A visitor looks at a self-portrait by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo during the first day of an exhibition of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera from the Gelman Collection at Pera Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, 22 December 2010. The exhibition will be open until 20 March 2011. EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU.

The above is from Artdaily.org, here, Frida Kahlo.

I like that a lot of the images Art Daily uses  show the actual exhibition, with some context.

The frame is very nice, as well. 


Civil War

Above, the monument to the Confederate soldiers who died at the Civil War prisoner of war camp at Chicago, Camp Douglas. It stands atop a slight "hill", known as the Confederate Mound, where between 4454, the official number, and possibly as many as 6000 Confederate Prisoners of War are buried in concentric circles. This was a first visit for me, and the rain, and deep slush of the mound, did not invite prolonged picture making, and I also wanted to see this:

Statue of Lincoln in the Gettysburg pose; a copy of a sculpture in Illinois. The stripes are from the rain, which at this point, was plentiful.  Both the statue and the Confederate Monument are in Oak Woods Cemetery, South side of Chicago. 

Later, better images, though the monument, as an overall, with the fog and rain, seems appropriate for a cemetery visit.



A small rant on looking, and context, all probably said before, but needing said again.

It's nice to see people in an actual museum, looking at art in frames, hanging on a wall, just like it was meant to be. Too many curators, art students, and even dealers, look at art on computer monitors, in books, or sometimes, still, transparencies, where the art is torn from it's frame and any context, and the object quality of it is completely lost. No texture; just flat and flat. This out of context viewing leads to artists who labor long periods on the painting, and then finish it by "framing" with some ill-fitting, shoddily finished, wood strips, haphazardly nailed to the stretcher bars. A very obvious comment on the importance the artist attaches to his or her work.

I think a disservice to art is done by art professionals who think naught of tearing the art asunder from its context, and base all sorts of curatorial decisions, on the sundered remains. Is the frame, and some context, necessary? Obviously, I believe so, though, being an artist who works in the medium of the picture frame, it would seem I'm biased. More later, and a "snarky" comment; if you don't want to frame your art, become a sculptor.


Ongoing Snow Monster

The above, taken at 10:00 AM, day four of the Snow Monster; and lo, is that a pale hint of blue sky, and some actual sunlight? The Snow Monster has a few hours to run; wind is still out of the NW from the lake. In the summer, those same winds out of the NW, bring absolutely delightful weather, so in theory, it balances. Day four, another 4-5 inches, though it has snowed every day in December.

It is December 7th. by the way, Pearl Harbor day, 69 years ago.




More Snow Monster. 

Looking from the studio door, through our little forest to the front street.


Lake Effect Snow Monster

It's here, the dreaded "Lake Effect Snow Monster".

From the back window of my studio, and that is not fog, but snow. A few minutes before I took this, it was sunny.

Here, a screen grab showing the bands that are common with lake effect snow. Cold air out of the Northwest,  crosses the relatively warm lake waters, picks up moisture, and dumps it as snow. The snow squall bands can and often do, produce intense snow falls where visibility is just a few feet. This makes driving very dangerous, especially when it is cold enough for roads to ice over. Last winter, driving into Chicago on the Toll Road, that green line just above the red dot that is South Bend, after a Snow Monster event, I counted 42 vehicles either still in the ditches or indications that one had been pulled out. I could only see 2/3rds of the ditches. This was an approximately 40 mile stretch of road; skid offs were clumped into groups, probably due to the banding of snow squalls.

Slip sliding, and shoveling are Olympic events here in Northern Indiana. It is not uncommon to spend a sunny day in Chicago, then drive into a whiteout on the way home as I enter the line of NW wind off of the lake. The seven day forecast shows snow, unending snow, every day, snow ...


Off Topic

We had a very pleasant autumn, then the month turned to December, and it started snowing ... not a lot, but a general, consistent snow, that the weather reports say is going to turn into the dreaded "lake effect" snow later today, the 4th. of December. When it ends on Tuesday, the 7th., some spots will likely have 20 inches of the monstrous stuff. Pfui!

Here, the Bears ...

Poor Bears.



Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I, too, have much to be thankful for, and as an addenda to the post below; that is one of the ways that I give "Thanks"; a small offering of my knowledge, in the spirit in which much knowledge was given, freely, to me. Not everything should be monetized, though, that is not a bad thing, monetization. These notes on technique, and process were meant to be a place for me to pass on some of my knowledge.

That is all. Thank you!



From the mail

Some questions about the frame above, from Mr. Arthur Rooks, of Zurich. Mr. Rooks is a very "eclectic" dealer, as having explored his site, Quintessentia, he collects and markets a vast array of interesting and aesthetically pleasing objects.

The questions: "I am a really big fan of your blog. I am not sure why but I have always liked frames. I am a dealer of 20th century furniture but I always
find myself looking for frames. Of course, the trick is then to find a work of art to fit them. Hence, I end up with stacks of frames.

I have a question regarding a frame that I have purchased at a flea market. It is completely carved with shells and
reeding (I hope this is the right term). However, unlike other European frames that I have found, this has gilding directly on the wood and does
not have a layer of gesso underneath. Do you have any idea of the time period of the frame? I think it is late 19th century.

Do you think it is American or English, perhaps.
I forgot to mention that I live in Zurich Switzerland. I have attached photos of the frame. It is quite large at 39.5 x 43.75 inches."

My response: "Mr. Rooks,

Thanks for liking the blog!

There was a period, early 20th. c. when grainy woods like oak, were sealed and leafed directly, usually based on Whistler style frames, though sometimes carved, and gilt with out gesso, though this frame does not look like that was the aesthetic intended.

The frame has a certain, "naive, primitive" quality to it. The finish appears to be bronze powder pigment, in a binder, usually  lacquer. The "shells" don't line up on two of the corners, indicating the moldings were carved as stick moldings; not a closed corner frame.

It does appear to be either late 19th. or early 20th. c. At some period, the rabbett was enlarged.

The section that appears to be water damaged, also seems to show some white material, possibly a thin layer of gesso? The oxidation of the bronze powder, turning it green; another indication of paint.

That is about all I can tell from the photos, though having googled you, it seems to be in keeping with some of the other items you carry; this: Expressionist wood sculpture."

Some further responses:

The question of being English or American, is not really answerable, though in America, we tended to import frames, not export them. The wood could be American, as the frame is from the period when the great Northern forests were being mowed, and a lot of the wood was exported.

I, too, have a vast collection of "junk" frames that have negative value, but I store them, as I have not the heart to discard them, and short of painting a painting for them specifically, it is next to impossible to connect art and frame, without modifying one or the other.

The term "reeding" is usually used  in the sense of parallel "rods", though that can also be "beading", and "beading" may also refer to chains of balls, or small lozenges.



An image from early November, a few years back. Cool, with possible snow this morning, but it has been a very nice fall. That's all.

At Idiotic Hat, an interesting post on thought and memory, specifically memorization.


Veterans Day, Today

 The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Indianapolis, IN.

Once called Armistice Day, for when The Great War ended, The War to End War. Then, there was another, though some think it was just a continuation.

Civil War Monument, Battell Park, Mishawaka, IN.


Sunday Rant

A some what bedraggled Ken, getting ready to be eBayed by my wife, from her childhood collection.

Just a thought on a Sunday, as I'm listening to an album mentioned on TOP, see the links. I'm very responsive to jazz, like it a lot, but for some reason, I do not seek it out in the way I do classical. I'll have to think about that for a while ... in the mean time, "Ben and Sweets" is a delightful album.

My thought had to do with framing, and specifically the framing of mirrors, and affirmation and power. Most of us look in mirrors a lot ... yet the mirrors are nothing special ... don't you think that the affirmation and power of a really special mirror, one that frames YOU as special, important, Louis XV, sort of person would be important? New marketing program yowzahhh!!!!!

 Stuff I'm working on. The frame would be good for an affirmation of self though, don't you think? Designed as a vertical, kudos, a big bag of them, to any one who notices. Verticallity.

I'm sorry, it's a little tricky, as the image isn't that clear, but the bottom inner "bead", center, is not carved, which adds to the vertical feel.


Bernat Martorell

St. George and the Dragon
Bernat Martorell
The Art Institute of Chicago

One of my favorite paintings. Below, detail showing the sculpted, 3D elements, gilt of course. This painting is a wonderful example of a great 15th. century painter, and his studio, quietly showing all of their repertoire. The carved wooden panel, gilt, and the painting itself, with it's wonderful, "rolling" perspective. Every time I'm in The Art Institute of Chicago, I visit this painting; it is an old friend.

Another detail; note the fly on the bone, and the splatter technique for the dirt and sand.


Works Progress Administration

Another painting in process, top, and a better image of the one in the previous post. The one on top is essentially done, only needing some air brush glazing with egg yolk and water to even the sheen. The one on the bottom needs a little tonal "fussing", but is also, essentially done ... but, they both need the frosting ... the FRAME. I feel such a dinosour, frames, how quaint.

The "dune" painting started from a photo, but has wandered off in directions of it's own. It is somewhat large for me, 12 x 24. The "sunset" is based on an existing watercolor, but it has also wandered off, seeking it's own path I guess. It is dimensionally, 6 x 12. All dimensions are in inches, and height precedes width; customary museum practice. Some picture framers and some wood butchers reverse that ... but they are just wrong. I asked my wife, a former museum registrar, whether the American Association of Museums had set the standard; she laughed, and said no, it came from the "book". Dorothy H. Dudley and others, Museum Registration Methods.

Here, from the Museum of Modern Art, a brief bio of Ms. Dudley.

So, just for the record, height precedes width  ....  OK?

Get it right ... and the bluebird of happiness will do ...   whatever ...  OK?


Work in Progress

One of several egg tempera paintings I'm working on at the moment. Untitled, as of yet, 6"  x  12", on a panel.Traditional gesso.And the photo was done quickly, and is ever so slightly off. Once it has a frame, I will spend the time to photograph it properly.

Loosely based on a watercolor of mine. One of the pleasures of egg tempera for me is the subtle changes that can be rendered by glazing; and the glazing can be done in cross-hatching, scumbling in a color, or even air brush. Sometimes the paint is just "pushed" around. Unlike oils, there is no tendency to produce mud by repeated working of a passage. 

The painting is nicer in person than on the interwebs ...

Addendum to a previous post. Here

I'm pretty sure the last three words on the top line are: "laid to rest". In the bottom line, the last words are? "all their country? wishes blest. I've jacked up the contrast and sharpness for this file. I've thought of doing a rubbing, but I suspect that doing a photo as I did, with a corded flash at a right angle to the stone is just as good. Help would be appreciated; I have several raw files; if there is anybody who reads my meanderings and is interested in this sort of thing.  It's just an itch I feel like scratching. This small cemetery went through a period of neglect, but seems to be being cared for now, and my interest in that bloody war continues unabated.


Modernist frame

Peter Blume, "The Buoy", Art Institute of Chicago

This is an example of the delightful polychrome finishes from the "Modernist" period of the 1940s-50s. They are characterized by broad, but simple moldings, and in lieu of ornaments, textured gesso, followed by washes of polychrome that are rubbed, scrubbed, and abused to achieve some beautiful effects. The textures range from the combing, seen above, splattering, scumbling, and sort of slathering with a palette knife, like impasto knife painting.

The above frame is a touch "loud" for my taste, though I think it works. I'm from that ancient school of framers who wants the frame to enhance rather than announce it's presence. Not that I'm always innocent. Here, though it hides it's freak flag well.



The following is a copy of a post on the Picture Framers Grumble, regarding pinholes in gesso:

A Peter Blume painting at the Art Institute of Chicago, "The Buoy". Lovely frame.

"Pin Holes, ehh.

Baer, urinating in the gesso jar again? Humph!

Actually, large mammal urine contains urea, which is the compound used by TiteBond to make "liquid hide glue". It suppresses the gel rate. Hide glue and RSG are the same thing, just different glue strengths.

John, your recipe might be on the strong side. I use a ratio of 2 grams glue, dry, to 1 liquid oz. of water. For a 20 oz. jar of gesso, I add a tablespoon of uniodized salt ( the palm of my hand ). Salt is a gel suppressant as well. I've never used urea, as I'm too lazy to go to the drug store and ask the pharmicist if he has any. Baer fails to mention the "secret" aspects of the urine recipe; that it be done in the light of a full moon, shaded by an old oak tree, preferably in a cemetery. The gilders guild says so.

First coat needs to be as thin and "licked out" as possible. Wet sanding, polishing, rubbing, etc. will work, but the first coat is the important one. 1st. coat is always brushed, then subsequent coats can be sprayed. A splash of alcohol, in both the gilder and the gesso helps as well. Alcohol acts as a tension breaker, suppressing bubbles.

The problem with linseed oil is it needs to be emulsified in the gesso; a blender works well. I routinely let my gesso gel, then reheat for use. I used to use a hot plate from a coffee maker, as they heat to around 150 degrees, but now I just use the microwave, after spending some time with a thermometer figuring out times and power."


"Wet sanding, polishing, rubbing, etc. will work, but the first coat is the important one" above, is how to deal with pinholes after the fact. The first coat is where pinholes develop and then show through later coats.


Civil War Monuments

Another monument of the Civil War. This is from The Mt. Zion Cemetary, Bertrand Township, Michigan, south western Michigan.

I need to return, as there is an inscription that I did not notice til looking at the photo.


A Master Printer

Over on TOP, here part1, and part 2. A two part article by the Photographer, Peter Turnley.

From the press release:
"Today, Mike Johnstonʼs The Online Photographer (TOP), a photography news and
discussion website for photographers, has published a significant original article. Itʼs a
profile of Voja Mitrovic (“Voja” is pronounced “Voya”), the darkroom master who printed
for Cartier-Bresson, Koudelka, Sebastiao Salgado, Werner Bischof, René Burri, Marc
Riboud, Robert Doisneau, Edouard Boubat, Man Ray, Helmut Newton, Raymond Depardon,
Bruno Barbey, Jean Gaumy, Frederic Brenner, Max Vadukul, and Peter Lindbergh
to name a few."

The descriptions of the compexities of B&W printing are wonderful, and as usual, the commentary is very good. 

In my youth I spent a lot of time in wet darkrooms, so I have a lot of respect for the skills involved.


A new design?

A new design, sort of a curled leaf pattern, but also based on the stylization of the various patterns sometimes called after the painter, Childe Hassam.

These are another pair of the "Hassam" style frames; flat panels, a geometric quality to the moldings, with relatively simple patterns, though some get elaborate, with carved patterns on various steps of the molding. All three are "organic" in basis, though the middle is very stylized.

The top image, with it's burnished gold areas, is what I was striving for, though I'm not sure that that is that great.

The idea will never work if it isn't turned into something actual, and it may fail, or not. Time, a little time is needed. For me, the process of making something, the need to focus on the physical, makes it difficult for me to see with a clear and critical eye about a design, though there is a clear, critical eye about the technical aspects. Aesthetic vs technical.


The Hard Part, or back to our regular programming.

The sanding, scraping, refining part. Frames are "white" at this point, gesso applications are done; drying is done ... and now to the finger splitting, mind melting part. Sanding smooth, refining edges and curves, and making ready for the FINISH.

I use a combination of carving tools, small rifflers of various shape, and various scrapers, as well as various sanding blocks, various shapes. In the gessoing process, edges get soft, lines get filled. The French make tools specifically for the carving of gesso, usually in conjunction with carving in general ... me, I just use what I have, the small carving tools, scrapers and rifflers. 

(riffler |ˈriflər| noun
a narrow elongated tool with a curved file surface at each end, used in filing concave surfaces.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from French rifloir, from Old French rifler ‘to scrape.’

It's those French again. Wonderful place, France; I've been fortunate to spend a few weeks in France, both Paris and  La France Profond, the country side, Provence actually. Waiters still sneer at my French, but I do get what I ordered. I take that as a great compliment. Any place that has as much variety in wine and cheese, and also has restaurants devoted to nothing more than "snails", Escargot ( Snails, broiled in a combination of butter, garlic, and parsley, in the shell) ... well, that is a good thing. In the photo below, please note that the snail is gilt. One of those "small" regrets, is that I didn't find this restaurant until we were leaving, and that was on a Sunday, and France, being Catholic; many businesses are closed. There are regional variations in the recipe; after all, it is France.

Mean while, back at the ranch,  where the bleeding, split fingers are. In the winter, the back and forth and pressure of sanding tends to aggravate the skin splitting. 

Any way, the idea is to clean, refine and smooth the edges and surfaces.To make edges crisp, and everything ready for the bole.


End of an Era


Yesterday, truely the passimg of an era.
I'm a long time fan of cycling, and enjoy the TdF a lot. One of the more poignant moments for me was in 96, when Lance abandoned the tour on a fog and mist enshrouded mountain side; took his number off, and drifted back down the mountain, into the fog, none of us knowing the pain he felt was the cancer riddleing him. He survived to become the champion of champions. Today was sad, though handled with grace and humour, through the pain. After his third crash, fourth in this tour, he stood, hands on hips, looking at his bike, then mounted and "sat up", knowing that the tour he had dominated completely, finally had turned on hin.  I hope that he will finish, help his team, and enjoy  "Le grand boucle" as just a "rider".

Mural by Shepard Fairey, Photo uncredited.



Above, correction of a MISTAKE; one that I seem to need to repeat every blue moon, as the mistake always involves One Inch, too short or too narrow, and always one inch. In this case, I was ripping stock for some 3 1/2 inch wide moldings, which I very carefully measured and set my fence on the table saw to exactly 2 1/2 inches. Fairly easy fix, as I did have the right size stock to work from, and other than the time involved to glue the missing inch onto the sticks, not really a problem, though the few minutes of unease after realizing the mistake ... and then thinking it through, pfui. Because my bench is flat, I can use it as a caul, a pressure plate for clamping operations.

It has been said that a master is not one who doesn't make mistakes, but one who knows how to correct them when a mistake is made. Just glad this one wasn't worse.

 Here, the cleaned up sticks, ready to be molded. I "lost" about an 1/8th of an inch in thickness cleaning the faces of glue, etc., but I was oversize, so I'm still within my design parameters.


Old Abe

Old Abe

We did a "whirlwind" visit to the Chesapeake Bay to see some friends; eat some crabs, etc. On the way back, drove through Wash. D.C. so the teen and preteen could see some of it. Visited with Abe, tried to walk the Vietnam Memorial; couldn't, and that is enough of that.

Washington, D.C., our nations town, is worth a visit; walked around the Memorial, inside the pillars.

Above, a photo of The Arlington Memorial Bridge, and in the distance, Arlington House, the once home of Robert E. Lee; now surrounded by Arlington National Cemetery.



Inspired by Mike Chisholm, Idiotic Hat, I've been trying some images that are more about compositional elements, than images of "something". I've also been fooling with square format. Both are hard to do effectively. This image does not work square, though that is the fun of being a fool. The rock is part of my world renowned Bonsai and Rock garden.


A Return to regular Programming.

The completed frame, based on the clients design, for an 18th. century "death" portrait of a cloistered nun. Here, I talk a little about building the frame.

The original "sawtooth" pattern was probably cut out of a large board, sawing each angle with a fine tooth saw, then "bread" slicing the board to get the thin ornaments. Different solutions for the problem, based on the materials available.


On Equipment

As a photographer, I've gone from high end to low and back up. I started with a Nikon F, through Pentax and Praktica, and along the way I've used Leicas, Speed graphics, Rolleis, Hasselblads and view cameras. With digital, I've used a succession of small P&Ss and two larger cameras, including a Nikon D100, and my current "large" camera, the Canon G9.

Like most choices, there are compromises. The G9 is not very good at fast action, and if one is bothered by digital noise, there are better machines. It can be set-up to deal with these limitations by prefocus, shooting raw, noise reduction software, turning off the LCD, and review. There are lots of tricks for speeding things up or dealing with noise.

However, it has a really good lens, that covers a range I like very much, 35-210. What distortion it has is easily corrected in Photoshop or Elements.

This is a jpg straight from camera, at 800 ISO, resized for the interwebs., and at about 170mm. The tilt is the photographer, who sometimes tilts. 1/100 at f/4.5. This was done quietly, and because of the optical viewfinder, unobtrusively. No bright lights from the LCD, and because it's mirrorless, and an electronic shutter, there is none of that clanking and clatter associated with an SLR type camera. Just a small "snick", that in a theatre is probably unheard by any but me. The OVF is more of a general aiming device, as it only covers 80%, and is slightly "off" as to actual aim, but functional still. What I have is a quiet, discreet machine that fits in a coat pocket, and takes images that I find very usable. Dance performances are very glittery; noise sometimes there, can disappear into the overall sparkle. From my own work, and reviews on the web, shooting in raw, and doing noise reduction can help a lot.

Professionally, as a tool for documenting art, the little machine shines. At base ISO, on a tripod, superb image quality; and by paying attention to the "sweet spots", images can be produced that require minimal processing. Aperture at f4.5, and in a middle range of focal length, though the entire range is perfectly usable. I have a gadget that allows use of a traditional shutter release, but for this kind of work I prefer the self-timer, as it lets everything settle down. The large LCD makes the camera like a mini-view camera, except no hood. The image on the LCD is also 100%, and quite accurate as to what will be captured. This is something that, using a SLR type camera, with a viewfinder, is only available in pro level equipment, though more cameras are coming with "live view" or even electronic view finders.

Camera from the front, with a Richard Franiec, Lensmate, filter adapter and custom grip. The adapter allows use of filters, which are sometimes needed in photographing art. Below, with out the adapter. Under the flash is some velcro, used for covering the flash with some diffusion material. I sometimes use the on camera flash to fire a Nikon SB-80, and I also can fire the Nikon using a SC-17 Nikon cord, remnants from my Nikon system. I've covered all but the center contact on the hot shoe, allowing the camera to fire the flash with out any of the folderol of TTL, etc. This also allows very high speed sync; all Strobist tricks. Strobist is a good source for the use of flash.

A relatively small, light camera, that shoots raw, has full manual, and is capable of superb image quality, and all at a modest, by camera standards, cost. When somebody makes a machine like this, but with an EVF rather than the OVF, it'll be time to upgrade. Probably, soon, there will be such a machine. In the meantime, the G9, because I know how to use the camera, something far more important than resolution, or the size of your lens, is capable of professional imagery.


On equipment purchases.

Over on TOP, an interesting post on the journey through camera purchasing, seeking Nirvana.

My own route followed a similar course, and has now taken a severe turn; I'm down to two cameras; a small P&S, and a "serious compact", the Canon G9.

When I get back from some deliveries I'll explain my reasoning.


A Nice Story

This is in response to a question over on "The Grumble".

In the late 1980s, I made some frames and did some restoration work on some frames for an exhibition on the Civil War at The Chicago Historical Society. One of the objects in the exhibition was a portrait of Jefferson Davis, circa 1865 in a circa 1865 frame. The curator wondered if we could reproduce that frame for use on another painting. Off to Thanhardt-Burger, owners of the Newcomb-Macklin collection of molds. T-B kindly gave me access to the collection, where after much dusty rummaging, I did find some molds that I thought were very close.

From the "leftovers" box.

The middle ornament is similar, though I "remember" it as more fruits and veggies, than floral. The acanthus "skin" is probably similar. I had some ornaments made, and took them to compare to the 123 year old frame. 100 % certainty, the old and the new came from the exact, same mold.


A little back story: Newcomb-Macklin was a very successful company for a long time; they routinely acquired molds and designs from other companies that were leaving the field. One interesting aspect of the 1865 frame was that it was leafed in both metal leaf for the body, and water gilt gold for the highlights, which is not unheard of, but rare.

This is an image I posted at the Grumble, cropped and larger here. I think the top, running ornament might be similar to the ornament pictured above, the top ornament.

Frames, history, serendipity; all we need is SEX.



Sunday morning popped poppies. Today's are in bright sun as opposed to the damp and dreary image from Saturday.


An unusual frame.

I'm making a frame for an 18th. c. "death" portrait of a cloistered nun. The portrait was given to her family, who she hadn't seen since entering the convent at the age of 15. The frame in the picture at right, the portrait has a frame digitally added, and modified for this painting. At the left is a sketch of the profile, again modified, with different angles for each slope. At the bottom of the bench is the sawtooth pattern being chopped out of 1/8 inch plywood. Plywood because it will hold together, and by hand so it will look authentic, with some variance from cut to cut. Scrap under the ply, a "straight" carving tool, and my favorite little mallet.

The design is the customers; I'm just figuring out how to do it ...

More Ado.

Not very abstract, but much ado about not much.


Faux Bois Redux

The frame I recently finished; a little more "realistic than some of the previous ones. I have purposely made gaps in the mitres as part of an overall antiquing. 

This detail shows the crackle effect in the paint; another part of the antiquing. I used some new to me products, Ceramcoat acrylics and DecoArt One Step Crackle. The acrylic paints have a very nice, soft matte appearance, that is unfortunately easy to mark, so I sealed with a matte lacquer type coating.

The crackle effect did not work as I wanted at first; it showed brush strokes too much. So I sanded it smooth, and started repainting. Serendipity, as crackle remained, just smoother, and far more realistic. For a mid 19th. century painting.