From Gilt to Black; Frame Do-over

Song of the Sparrow
Diane Eugster

Diane has a life philosophy that I really like. Basically when we look back on things or situations we may find that there could have been a better choice or path than what was done then.   She simply resolves it with: ” we did the best we could with what we knew at the time”!  I like it, no sense complaining about whatever it was that happened just move on and learn from it.  That being said, this frame that was re-done was okay for her original painting for it but really didn’t go with the palette of this new one.  The title of this painting is “Song of the Sparrow” and you can see the palette is rather dark; a gold gilded frame just wasn’t appropriate.

Corner Detail with Song of the Sparrow

The carving on the frame though fit the foliage behind the models head, I blogged about the creation and carving process on this frame in detail here, they are olive leaves and olives.  If you follow the link to see the original painting and frame and then compare that to this detail of the do-over frame and new painting I think you’ll agree with the changes.  I feel that the purpose of a frame is to isolate the painting and put it into its own world.  Then it should complement the palette and brush strokes of the artist.  Notice the undertones of red, a gilded frame didn’t work with that at all!

The process was pretty straight forward, after using steel wool (4/0) to remove wax and clean the frame, a coat of red burnisher/sealer is brushed on.  Once dry that was burnished to prepare it for the Japan Black.  After brushing that on some is wiped back to reveal the clay underneath.  Once I’m satisfied with the over-all look that finish cures completely and is waxed once again to achieve the amount of sheen desired.  Japan Black is a very flat finish which we felt was needed for this painting.

Speaking of frame finishing — I’m super excited about taking a 3 day, intensive water gilding workshop from Charles Douglas next month in Seattle.  I’ve done water gilding many years ago but haven’t  offered it to my clients as of yet.  The process is quite involved and I want to feel more proficient in it first.  Charles Douglas teaches classes all over and is a well respected and known gilder.  The workshop will only have 4 students so I’m looking forward to submerging myself into it and getting all I can from the experience.  It’s an expensive process but many galleries will not accept frames from artists that have composition gold gilding on them.  The market for this type of work is limited but Diane will benefit and for me, it’s just one more challenge to add to my “bag of tricks”!

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: Contact me about your project -- always up for the challenge of unique work.
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