I doubt anyone would disagree if I said 2020 was an unusual and challenging year. It’s very easy to be discouraged, I need to discipline myself to create challenges even with the setbacks. Most art shows have gone virtual which means artists don’t have the need for as many frames. Galleries are seeing less traffic which obviously effects their sales as well. The gallery that carries some of my furniture and boxes (Anticus) has seen a drop in their business. The co-op I belong to (Mesa Art Center) has decided to close its doors until September! So what’s a craftsman to do — push through and take on any challenge that comes my way and set goals to hone my skills.
Here’s a wrap up of 2020, first off the frame for Diane’s painting “Going in Circles” is done. Great challenge to learn how to layout and carve the gulliochs. Here’s a link to that process and a couple of pictures of the completed work.
Another interesting project to wind down the year was creating a circular frame for a local artist. I have used solid wood for round tables which involves gluing together angled segments, routing or bandsawing the circle, then refining it. I knew the time required for that was too costly for this frame so decided to see how MDF would work and — it did! Oh boy, the dust with MDF is awful so I did the fabrication outside. A 2’x4′ piece was all that was needed for the project. The outer edge was doubled to get enough space for the 16″ stretched canvas panel. Several coats of primer followed by satin black gave an acceptable finish. Good challenge for sure and here’s the results.
The final frame of the year was another one for Diane, her work Through the Looking Glass inspired me to use the technique of oil gilding directly onto Red Oak for this frame. This is a technique I wrote about for a Picture Framing Magazine in August of 2011. The texture of the paint and feeling of Diane’s work seems to mimic the gold leaf sparkling in the open pores of the Oak. The profile I made for this I’ll call a “faux floater”. After the frame has been gilded with composition gold a slurry of denatured alcohol and whiting is used to rub the finish back — this is somewhat unpredictable. My goal was to create a sense of light to compliment her painting.
One thing I’ve learned about paintings is that we, as the viewer can have our own interpretation. For example, what I see in this painting is a woman seeking refuge in a bombed out church, probably in Europe during WWII. You probably see something totally different but that’s what good art is all about — the viewer fills in the gaps and creates the story.
On to the new year, every day is a new one so keep on challenging yourselves — John