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!




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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!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Paint, Paper and Fiber - Tom Dimond and Terry Jarrard-Dimond - Part II


Trinity V2 - Tom Dimond - 1997
30" x 22" - mixed media


I have known Tom Dimond since I was a senior student in college.  I have watched his work develop and how he can mine the gold of his ideas.  His sense of composition and eye for color are exceptional.  Tom is a fine artist and he is also my partner in life.

Looking at this tiny sampling of his work I am struck by the depth of information contained in each work and what a beautiful flow there is between each piece.  There are strong and continuous lines of exploration that run from our first meeting through today.  

Perhaps the strongest of those ongoing explorations is his love of geometric abstraction.  If all a viewer knew about his work was his current work they might be surprised by that statement as his work has broadened and softened recently.  However, the understructure of all of his work, the foundation of all of his work is firmly geometric and abstract in nature.

Trinity V2 is the oldest piece in this group and the bones of the painting are very clear.  If you click on the image to enlarge you will see the complex pattern of circles.  This is a structure he has used as a format for many years.  While it serves as an "actual framework" I have always thought of it as a way for him to get into the work as drawing all of that structure takes many hours.  These hours are ripe for contemplation and meditation.



Trinity V2 - Tom Dimond - detail - 1997
30" x 22" - mixed media


If you have ever taken an art history class or read art history you know how the study of an artist or a specific work by an artist can reveal mountains of information the casual viewer will never see or understand for what is "really" in the art.

Two examples of that type of content are revealed in Trinity V2.  The cherries (in life they are air freshners) refer to a famous work by Kurt Schwitters and The Cherry Picture.  In addition to the use of the cherries, Trinity V2  uses collage which is a process Schwitters is famous for using.

The other reference is the geometric element at the top which is a stellated dodecahedron.  Tom was on a trip to Italy and saw this figure in a tile floor by Paolo Ucello in St. Mark's Cathedral.  Tom has used this form not only as an element in paintings and collages but has constructed entire paintings on frames which go together as this geometric form.



S.H.I.E.L.D. - Tom Dimond - 2013
30" x 22" - mixed media


S.H.I.E.L.D. is a collage painting.  I use the double term as there is about a 50-50 mix of paint and collage materials.  The beautiful and serene symmetry which Tom often uses is very present and the large black form draws you in. As you approach the work for closer inspection you see that hiding under paint and thick layers of mediums and papers are other possibly more familiar and recognizable images.  Spend some time looking at the large black element.  Put it together in your mind.  What is it?  I'll share that later on but hiding under the paint are panels from comic books.  

Each panel from the comics has had the text removed and parts of the images are obscured.  You are ask to "fill in the blank".  What is the story"  Is there a story?  Is it enough to enjoy the relationships of the images, marks, textures, colors?  For me the answer is absolutely.  That is one of the joys of contemporary art.  Tom is and has been a fan of comic art for his entire life.  He knows all of the classic characters and more importantly he knows the artists who created them and brought them to life.  Their inclusion in his work is not a hollow exercise.  These images are part of his creative body of knowledge, his art vocabulary.



Reaching Out - Tom Dimond - 2013
30" x 22" - mixed media


Reaching Out was created during the same time span as S.H.I.E.L.D.   You likely recognize the black element from Shield only in a different configuration.  These look like little faces staring with their big eyes and smiling or frowning.  Have you figured it out.  Tom walks and during his walks he became aware of small metal disks on the street that had been mashed.  He has a little jar filled with them.  They are the metal end caps from old style fluorescent light tubes.  Who knew?  By scanning, simplifying and enlarging them they have been morphed into tribal masks, little people, entities far removed from their manufactured origin.



Reaching Out - Tom Dimond - detail - 2013
30" x 22"


Reaching Out is named for the hand that appears at the upper center of the piece.  It is the hand of one of Tom's favorite characters - Silver Surfer.  Silver Surfer brings an entire history to the piece and I know there are people who recognize him and other characters that are making appearances in Tom's current work.  It is just another way people can enjoy these complex works of art. 

The work continues to move ahead.  More painting.  More collage.  More layers.  Tom's studio reveals his concerns, thoughts, process.  Things hang and are out for study.



Tom in his sunroom studio.

This work along with my work are on view in Paper, Paint and Fiber at the The Art Center in Clemson SC until Wednesday, June 15, 2016.  Tom is presenting demonstration/workshop June 11 at the Art Center. For more information and to register: click here