Saturday, 26 April 2014

Framing a Painting

A quick post about my framing...

I'm often asked about my frames.  Do I frame the paintings myself?  Do I choose the frames?  Or are they framed by the gallery?

The answer is that all my frames are bespoke hand-made frames, made to my specifications, and the finish of each is carefully chosen to suit each individual painting.  They are made for me at Art Hire in Glasgow.

I use the same moulding for my oils, so that clients can have the confidence that paintings will not only match others of mine that they may already have in their collection, but that they are getting the highest quality of presentation and future conservation.  

Here's an example.

This painting is Montbretia by Stormy Sea (Oil, 10 x 10).  

The moulding is a  3” wide, mini Whistler style frame. It is chosen to give enough of a statement around the painting in order to present the piece to its best advantage, but not to be intrusive.  I am also mindful that frames have to suit a variety of homes.

The wooden moulding is cut and pinned, and then has 13 layers of gesso built up and sanded back on top of it, which covers the mitre joints and gives a slightly rounded look to the corners, as well as providing a suitable surface to receive the finish.  

It is then water gilded in (in this case) 13.5ct white gold leaf. I chose the silvery tone because it works well to make the cool blues of the sea and the warmth of the flowers really glow.

The smooth polished white gold leaf has then been cut back to give the frame a more distressed feel that works well with the lively, thick, impasto brushwork, while still retaining the attractive opulence that only a hand gilded frame can provide.  The gilding is finished off by sealing with a layer of shellac.  

To keep the impasto of the painting from touching the glazing, there is a slip.  This is also prepared by using layers of gesso built up and sanded down on top of the cut and pinned lengths of moulding.   

The artwork is then pinned into place, and a backing board applied, so that the painting is preserved within a sealed unit, free from any damaging dust or dirt, and protected by the glass from damaging UV light.  Glazing and backing board also protects against knocks and damage to the canvas.

The quality frames that I use certainly don't come cheap, as they use expensive materials and are very time-consuming in terms of labour. However, good frames are essential to help present and preserve a painting. 

20 / 21 International Art Fair

It seems as if suddenly, summer is nearly here, and so is the annual 20/21 International Art Fair.

It's a really exciting fair with lots of really big names - Joan Miro, Andy Warhol, Grayson Perry  Terry Frost and Henry Moore to name but a few.  I'll be exhibiting along with the Scottish Colourists and Joan Eardley on the Duncan R Miller Fine Arts stand.   

The fair runs from 15 - 18 May, and you can get more information HERE.

More exciting than that, the venue of the Royal College of Art is right beside the Royal Albert Hall, no less. 

Last year, I was able to combine visiting the fair with a concert by Steve Hackett on the same trip. This year, it just so happens that Rick Wakeman and Yes are playing the Royal Albert Hall in May (but not on the same date, fact fans).  However both concerts are inconveniently the week before the art fair.  How could they be so inconsiderate??

I've never yet made it to a concert at the RAH - when Yes played there in 2000, I did have tickets (for both nights), but the small matter of giving birth scuppered that.  However, not only have I made repeated reference to that fact over the last 14 years, but it has given me carte blanche to go to any and all Yes concerts that I can since then, provided there is breath in my body and funds in my bank.

On this leg of their constant whirl around the planet, the band will perform three of their most popular albums in their entirety, The Yes Album, Close to the Edge, and Going for the One. And I'll be there. I've already seen the New York and Bethlehem 3 Album shows last year in the US, so roll on the madness of the 2014 tour.  

Planes, trains, automobiles, rock 'n' roll and tube strikes.

Deep breath....

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Her Majesty Arrives...


Here she is, my lone Queen of the Night tulip, all the way from Amsterdam.

As you may (or may not) know, I have, over the years, accumulated heaps of tulip bulbs, all bought from the flower market in Amsterdam, as models for my paintings.  Usually, there is a good supply of Queen of the Night in there.  Only one has ever come up.

In 2012 she popped up on 2 May.  Last year she dallied in the earth until 29 May.  This year, she's bright and early, putting in an appearance whilst it's still only April.