaper to rent a storage space then to rent another U-Haul trailer. This picture shows my workplace of the last 6 months disassembled and ready to go. Diane is doing the same with her studio and the first load went into storage this morning. The plan is to have it all there by Sunday, sleep on the floor here, and head for home on the 4th. of July. Since that’s a holiday we’re hoping that traffic will be light.
I did manage to finish the last two frames so I’ll share those on this, the final Scottsdale Blog. The one inspired by that old carving book turned out rather nicely, if I do say so myself! I blogged about it HERE. Although I said it was the final frame it turned out that I had time to do one more! Just as I completed the gilding and was preparing to do the toning the weather here turned up the heat, we’re talking 112-119 degrees! I honestly don’t mind the heat but using the casein to tone was out of the question, even indoors. Being water based it tends to dry quickly and the effect is one that is streaky. Since I wanted to experiment with toning with oil based paints (from Diane) thinned with Gamsol this seemed like the perfect opportunity. It dries much slower which is a plus and a negative. It means I need to wait longer before the frame is completely done. It may be hard to tell from these pictures but this was the process:
By experimenting with cheesecloth to remove it a slight textured surface was left on the panel. After drying for 2 days the last step was waxing with Liberon and a cotton ball. In addition to that, rottenstone was used to replicate dust in the carved areas. Even at this stage, areas could be brought back almost to the original gilded finish. Here is what it looks like now that it’s done:
The size of this one is 12″x 12″ and I personally like how it came out. There’s enough flow to the design without being busy. As much as I enjoy creating frames for Diane, marketing and selling them to other artists is going to be a priority once we get settled in the new house in Phoenix. Speaking of that, there’s a phrase I’m becoming all to familiar with in the real estate world: due diligence meaning check it out carefully or you might get burned! Every step of this process has a due date, then a response date, and then something else comes up. It really is out of your hands so thankfully we have faith in both of our agents; selling in Las Vegas and buying here in Phoenix.
The other frame completed is what I referred to as the 9/10 frame because of the size gouge needed to cut the design. You can refresh your memory on it HERE if you’d like. Both of these frames were gilded with the same gold leaf but this one had a red undercoat vs. the yellow on the other one. Also, maybe due to the heat there was more faulting of the leaf and it didn’t seem to grab onto the size as well. This resulted in a more “rustic look” for this frame. The oil pigments used on this were in the olive green family, thankfully Diane supervised the mixing of it. At first it was way to green and I would have never thought that a purple was needed to tone it down. She gave me a lesson on color wheel theory which hopefully I’ll remember in the future. Speaking of the future, another thing to explore once we’re settled is water gilding with 22kt. gold leaf. Having done some in the past I’m familiar with the process but aware of the added expense but mostly the extra time needed to successfully accomplish that. No comparison to precious gold gilding!
This frame used the same molding (Foster Planing Mill #95) and measures 11″ x 14″. Both are available for sale but will be left in our storage place here. Plan to bring them there this Saturday so if you’re interested in either of them let me know before then. So for now, it’s back to Las Vegas to pack, have a garage sale, and hopefully do something in my shop. Plan to bring back my portable bench and dovetail tools — it’s been too long since I’ve done that and I’m ready to leave the carving chisels here in storage.
You’ve become quite the framemaker John. Each of them are improvements over the previous and I think they’ve all turned out very well. I hope there are many commissions in your future (unless Diane wants to keep them as her exclusives). Safe travels!
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Thanks Bob, for me it’s hard to hit that “aged patina” stage. You know how it is as a furniture maker I’m after perfection (unattainable!) in the construction and finish but frames are supposed to have patina and look like they’ve been around for a long time!
I was wondering what size you generally make your frames John? Is there a standard size.
I make them to the standard sizes of pre-stretched canvases that are readily available. Not all artists have a personal woodworker to make panels or canvases any size they want like Diane does!