Faux Sgraffito Frame Complete

I can only give you a partial view of this frame for now, it’s been accepted into the Portrait Artists of Arizona show which opens this Friday evening, May 5, 2017.  The show is held at the University Club located on Monte Vista Street in Phoenix and opens at 5:30.  Looking forward to seeing the work all of the members have had juried into this show, there’s a lot of talent in this group.

Laying the Leaf

In the last post about the creation of this frame I mentioned that the profile would be a challenge and it was!  Due to the 90° corner where the panel meets the outer band.  I anticipated that the gold leaf would tend to fault there.  By tilting the frame on a box it was possible to hold the leaf up at an angle allowing me to slowly press it into the corner.  By preventing the leaf from contacting any other portion of the sized frame and using a burnished piece of cardboard it was possible to get the leaf into the corner.  Once it was as close to the corner as possible it was brought up straight onto the banding.  The sight edge was done after the panel and banding areas were leafed.  My usual process is to wait 24 hours to allow the size to dry completely.  After that the brightness of the gold leaf is slightly burnished with 4/0, oil free steel wool.  Two coats of shellac are then applied to seal the leaf and protect it from tarnishing.

The final step in the frame process is to tone the frame and create that patina suggesting that it’s been around for a long time.  Lately I’ve been using oil paints thinned with odorless turpentine.  It seems to flow nicer than casein paints which dry quickly and tend to leave a streaked finish.  In this case, a light grey was used which also replicates an age long build up of dust.  Another nice thing about using oil paints is that Diane can give me some of the colors she used in the painting so that it really complements it.  After allowing the oil toning to dry thoroughly it is lightly waxed.  Here’s the change from bright gold to toned down frame:

I must admit that the toning process is difficult for me, seems like if you go through all of the effort creating a new surface it’s almost a shame to distress it!  I feel the same about distressing furniture to make it look as if it’s gone through the ravages of time but I know what’s required for this type of work.  If Diane’s success in the galleries is any indication, I must be on the right track with these frames.

About woodworksbyjohn

I'm a retired woodshop teacher. I build one of a kind furniture pieces and custom picture frames. You can see some of my currently available work, boxes, carvings through my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodworksbyJohn?ref=si_shop Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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