Monday, 30 May 2011

Viva España

Finishing the Spanish frame

The frame is toned with various mixtures, such as rabbit skin glue and powdered pigments, coloured shellac, microcrystalline wax and grey rottenstone.

Black Pelikan Plaka paint

The flat panels and sides are painted with black casein based emulsion paint.

A little gilded frame


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Pictures without frames

There are very few things in life which annoy me, but putting really serious social and world problems aside for a moment, these are my top three:

1. Paintings reproduced in books and on websites without frames
2. Mcdonald's rubbish along country roads
3. Spam and "Dearest friend I need your bank details" type emails

Frames are so integral to paintings that to publish a book about any artist without also reproducing the frames seems utterly ridiculous to me, the same goes for images on websites. I guess it is simply so much easier to crop a painting than include the frame, but I really wish publishers would start to change this deeply embedded way of discarding the picture frame.  
For example, I have a book on Gustav Klimt, an artist who spent a great amount of time and thought on his frames, and not a single frame is reproduced. The same goes for the websites of many public and private galleries, (although hats off to a gallery I work for - all frames are shown!) I doubt this way of doing things will ever change as most people probably don't even think about it, and maybe there is a genuine reason for this, but I think images of paintings look so much better reproduced with their frames!

Spanish Gold

Here Mark is gilding the big Spanish frame, he is using metal leaf and acrylic gold size. The leaf was distressed and then it was sealed with shellac.

Holly by Louis Smith with help from Carmel Said

Holly by Louis Smith with help from Carmel Said

© Louis Smith
This image is the copyright of the artist.

BP portrait prize 2011

I've made a few frames before, for different artists for the annual BP Portrait Awards, and a couple of years ago I made a gilded and painted frame for a painting which got the second place prize, there is a little story behind that frame but won't go into that now.
No paintings in frames I made got through to the final 55 this year, but I have just been looking at the 2011 shortlist and was really struck by the painting 'Holly' by Louis Smith, which is a huge 8' high canvas, with the frame its 12' x 8' and depicts a classically inspired allegorical and narrative portrait. To me this stands out as being something quite different to many of the usual entries.

I have always liked classically influenced paintings and frames, such as from Egyptian, Greek, or Roman origins, and one of my favourite types of frames that often features these styles is the tabernacle or aedicular frame. Louis Smith has framed his painting in a suitably grand architectural frame, I believe this was designed and made by the artist himself, follow the link below to see detailed photos of the painting stages and frame construction. A very impressive piece of work. The artist's website is well worth a look round and I hope he wins this year.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Spanish painted red and yellow

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Spanish ornament

These photos show the next stage of this frame. Gesso is brushed on the wood, (which has been sized first) and the ornament is cast in plaster and then applied to the frame, the plaster is also coated in gesso. Once this is done the next stage is sanding, which is possibly the least enjoyable aspect of making picture frames this way.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Making a big Spanish frame

This frame will be a Spanish style cassetta type profile, the main frame section is built up from 4 separate mouldings. It will be ornamented, gesso will be applied, then red and yellow base colours, then it will be gilded, parts will be painted black, and finally it will be distressed, antiqued and toned.

Our little framing team was recently joined by a new member! Mark, who has over 20 years experience working as a picture framer and gilder, brings with him a wealth of knowledge, including: veneering, stained and polished wood finishes, washline mounts and mount decoration, antique finishes, photography, mounting techniques, and experience in many other areas of the framing and gilding business.  

I love you framing!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Corner mitre ribbon

Here are some step-by-step photos showing the stages in adding a corner ribbon, to a frame which was cut down. Because the ornament at the mitres does not match-up a ribbon is used to hide the mitre and give the corners a finished look. Sometimes an acanthus leaf or even more elaborate designs are used at the corners of frames.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Silver gilded frame

This frame has been water gilded all over with silver leaf, there are various bole colours (yellow, red, and black) beneath the leaf. The leaf is distressed to show the colours coming through the gilding, the whole frame is then coloured and toned slightly to give it an aged and tarnished look, this was done with a mixture of black and walnut spirit based stain and pigmented wax. The whole surface was then sealed to prevent the leaf darkening any more in the future. The painting is by Simon Quadrat.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Richard the framer

Here I am with some moulding corner samples, If you have only just found this blog, welcome! it is all about picture frames and framing, which I am crazy about!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Winter scene by Igor Sushenok

Silver icon

This icon has been framed in a silver gilt frame, it is mounted in velvet covered foamboard, the icon is pushed into a cut-out in the foamboard and is held snugly and firmly in place. It is glazed with anti-reflective glass. The frame is an old frame which has been cut down, it is gilded in silver leaf which has been varnished to give it a warmer gold colour.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Russian flea market

On the same site as the market selling frames, paintings, and lots of other items mentioned in my previous post, was a large flea market which was full of antiques. There were lots of icons, gilded objects, and all sorts of antique frames, from ordinary ones to some amazing examples. I could have spent days looking through the stalls, so will definitely be visiting this place again! The only downside was the crazy Moscow prices, some of which were double the price I would have valued the frames at, these prices could be haggled, but were still rather expensive.

Russian frame market

I have just come back from Moscow, where I visited a large market which had lots of different stalls, including a lot of frame stalls, and many old and new paintings for sale. This is wear Muscovites come for a bargain frame, with lots of pretty typical profiles that we see in England, from some quite nice mouldings to lots of mass produced tacky looking rubbish. My favourite stall was selling natural wood frames which could be painted, stained, waxed, or gilded.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Portraits by Simon Davis RP RBSA

The work of portrait painter Simon Davis RP RBSA can be seen on these (among other) websites:

Simon Davis Homepage

Red Rag Gallery - Simon Davis

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters

This painting has been framed in a moon gold water gilded, and painted frame.

Gilded frame with carved flutes

Red bole isolated