Monday, August 29, 2016

Reorganizing To Make Life Easier

Freshly Organized Storage

Trying to keep track of your artwork can be a challenge.  The most basic part of that is how the work is stored and then being able to find a specific piece when you want it without taking apart everything you own!

Many artists who work with fabric store the work on a bed.  That's great as the work is flat however if the piece you want is under 6 other piece it isn't easy or fun or extract. I also don't have a spare bed to use for storage purposes.

Some people fold their fabric pieces to store by stacking the work on a shelf.  That works but I don't like the fold line or wrinkles that seem to develop in my work when it is folded.  Perhaps it's the intensity of the stitching or maybe the batting I use as I have been told that everyone doesn't get these flaws from folding.....but I do.

Ends of rolls.  Still looks complex but I now know which
shelf to check.

I have always rolled my  fabric work.  I use large (3 1/2 inch diameter) foam noodles that are sold as pool toys.  The brand is Khuna and they work great.  The Khuna noodles have a hole in the center and I put a pvc pipe through this so the roll is rigid.  The work is rolled face out around the noodle then wrapped with white muslin and slipped into a plastic sleeve.  The sleeves come from Uline and are boxed  as a roll.  The sleeves can be cut to any length you need.  I tie the ends shut and attach a photograph of the piece with the name underneath the picture for easy identification.  Without this there is no way I can find what I'm looking for.  I have a nice heavy duty metal shelf and the rolls are stored there. I often put the hanging rod inside the bag with the work as well.

Even with the tags it can be hard to find a specific piece so this weekend I took everything off the shelves, checked for proper labeling and rearranged everything.  I kept a list of which shelf the piece is on and I am adding that to my Excel Inventory.  As new work is added I will include the shelf number with all the other information in my inventory.

Most of what is stored here is fabric but I saved the bottom shelf for my new encaustic and cold wax and oil paintings.  I want to develop some order for this work as well so that it can be easily located.  This kind of operation is not something I love to do but I love the end results!

Even with the tags it can be hard to find a specific piece so this weekend I took everything off the shelves, checked for proper labeling and rearranged everything.  I kept a list of which shelf the piece is on and I am adding that to my Excel Inventory.  As new work is added I will include the shelf number with all the other information in my inventory.

Most of what is stored here is fabric but I saved the bottom shelf for my new encaustic and cold wax and oil paintings.  I want to develop some order for this work as well so that it can be easily located.  This kind of operation is not something I love to do but I love the end results!

Monday, August 8, 2016

More About Floater Frames

Last week I wrote about floater frames for cradled boards, specifically for encaustic paintings.  I continued to look around the web for resources and have ordered another frame from Frame USA.  This frame is similar to the ones I ordered from Dick Blick are about $5 less expensive.  I ordered a frame in clear maple and 12" x 12".  This is not a standard size so they don't have them in stock but build them as ordered.  I"ll let you know how they look.

Elisa Sparks was generous sending me photographs of frames she recently learned.

Frame on left = Artwork pictured from the back on right
Example by Elisa Sparks

The frame is made from inside corner molding which you may be able find at your lumber stores.  This molding comes in many sizes and is called by several names.  Basically you are looking for wood that has been milled to have part of the mass removed to make a "shelf" on which your panel will sit. The frame is made slightly larger than the outside dimension of the art so there is a space between the art and the inside of the frame. I have not been able to local this style molding in a store as yet but will keep looking.

You may notice the small blocks placed in the corners on the back side of the art pictured above.  These blocks serve two functions.  They lift the panel off the back frame and they provide a place to insert a screw to attach the panel to the frame.  On a cradled board you don't need these as the boarder of the panel is thick enough to serve as a foundation for the screw.

When you do purchase or make frames of this type you will need to consider whether you worked on a flat panel or cradled board and the depth of the board.  You will need to decide how much float space you want around the edge of the art and in some cases how you prefer to attach the panel to the frame.  The Dick Blick frames come with holes pre-drilled but these holes are very close to the edge and could cause splintering of the edge of your panel.  I intend to purchase some off-set clips for the next ones I mount.  Here is what those look like.  You should be able to purchase them at a big-box store.

Off-set frame clips

Encaustic Print and Frame by Elisa Sparks

There are lots of video's on making frames on Youtube but I didn't find one that exactly fits what I'm trying to share with you but you might get the idea from viewing some of the ones posted.  May of the video's show frames for stretched canvas which doesn't always apply to how a cradled board is framed.

Another source that was suggested was Florida Frames.  They have a very nice selection of styles of floater frames and their style 1006 showed the shape of the corner molding I was suggesting you might want to use in making a frame.  I did not follow through with pricing the frames at this site as you have to submit an order to get the price but I'm sure the order is not "made" until after you have the pricing information.

Another source for beautiful frames is Metropolitan Frames.  Their frames are fabulous but more than I wanted to spend at this time but still worth looking into.

Thanks to Elisa Sparks for sharing these photos.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Framing Encaustic Paintings

Salt - Terry Jarrard-Dimond
Encaustic - 12" x 12" - 2016

I have always loved what a mat and frame do for works on paper.  The mat gives the work relief from whatever you place around it and the frame and glass/plexiglass protects and finishes the look.

Most painters frame their paintings but I have seen others who leave the work unframed and perhaps paint the edges of the work to give it a more finished look.  Many artists who work with encaustic paint do not use a frame.  They tape the edges of the cradled board before they start the work and then remove the tape after the work is completed.  This keeps the edges clean so than when a patron purchases the work and hangs the work they don't end up with paint smudges on their wall. 

Perhaps one reason a frame often isn't used is the cost of frames as they are expensive.  If you make your own frames the wood is costly and making a frame takes a lot of time.  I was excited when I first discovered float frames which work nicely with cradled boards.

Float frames are made so that you place the board in the frame from the front and there are screw holes already in the frame and you just insert a screw, add hangers and you're done.  The frames are constructed in a way that there is a space between the edge of the painting and the inside edge of the frame.  You still need to clean the edge of the painting but the painting seems to "float" inside the frame....thus the name....floater frame.

In researching this type of frame on the internet I found some beautiful frames and they are startlingly expensive....example: $135 for a 12" x 12" unfinished wood model from a well known source.  Beautiful but out of the question for me.  I found others at lesser prices including one from Dick Blick.  This frame comes in only 3 three finishes and the only one I would ever use is black.  I wish they had a natural finish as well but right now they do not.  They do offer a number of size combinations and the cost for this 12" x 12" was about $25.

What do you think?

Salt - Terry Jarrard-Dimond
Encaustic - 12" x 12" - 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Painting With Encaustic: Tips and Insights

Pods - Terry Jarrard_Dimond
Encaustic Painting - 12" x 12" - 2016

In my last post: Encaustic Worksop at Cullowhee Mountain Arts,  I talked about my recent workshop with Lisa Pressman in a general way.  This week I want to share some tips and insights I have had since returning along with information Lisa shared that finally sunk in with me.  

Smoke Ring
 - Terry Jarrard_Dimond
Encaustic Painting - 12" x 12" - 2016

  • All mediums are not the same.  I have used several brands of encaustic medium and I have also made my own.  I have spent lots of time trying to get a shine on the surface of my work and it never seemed to look good.  During the workshop we used R&F Medium and the work looked hard and shiny as soon as it dried.  It could then be buffed up every more. I am totally sold on this product.

  • I have lots of the "old" medium which I can not afford to waste so I will use it as one layer of the prime for my boards but I will no longer mix it with my encaustic paint.

  • Lisa uses a safety razor blade held between forefinger and thumb to scrape rather than loop tools.  The razor blade worked much better for me as well.  Much more control....however, I have arthritis in my right thumb and it becomes painful after a while.  When I returned home I found a holder for this type razor blade used for scraping windows and tried scraping with the blade in the holder.  Not a much finest as just holding the blade but a mix of the two approaches will be good.

Window scraper 

  • When priming your board always warm the board first.  I had forgotten that.

  • When using the heat gun always put it on low or you will move the wax around in ways you won't like.

  • Air bubbles can be popped when using a propane torch by flicking the bubble with the tip of the flame.  Don't over heat.

  • Encaustic paint can be mixed with lots of medium and remain beautiful.  Don't use the paint straight from the block.  

  • You can fit more paint containers on your hot palette if you use rectangular paint containers.  I began with round containers but I just got some of R&F's paint pans. I can fit about 10 pans on my small hot palette.

Strings Attached - Terry Jarrard_Dimond
Encaustic Painting - 12" x 12" - 2016

  • Establish two palettes.  One for opaque colors and one for transparent colors.  I have previously not been very careful about that but I like this idea and I am loving what transparent paint adds.

  • Using soy wax to clean your brushes and tools may leave a residue which can cloud your paint.  Rather than cleaning your brushes all the time try having brushes that you use with only one color.  If you do use soy wax to clean your brushes be sure and wash then with soap and water afterwards.

  • I replaced the wooden clothes pins which help remove my paint containers around on the hot palette with tiny metal clips I bought on Ebay.  These work a lot better.

  • Don't pick your paint containers up with the clips as they aren't that tight.  To pick things up off the palette I use a pair of pliers.

When the Dust Settles - Terry Jarrard_Dimond
Encaustic Painting - 12" x 12" - 2016

  • If you like to work in a square format (I do) it gives you the opportunity to combine several paintings to make one larger one.

  • Don't melt an entire block of paint into one container.  Break the paint up with a hammer and melt the chips as needed extending them with medium.

  • Float frames work great with cradled boards.  They can however be very expensive.  I've just ordered one frame from Dick Blick that isn't expensive.  I'll let you know how it looks when it arrives.

  • For safety I plug everything into one multi plug outlet along with a night light.  When the night light is off I know everything else is off.  This includes 3 electric hot plates and a vent-a-fume.  So far I've had no issue with power outages but you will want to be careful.

  • When my palettes and paint cool down I cover everything with a drop cloth to avoid dust or other debris from getting into or onto my paint and equipment.

Enjoy your studio time!


Monday, June 27, 2016

Encaustic Workshop At Cullowhee Mountain Arts

Supplies generously donated by R&F Encaustic for the workshop.

Yesterday I returned home from a week of study at Cullowhee Mountain Arts at Western Carolina University with Lisa Pressman.  The class was an advanced encaustic painting class.  It was informative, fun, and very satisfying.  

I have had a desire to make progress in this medium for a couple of years and I finally have enough information to begin the process in ernest.  I highly recommend Lisa as a teacher and as a person.  She is willing to spend personal time with you answering questions and concerns and also willing to give honest and thoughtful feedback on what you are doing and how to improve your work both technically and aesthetically.  

Class exercise

This is an example of a class exercise which involved drawing directly on an unwaxed cradled board, adding  medium and then white paint.  The piece was taken further after these processes. During the class I began perhaps 10 boards and will be evaluating them to see what they need over the next weeks.

Lisa Pressman

On the last morning of class we presented the work for everyone to view.  Everyone was invited to see the best work from each class member.  There were many supportive comments from the class and guidance from Lisa.

My best to everyone in the class and many thanks to Lisa for another great class!