Monday, June 24, 2013

Floater Frames

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It’s been very, very, hot here for a very long time. So I have been playing inside while the poor wild animals have to deal with the incessant sun and temperatures. We do not have air conditioning, having been told when we bought our house that it was not necessary this high up, at altitude 6300 plus. Somebody fibbed. And it wasn’t me.
So what painting has happened here has been in the studio, under cover from the sun and out of the triple digit temps. This has given me time to think about framing  and various types of framing. Normally I buy my plein air frames. But that gets really expensive when working on larger pieces.

I have been developing, with my hubby’s help, a simple floating frame that he can cut and I can finish. With framing prices what they are, I am opting for bought frames for only those pieces that I deem worthy. And since I rarely like anything I produce once the effort is over, I guess he’ll be building me some frames for a while.

I am just finishing a 24”x24” seascape from my studies and photos while I was in Monterey.  I liked the square format, and it promoted a composition that I might not have done in a conventional horizontal format. It’s quite large for me, since I usually work in at 11x14 ; a size for which I find frames easily, and comparatively less expensively.

Here are several shots of the WIP (work in progress).
Initial layout

Block In

Finished "Monterey Morning"

Floater frames are basically an L shaped frame into which one drops the finished artwork. One either glues or screws the artwork to this frame from behind. The type I am developing with hubby’s help has an extra ¼” border on the inside between the outer frame part and the artwork.  This edge makes it easier to center the artwork in the frame. I can also gold leaf it, or paint it black. That wee edge is a real nice touch. And truth be told, he loves having a project to use his new saw on. Plus he is a perfectionist. How lucky can a gal get?

The yellow is the picture on either board with glued square dowels attached or a stretched canvas.
The lower brown section is where one places the screw to attach the art to the frame.
It’s a lot of work ripping the wood to the desired specs, but he does a lovely job. And as long as I don’t ask him too often, the floater frame might just be the ticket. And a seascape was jut the thing to cool off mentally if not physically.

Favorite quote:
Painting is just like making an after-dinner speech. If you want to be remembered, say one thing and stop. To see things simply is the hardest thing in the world.                             (Charles W. Hawthorne)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spring - Revisited Along Truck By-Pass

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A few weeks ago I went painting along truck by-pass. There is a bush along that road that turns pink for about two weeks out of the year. The rest of the year, it is a nondescript, dead army cammo green. I had a good painting morning.
When I got home, I put my painting next to the one I had done of the same bush last year. It’s interesting to see the differences in what is essentially the same composition, same location, same bush and same painter.
And I wonder at the changes. I did not bring the earlier piece along with me, as I did not want to unduly influence this year’s painting.  I thought that I had changed the composition. True, there is a big depression and ditch so one does have to be careful to not become one with the landscape, and the cactus in the area makes that a tumble I would not want to experience. So the area that you can walk about looking for a different vantage point to paint is limited, which might help to understand the similarities.

Spring On Truck By-Pass
Spring 2012

Pink Bush Spring
Spring 2013


There are differences in the two pieces.
  • The first is much more tightly drawn than the other
  • Last year's is more colorful than the other
  • The newer one has freer brushstrokes
  • This year's is more cool in tone than last year's work
I find I like the newer one far better. It seems less self-conscious to me, and more painterly. Which do you think better?
Favorite quote of the day:

Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”
(Helen Keller)


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sketching the Blues Festival

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I have been painting and sketching this past week. The sketching was in the middle of the Blues Festival, here in Silver City. It’s a Memorial Day tradition here with many of the locals avoiding downtown for the duration.
But the city’s merchants love it. The influx of people and the business it brings is enervating and a necessary shot in their fiscal arms. The music was good, as we sat in lawn chairs, watching the parade of exposed, sunburnt freckled skin and smelled the burnt carmel corn, and churros that the food vendors were hawking. It is tradition in this southern NM mountainous part of the state.

In the midst of this hoopla, I decided to try to sketch. Using Kath McCaulay’s system, (she swears you can be invisible while doing this), I did one little sketch of the crowd and the musician who was on stage. She was right. You can be invisible while doing this. So now I plan to try doing this in a restaurant tonight. Nobody bothered me, stopped and intruded or otherwise caused undue attention to be brought to play. Neat.

Blues Festival Sketch
Then this morning, I went out to paint a view I have ridden by every time I have left Silver for Deming. It sits right off the 180 South, a lovely little ranch that seems to sit upon the landscape, alongside the Grant County airport road. At this point the land seems to be stretching out from the Moggollon and Burro Mountains foothills to the flatness that supports Deming. You could see the Floridas Mountains, but only just barely. I have always loved the way the house and barn just seem to flow with the roll of the terrain.
So I stopped and parked and set up my paints and board, nodded to the cows in the field and started to paint. I was doing just great until a snake (a really long, skinny, silver-gray thing) slithered past so very quickly. I didn’t hear any rattles, and would not even have seen him had he remained still. What really unnerved me was the much bigger snake that was nearby that I didn’t see or hear until I was almost done with the painting. No rattles, just lots of attitude. So I finished much more quickly than I wanted to, and really kind of just splashed in the foreground. I left him to his piece of the road and the hunting I was obviously interrupting. So here is the rushed version of the Edwards' place. I painted less than an hour on this one. I just threw things into the car, I wanted to get out of Dodge too.
The Edwards' Place
So I ask you, too many people (complete with kids with filled diapers and chain-smoking fiends) or too many scaled critters? You can come across either hazard when you leave the safety of the studio. I think I’d rather the scaly guys. They pretty much avoid you if they can. Can’t say the same for the two legged critters.

Daughter says to get a snake bite kit for the car. Not a bad idea.