Monday, February 21, 2011

How to make a floater frame- Part 3

 After leaving your frame to dry in the strap clamp overnight, it should be firmly and beautifully together. Take off the strap clamp and sand the corners, and any other seams where two pieces of wood join. Next, smear wood filler into the seams like so:
If you look closely you'll see tan woodfiller smeared into the seam on the front corner.

Once you have the wood filler on all the visible seams, go do something else for a little while- read a book, eat a sandwich, take a nap, work on a painting, make up a song and dance to entertain your dog or cat- whatever you like while the wood filler dries. 

Now, go back and sand the wood filler so that it's nice and smooth. The point is that when the frame is painted it will look like one solid piece. It's a much more polished look without the visible joints. 

You're ALMOST done!! Feel free to lay your picture into your frame and admire how well it fits before the next step.

Time to paint the frame! First, I suggest using a spray primer. For one thing it helps the paint adhere and for another thing, if the paint should ever get chipped, it won't be as obvious. This part is moderately tiresome just because of drying time. Just allow for the time and relax. It's all part of the process. You didn't work this hard until this point just to get impatient now, did you?

Ok, so lay your frame down on a cloth or something to protect your deck, garage floor, driveway, or wherever you're doing this. Whether you start with the back or the front is up to you. Spray a nice, even coat of primer and then walk away and do something else. The primer should be completely dry in an hour or so, so that you can do the other side. I like to go ahead and prime the whole thing first rather than prime and paint the same side before priming the other side because sometimes little imperfections you missed when the wood was bare show up when it's primed. Now's a perfect time to fill, sand, and fix them. 

You'll need a few coats of paint to really get it looking good. Pay attention to the directions on your spray paint. Mine says to reapply within the hour OR wait 24 hours. I'm not sure why that particular timing is important, but I'll trust them. I really wanted to be able to show you my finished product in this post, but it's not in a good spot to photograph and it's still too wet to move. I promise- it's coming soon. Not that you need to see mine- you've got one of your own! Go ahead and play this while you present your finished frame to your friends. Tada!

Friday, February 18, 2011

How to make a floater frame- Part 2

Ok, so you've done as the bottle of wood glue instructed and dutifully waited overnight for your two pieces of wood to glue together. Now time for cutting! First, measure the sides of the painting you're framing.
This particular painting is 5"x7".  Think about if you want some space between the edge of your picture and the frame so that the picture looks like it's hovering (hence the name "floater frame") or if you want the frame to butt right up to the picture. Is that the right version of "butt" to use? Maybe it's butte. Anyway, I digress. The measuring will be a little easier if plan on the picture hovering because you have a tiny bit of leeway. 

First, you're going to cut one end of your board at the angle that it will need to be to make the corner of your frame. Set your miter saw (or miter box) to a 45 degree angle. Obviously, it's important to make sure that the cut is angled in the correct direction. You want the cut to slant toward what will be the inside of the frame (see picture below). 

Since I want my painting to float in the frame, I'm going to mark my board at 7 1/2" for the 2 longer sides of the painting. It's important also to clamp your board to your saw (see below). Please please please don't get near the blade. Clamping the board enables you to concentrate on what you're doing rather than worrying about holding the wood in place. Also, don't forget your goggles. I actually wear goggles, respirator mask, and earplugs. Not stylish, but I'm well protected. 
Don't forget the clamp the wood to the saw. If the piece is long you may need two clamps.

Now it's time to make your cuts! You'll have to swivel the saw to cut 45 degrees in the opposite direction for each end of each piece. Make sure your cut pieces match the piece that will be opposite them in size. Once you have all of your pieces cut, add glue to one end of each piece and put your frame together.
Your strap clamp will keep everything firmly in place while the glue dries. Don't forget to wipe up the excess glue! Once the clamp in on the frame and tightened, it should look like this:

I admit, I had a hard time tightening the clamp all the way at first since it didn't come with instructions, but then I figured out that after the crank is turned as far as it will go, you can then turn the long red wooden handle to the right to tighten it further.
Once again, be patient and let it dry over night. I think I forgot to mention wood filler on our supply list. We'll need that for the next step, so go ahead and get some. I'll go back and add it to the initial list for those of you just joining me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to make a floater frame- Part 1

FINALLY at long last here is my promised tutorial on how to make a floater frame. Since I will be teaching you and photographing the steps while I make my own floater frame, I'm going to do this in several posts over the course of a few days. First, a supply list:
1. Wood: I like to use one board of 1"x3" pine (it actually measures 1" x 2 1/2", but for some reason unknown to me is labeled as 1"x3") and one board of 1/2"x 1 1/2" pine. 
2. Wood glue
3. Tape Measure
4. Strap clamp or a ratcheting clamp
5. Miter Saw or Miter Box
6. Sandpaper
7. Spray primer and spray paint
8. Safety goggles and respirator mask because you just can't be too careful.
9. Wood filler
Ok, so now you've got all your supplies, we're ready to start. First, measure how deep you picture is and decide how deeply you want your picture to sit inside your frame. In other words, do you want the picture flush with the front of the frame or recessed a bit? Once you have decided that you're going to make a "shelf" so to speak out of the wood by using wood glue to glue the smaller piece of wood to the larger piece like so:

This view is how one side of the frame will look when turned onto its side. The small piece of wood is eventually going to be the back of the frame where the picture is screwed into the frame. Therefore, where you position the small piece of wood is based on how deep you need the frame to be. For example, my paintings are about a 3/4" thick. So, I position my smaller piece of wood about 1 1/4" from the edge of the larger piece so that once the frame is put together the profile of the frame will be about a 1/2" more than my picture. This next picture has a kinda weird shadow on it, but it might help illustrate what I mean:

The copper and blue/green thing is the edge of my painting. So the smaller piece of wood is positioned the width of the edge of my painting plus the amount I want to extend beyond that from the edge of the larger board. Make sure to measure that distance carefully and mark it all along the larger board. Put wood glue on the narrow edge of your smaller board, and line it up with your markings. If you have clamps, use them to clamp the two pieces of wood together overnight. I don't have clamps so I use a very sophisticated method of balancing cans of paint on top of mine to press them together :) Regardless of which you use, be sure to wipe all extra wood glue that seeps out from around the edges. Leave this to dry overnight and I'll post the next step tomorrow!
 Let me know if you have any questions so far.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How to make floating frames- coming soon!

white frame sample
white frame sample

black frame sample
black frame sample

To frame or not to frame?

The time has come for me to decide whether or not I should frame my pictures. And the answer is- yes! So, next step, how? I've made frames before and I've got a good recipe down for a simple, clean-lined floater (or floating) frame. For right now I'll call it ff for short (today's blog post is brought to you by the letter in flea circus! ). A floating frame, I mean ff, is a box type frame in which the picture sits, usually not touching the sides, so that it appears to float. For my paintings, this is a good choice because I composed the pictures in such a way that I did not plan for any part to be covered up by a frame. I'm either going with a simple white frame or a simple black frame. I like the white because it's a little different, but I like the black because it's a little more classic. What do you think? I'd love to hear your opinions. Around this post are some photos of my most recent Let me know what you think!painting with both a white sample and a black sample. The photos aren't fantastic. Sorry. I had to lay the painting on the desk and lean over it since the samples are only that- samples- and therefore not attached to the picture. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

mmm- my favorite breakfast recipe

Ok, so if I don't get enough protein, it's a scary thing. I turn angry mean (getting between me and food is like getting between a mama bear and her cub when I get hungry, according to my friend Drew) so, it is in the best interest of everyone in the greater Birmingham area (possibly the whole South!) that I start my day with eggs. This morning I made my favorite (and easiest) scramble. I just whip up one whole egg and one egg white in a bowl, add a little spoonful of store bought pesto and toss them in the skillet. While I let them hang out on the heat for a second I add torn up spinach and feta cheese. Then I just use a metal spatula to sorta fold them over themselves until they're done. Super easy. And yummy. And pretty healthy. Win, win, win and the good people of Birmingham are safe. Btw, I've been getting organic, cage free, local eggs and organic spinach here. They're REALLY reasonably priced and the spinach stays good WAY longer than what I get at a regular grocery. Probably cuz it's fresher.

The egg shells looked so pretty and delicate I put them on a silver platter and took some pictures of them. I think I'll do an eggshell painting next in my reflection series. So, make today's breakfast a QUADRUPLE win. Nice!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The problem with realism...

"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing," Camille Pissarro

(Below: Details from "Shine")

(from "Shine")
Artistically, I'm a realist. It's probably the only area of my life in which I am even remotely detail oriented. However, this is a bad time to be a realist. I believe that many artists who are not realists either felt disinterested in or pinned down by realism when they were young and now that they are older (and in a position to teach) the pendulum has swung in the other  direction so that now in some art circles realists are sneered at for lack of imagination. This is a problem. Not because I think that everyone should be realists-definitely not! But simply because every person has a different style and a different way of viewing the world and they are all necessary and important. I have found since becoming an artist and truly realizing my style, that I can no more change my style that I can my eye color. Sure I could wear color contacts and pretend to be different than I am, but it would always be pretend. 
I love to notice little details of the world around me that often get overlooked and recreate them in such a way that makes people stop and notice them. For example, the shine on a polished chrome faucet(left). 
For me, the purpose of my art is to make me people look at the world around me. For some people, it's to bring to life the funny little characters that live in their head (Theo Ellsworth) or to simply to make people happy (Sunny Carvalho) or even just to explore the use of line and color. Whatever the style, the artist is giving his or her viewers a glimpse into how he or she sees the world and that's valuable. It's a big world- there's room for all of us.