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.


Faux Bois finishes.

Ammi Phillips   (American, 1787-1865)

Frame designed after an original, circa 1830, on an Ammi Phillips painting, believed to have been executed by the artist. Faux Bois, polychrome finish, simulating cross grain , mahogany veneer.

The range of finishes is broad; expressionistic, like the above, only roughly simulating wood, but having it's own charm, to meticulous examples that do look like wood.

This is an example not trying to look like anything; it's just a painted finish that has worked well on certain paintings. In the spirit of the Ammi Phillips frame.

This one is vaguely supposed to look like burled wood, but is like the others, free form and expressionistic, designed to harmonize in color, but also a counterpoint to the tightness and planar quality of the painting.

Some of the brushes I use when doing false finishes. At the top is a much abused synthetic fiber flat, appreciated for the way the hairs splay out. Next, a watercolor flat, that I try not and abuse. Third, an oil color, natural hair, fan blender, with a broken handle. (The broken handle has no significance, by the way.) Bottom, a natural hair, sable watercolor brush I use for fine lines. If the brushes look wet, it's because they are, as I've just finished a frame, that when dry and sealed, I'll photograph and explain how it was done.


Nothing, More, quoth the Raven.

Another exercise in composition, minimally processed, as most of these images are and will be.
Ongoing. Soon, a, return to regular programming, and a post about frames and framing.