Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Frame in progress...what's the lesson???

Okay, I taught skiing in California for about 5 years or so, I teach painting now. Anytime that someone in the past asked me about wanting to start to ski or paint my first recommendation is... "Take a lesson! It will save you years, possibly, in your progression."

So why is it that I can't learn that lesson myself? (Notice how this is turning into my "excuse" concerning this frame?)

Oh what the h***! I'm going to share a little of the progress of how 'I' make a frame. I know of a master gilder who will probably call me up and ask me if I've been in the Turpentine bath too long again. He should. I should go take a lesson from him actually....hmmmmm?

I haven't done this very much but twice I framed my OPA paintings, that were accepted into the national exhibit, with 'Frames by Marc'. I still have the first one and it does not have cracked corners (almost every single one of the 'ready mades' I've purchased from the 'you know who' companies, have at least one split corner mitre). But it requires a lot of time and frankly, it's worth it.

I know that there are a number of painters out there who make their own frames, complete using traditional watergilding methods and all. My apologies and appreciation to them... I'm not. This is going to be basic metal leaf. I won't even be using a gesso or clay base. I use shellac and painting primers (sandable) for a smooth base to accept the leaf. Once it's primed, I paint on a layer of oxide red base coat, usually acrylic based, Wunda (acrylic) size and then the leaf. The finishing of the frame is a hodgepodge of 'stuff' applied to achieve the look that I want. Once that's accomplished, I seal the frame with... something... and it's done. In between is a lot of sweat, a few tears and some blood.

Here are the pics. First the raw materials showing them as they came and as the profile. Following that the assembled frame being sanded. I routed out the rabbet and the slope on the lip's upper surface by hand, with router. There is a lot of sanding to come...

Unless I want my house full of sawdust, I wait till the weather is above freezing and do this on the handiest workbench I have... the tailgate of my truck.

This is the one that I was referring to above. My 1999 OPA entry with the frame that I made for it. The panel has a slightly magenta smokey wash in it that picks up on the magenta in the painting, not all that visible here.


Teresa said...

This is turning out beautifully Marc! Do you join the 1x4 sections with staples? Can't wait to see it finished :)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Teresa. No, I glue, nail and clamp the 1x4 pcs. in a framing vise. The other mouldings are cut and also glued, nailed and clamped and then glued to the 1x4 frame. On the bottom are triangles of baltic birch on each corner that are glued and stapled to the frame for reinforcement.

René PleinAir. said...

Hi Marc,

Maybe you knew already, but otherwise
you could go out looking for such a device:


Other photo's

here and here.

I don't even know how they called in Dutch, hehehe
but the work awesomely even for frames as large
as 120 x 90 cm.

You even could make one yourself, being so handy as you are ;-)

René PleinAir. said...

Sorry, and here.

José said...

Hi Marc,

The frame really helps to give depth to this really good painting.
One feels transported into it.

Best regards,


michael clark fine art said...

Hey Marc thanks for posting info on making frames. Are you making them from scratch or buying a stock of an unfinished molding then assembling it. Is it stuff you can get at the home depot. I know a lot of people who finish their own frames but few that actually build them.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Rene´ yes... I used those in the first frame shop that I actually was paid money to work in! We just called it a
'cable clamp'. They come as a cable version like you show, and there's one for smaller frames that is made of threaded rod, cast aluminum corners and knurled thumb screws to adjust.
The ones that you show are probably something that we could not buy here. We'd have to get it from your side of the Atlantic. There's also a set of 'wire spring clamps' that use a plier like tool to spread them open. They have sharp corners to them (shaped like a C ). The plier tool spreads them open and they are then put on the outside of the corners of the molding. They're made of spring steel about 5/16" in diameter, maybe 5-6mm, and they hold the corner very, very tight. Those are either Dutch or German made and made like a fine piece of machinery. I haven't seen them for some time either.
Thanks for the pics. I'm going to keep my eyes open.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks for the comments Jose'. Making your own frames at least gives you the opportunity to get that effect. Who has all that time though? I really don't, but once in awhile it's good to do.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Michael. Yes, the first photo shows the raw stock in it's 3 part beginning. I do buy it at Lowe's or HDepot, or Menards. I'm searching for suppliers of raw basswood and have a couple in mind. Just not sure that I want to do that yet. They usually require at least a 100' or so purchased. Not a problem, that's not too many frames really. But where to store it is.

I can't remember the exact titles at the moment, and don't know what box that they're in, but there are a couple of pretty good books that were published a number of years ago about constructing frames from various trim mouldings. It was published in the early 70's I think, so the idea of a frame then was pretty different from what we require now. But it has good workshop info. I'll see if i can find it and post the title.

Linda Schweitzer said...

My hat's off to you here! I tried this a few years ago, and though the frame looked great, the time involved made it not worth it. Your previous frame looks awesome and really enhances the painting.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Linda you can probably tell from the post that I view this making of frames as a mixed blessing. You are so right about the time it takes. Ideally, one would spend a few weeks and do nothing but make the frames for the year maybe? 'Just get 'er done'.

Ideally, you'd have a shop with lights, good power tools, and benches... not a kitchen table and hand tools. That would make it more efficient.

But what is truly 'ideal' anyway? In the mean time we do the best that we can. :-)

I'm glad that you like the one that I posted.

Kim VanDerhoek said...

O.K. I had to laugh at the beginning of your post about taking a class to learn because after years and years of ski lessons as a child I am still a lousy skier.

Great post, I'm looking forward to seeing how you finish it off!