Friday, March 30, 2012

The View from the Kitchen, en plein air, 10x8"

The first en plein air painting of the year always seems to take so much effort to just get going. Part of the reason is that I don't paint outdoors in the winter time, so it takes some time to set your mind in the right frame to accept the changing weather and the getting used to carrying your box, easel, and supports here and there. Then when the nice weather arrives, gardening and other chores compete with painting. 

This painting represents the first step even though it was painted from the kitchen on a cold sunny afternoon. I have wanted to paint this scene for some time because I have always dreamed on converting the carriage house in the background into my perfect studio space--too bad  it belongs to my neighbor!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Improving Frames

In this post I just want to share something that I do to make some ready-made frames look better. 

When a  frame is too dark or dull for a specific painting I use Rub'nBuff, which is a wax metallic finish that comes in different colors in small tubes. I apply this paste to the inner edge of a frame in order to make it look like a fillet. 

The picture below shows some of the colors I use, from L to R: Gold Leaf, Antique Gold, Grecian Gold, European Gold(greenish), and Autumn Gold (reddish).

The steps are as follows: First, I isolate the area to be highlighted  with painter's tape, making sure that the tape is positioned correctly.

I apply a small amount of the metallic paste (Antique Gold in this case) with a cotton swab, pushing it hard so that it gets into the edges of the moulding. I do the same thing with the inner side of the frame opening. making sure the application looks even. The paste/wax could be applied with your finger or a soft cloth, but I prefer the cotton swab method, and as a precaution, I also wear disposable gloves.

Once the whole area is done, I let it rest for a few minutes before removing the tape. It cures really quickly.

And this is how the frame looks with a painting:
Country Lane, 5x7"

Friday, March 16, 2012

Front Yard, 12x16"

I'm very happy to say that this paintings was recently juried into the National Northeast Pastel Competition at Old Forge, NY. 

Generally, the View arts center holds a Walkabout hosted by the juror of awards the day after the award ceremony. Last year's juror, Lucy Petrie, decided to have a more interactive walkabout and had the crowd divided into small groups. Each was given a list with some important points to consider when looking at a given painting. While each juror has his/her own way of determining whether a painting merits an award or not, for me it was very informative to see what where some of the factors she had taken into account when making that decision. Framing was one of them. A frame that calls too much attention to itself, or one that doesn't enhance the painting in any way, or even one that has seen better days (and believe it or not, there was one like that!) will detract a lot from the painting.

 I had a crazy week looking for the perfect frame.  It's so hard to figure from a corner sample if the moulding chosen is the right one. I'll find out very soon...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Moose River in Winter, 5x7"

The migrating flocks of geese are telling us that winter is almost over.  While the thought of warmer weather is more than welcome, I feel a little bit upset for having wasted the opportunity to paint winter scenes during the season. The sole exception  was the one above. Maybe I'll be painting more winter scenes this spring...