Monday, November 26, 2012

Frame Adventures Part 2

Lots of progress made. After a disaster with one frame, it was remade and is now ready. Here's a snapshot of frames done:

A charred frame made by setting fire to the wood. This looked and smelled impressive but then end result is such a beautiful and even silvery graphite black that it hardly looked burned at all!

A sleek black frame for Monument To Love, a ribbed textured gold frame for the Grayson Perry painting, a distressed rotten wood effect frame for A Sad Memory, a box for Monkey At Sunset (that one will extend the edges in each direction like a noughts-and-crosses board).

Then the three sculptural frames...

1. "Narcissist" frame. Wood ready with arch cut. An semi-circular stained glass window will fit in the arch. I'll have to work out how to do it but I will use glass paints on a semi-circle of glass. I'll sculpt some daffodils for this too.

2. The "Octopus" frame. Wood frame ready, with arch. This was coated in diluted P.V.A., ready for plastering, then recesses filled with sculptamold (see later). A crimson velour curtain for this has been purchased and a new painting panel cut for the arch.

3. The Bully frame. Aha! Here is the main subject of this blog...

The wooden pieces were cut and glued on, then the edges were drilled and screwed on and the wooden bits also screwed. Structural strength is important when dealing with heavy plaster. At the very least, the wood parts of the frame should survive being hung on a wall.

Here it is at that stage, with a tiny bit of white stuff on top...

After that the plastering. The plan was to pour plaster on and model in when wet. I've done this before, but the ridges on the frame, the sharp edges, tend to look sharp and stick out. Lots of plaster and lots of applications are needed and it takes time and is very messy. So my plan was to fill in the big bits first. I had two options; sculptamold which is a papier mache type material or acrylic molding paste. I chose sculptamold and slapped some on.

It's very like cottage cheese but easy to work with, sticky but not excessively so on your hands and tools, and you can mix and slap it on. The texture is lumpy like hard porridge oats, but for a rock effect that's good. I liked it so much that I decided to continue and built up all of the frame in it.

It has the advantage of being less heavy than plaster too.

Once dry I'll see how it sands. I'd like to make the rocks a tad more angular.

With luck I can finish all of the frames in a few days. It's a big task though. I'm promoting Art Up Close by painting on Nantwich square all day on Friday and I'll have an exhibition in Adam Capper's Studio there on Saturday. A new exciting café called Café 159 opens on that day too and it will have some of my paintings on show. On Thursday I'm taking down my Shrewsbury exhibition which has sold enough to be profitable which is rare and beautiful.

I've been listening to Brahms' symphonies all week and conclude that only the first is great because it's about the insecurity of trying to better Beethoven, as well as being a deliberate homage. The other symphonies sound like Beethoven and are musical, often having quite beautiful melodies, but have little meaning or feeling and I get the impression that he aimed for tunes first rather than trying to express feelings first, and ran to structure to avoid the innovation which he lacked the imagination and brilliance to achieve. I ache to begin writing The Death Symphony.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Framing Frenzy

I'm working on 6-8 frames at the moment, 3 of which are complex sculptures like the God Being Killed frame. I thought I'd go through the process.

The first is for a painting called The Bully that features an exploding volcano. The frame was incorporated into the painting design and would look like rocks being blasted away by the volcano.

The frame will begin with a wooden base, L shaped bits cut and glued. That will hold the picture. Then I designed the rock shapes on paper, my first frame featuring a drawn plan...

I traced those shapes and marked them on 3mm MDF, then used a jigsaw to cut them out. Then I glued 21mm square lengths of wood to the edge of the frame, that will make it strong enough to hold the plaster I'll be coating it with.

Here is the pine frame so far, with the cutouts lying on top...

You can see how the painting would fit inside, slotted in from below. Those cutouts will be stuck underneath/to the back. I left some space at the sides in the middle so that I can attach mirror plates for hanging.

The design also has parts that lean into the picture, showing through the cracks painted elements. The painting is complete, so I put that in the frame and made sure the design fitted with the painted parts. It didn't quite, so I changed and adjusted and when happy cut out those inner pieces too. These will be held from above by second flat parts, like a sandwich. Here is one inner corner glueing.

That will tuck into the inside of the frame.

The next step is to glue the lot together then screw and staple it to make it really strong for the step after that, application of plaster...

Of the other frames, one will include a curtain and a second painting incorporated into the frame. One will include a stained glass window. One will be burned to cinders, one distressed like old oak or ash bark and one stained I think... I did start with a porcelain effect with that but it failed, then considered Hessian then pink puffed silk! But after that I might just stain it turquoise. The frame should complement the artwork and show it in its best light, and there are engineering elements to consider too, but it can easily be more than mere decoration and become part of the artwork itself.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giant Update

Sorry I've not blogged for a while! More of my online time is spent on Facebook these days.

Quick good news update! Ten points:

1. There's a new art cafe opening soon called No. 159 which will show local arty things and will balance upon its shoulder the hope of the town. Delighted to have it here and it looks like my work will be on show when it opens which is a nice bonus.

2. My Tiger Moving Nowhere At All painting has won the £250 Barracks Trust Prize at the Three Counties Open. This is my first proper prize win, which made me very happy. I say proper because I did win the Migraine Action Art competition when I first started painting, but there were very few entries for that.

3. Art Up Close is holding a small three day event at the end of the month. Artists will be demonstrating and selling in Nantwich Town Centre on the 29th and 30th with an exhibition on the 1st. I'll be in town on the 30th with my Paranoid Schizophrenia of Richard Dadd cabinet.

4. My first limited edition giclee print has been printed too, of that very Dadd painting above. A second print will be displayed for the first time in the Barker Street Studio, Nantwich on the 1st Dec.

5. My novel, The Many Beautiful Worlds of Death (henceforth TMBWoD) is complete but I want to extend parts. Must do that in December, a good month for finishing things, yes?

6. I've spent the last couple of weeks finishing the last of the year's paintings. A few smaller works. On reflection, my policy of a few "big" intensive, detailed works has been more successful than a large number of good/average ones. I've sold a few watercolours and prints this year but only one original oil. This is better than last year however and the quality of my work is better than ever and seems to be increasing. Must avoid being complacent however and push to greater heights!

7. The major project of the moment is framing, all new and highly decorated woodwork. If you have a bad picture, make the frame good and the result is likeable. If you have a good picture and a good frame the result is even better, and make both great and the result is spectacular. In other words, there's no reason to ever settle for a mediocre frame.

8. Three new work beckon for early 2013: For the Jobling Gowler competition with the theme of Labyrinth (I expect lots of mazes which is why I won't paint one). For the Derbyshire open in Buxton which I've tried a few times but never had a work that was frankly good enough. And perhaps for the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait contest.

9. I've listening to Brahms and I like it and am humming at the moment the first movement of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto. I'm going to redo the first track of The Love Symphony in December, making the current issue a limited edition. The Death Symphony is my next music project, a sequel of sorts.

10. I've updated the Gallery section of my website. It seems that I spend hours updating one website or another! Here's a white rabbit from the new paintings. None of the paintings mentioned in "6." are there yet...

That's it for now. Tick tick!

No, wait.

Here is 11...

My Soundcloud Page has some new "nocturnes". I'll add more in a bit. I want a new Yamaha CLP480 digital piano so that these sound better! In the mean time I hope you like the Staircase Nocturne on my current synthesizer.