In an earlier post, I mentioned using computer prints for my carving patterns. In this photo of a partially completed corner, the process is visible. I often change little things in the design at the carving stage; and tell myself to alter the drawings.......but I seldom go back and alter drawings. I have some with added red arrows and marks, but at this stage of the frame I would rather work on it, than the drawing.

On the other side of this corner, I carved through into a natural void in the wood. This is a situation that requires modern methods, as any traditional filler takes too long to dry. Get the can of ordinary, automotive "Bondo" out. Wait, wait... not "Bondo", no, for the purpose of fee enhancement and justification, we will always refer to that one, as "catalyzed polyester resin". CPR can be carved in 5 to 10 minutes, getting harder the longer it sits. In about an hour it achieves oak like hardness. MinWax markets a very expensive version that is "blonde wood" colored; I prefer the red oxide colored version, available at any auto parts store. It is easier to use, I can always find it, and it's economical.

At this stage, the carving is still "rough". Some work with file and sandpaper, then the gesso layers. When all is dry, I'll refine more, in the gesso. There are tools designed to work gesso; I just use files, rifflers, small scrapers and carving tools.


Nothing new ...... category

"Morning Fog"

One of my paintings from around 1986. See my post from 3-18-09. I'm showing this because of this photo by Hiroshi Sugimoto., which is going to be used for a U-2 album cover. Thanks to The Online Photographer.

I was very much under the influence of Luminism, late Luminism. Still am, for that matter.


The Distant Sound of a Small Airplane

"Up in Michigan,
The Distant Sound of a Small Airplane"
Egg Tempera on panel

Another of my paintings, with another asymmetrical frame. The shape of the molding is based on a common style from the 20th. century, sometimes carved/textured, sometimes not. I, of course, have to fool with it. I'm very fond of the later Middle Ages, the frames and paintings, egg temperas, overwrought frames, multiple perspectives, or what I call a "rolling perspective", sort of looking down , and then out to the horizon. David Hockney has done some work on this, though he seems to be chasing the "goose" of the "camera lucida".

Asymmetrical frames, architectonic, framing from the dawn of the frame, where sometimes the "frame" and the painting are one piece of wood.

This painting needs an "Edward Kienholz" addition; a sound track of the distant small plane. Now that greeting cards have sound, this should not be as complicated as an endless loop tape recorder that Kienholz used. Work, work, work.


French mats

One of my watercolors, with a decorated, or French mat. I do mine traditionally, with watercolors and inks; all hand done. I layout the cut mat with faint pencil marks, full for the wash area, and corner L marks for the lines, as an L mark gives stop and start points. I've tried various methods of masking the wash area, and that works for very large mats if one is using an airbrush, but for the most part, doing it by hand is the easiest and quickest. One tip for getting an even tone is to do a first wash of clear water. This is a task that rewards practice, though as the wash area is usually surrounded by ink lines, there is some "wiggle" room.

I use a draftsmans ruling pen to do the ink lines; I've used the Rapidograph type pens, but they are generally more work to keep functioning than the two blade ruling pen; my favorite being the jack knife style with an articulated joint for easy cleaning. I can alter line widths and colors very rapidly with the two bladed ruling pen. The pen should be filled with a brush or eye dropper, checked for drips, and tested. No dipping, it's rude.

The straight edge needs to have a "stepped" back, to keep the edge above the line and away from the ink. Cork, as seen on commercial rulers, or even several layers of masking tape works. This is still free hand work, aided, but practice is needed.

Aesthetics. This is the tough part, but I've seen too many mats that overpower the work they are supposed to enhance. This is the true "ART" of framing; doing your best work in such a way as to not be noticed, while enhancing the art object. Washes must be subtle, washes, you know. The lining needs be subtle, muted and diluted, inks and colors.



Way Off Topic

I'm reading Ronald C. White's single volume bio of A. Lincoln. It is a very good book, that takes advantage of recent scholarship since the last one volume bio by David Donald. I read a lot of civil war history, and a lot about Lincoln. Lincoln was a most extraordinary man, up with Jesus, Mohammed, Genghis Kahn, Buhdda; not only a leader, but an extraordinary humanist. Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Longstreet, Jackson, Lee; such interesting men, flawed as men are, but what a compelling period of history. Longstreet is wrong, I think, about Lee having his "blood up" at Gettysburg. Lee had a plan, and when his "favorite" blew it, Lee never mentioned it. This is one of the things that is intriguing about R.E. Lee; his unfailing loyalty to his subordinate officers. Longstreet/Picket's charge took place at the same time as J.E.B. Stuart and his army, fatigued due to Stuart's ego games, was in the Union rear, where they ran into a little "buzzsaw" named G.A. Custer, who wasn't fatigued from chasing glory. It is very possible that the cavalry fight in the union rear effected the fight in the front; had Stuart been able to break through, Picket's men may have been able to break through at the front. The "lost cause" was probably lost at Antietem, but many think that Gettysburg was the South's "high water mark", where it was still possible to win the war.

Some other thoughts: Contrary to the "Nashville fugitives", and all the post war revisionists, it was about slavery. Read what the participants say at the beginning of the war; it was about slavery. It was about slavery. I will say again, the issue was slavery, from bloody Kansas, to John Brown at Harpers Ferry, states rights be damned, it was about slavery. At this point, I could start ranting.....but maybe I should just shut up, before I start in on Battle Flags, etc.

The picture is from The South Bend City Cemetery, 1832-1899



Happy Easter

For those of the Christian persuasion, and Happy Happy, for those other wise inclined.