Thursday, August 6, 2009

Kittens and frame toning

Here are these little guys. They are our new kittens. We lost a cat and have waited months before replacing him. Now we have these two, they are Izzy and Toast . (Toast is on the right). I am home from a long painting trip up in Maine. Here is a picture from the trip. It was shot at Acadia National Park. When I get the picture finished in the studio I will post it.

I am teaching a workshop on Cape Cod this week. This one is through the Cape Cod Art Association. I am excited about it, I like what has become my yearly trip to the Cape. I will probably post a picture from the workshop on the blog. Sun, Sand and an audience. Who could ask for more?

The September workshop in New Hampshire is beginning to fill, and I am looking forward to that as well. It is going to be really a nice time of year to paint in the hills of New Hampshire. New England is GREAT in the fall. Legendary. If you can come, here is the sign-up sheet.

OK, thats enough of that. I know you all come here to learn something, so here is a little something............. I use both 23 carat frames and mass produced metal leaf frames. Below are two metal leafed frames made by Omega. They are made, like so many things these days, in China.

When I get them out of the box, I feel they are too brassy and perfect looking. So I tone them myself. Here's how I do that. I mixed a small amount of raw umber with a lot of Liquin and threw a little green in there, very little. Then I painted that onto the frame and ragged it off with a paper towel. Incidentally the frame to your left is the one I have toned. There is stuff called cotton rag waste that works even better, but a paper towel or an old cotton T shirt will work. Then I pounced the whole show with the tip of a big house painters brush. That brush has to be in good, clean condition. Pouncing means stomping it, like you might a stencil. After that I mix up a dark gray-black note, also heavily thinned with Liquin and then dragging my thumb across its bristles I spray some flyspecks onto the toned frame. I usually have to pounce all of that a little more to get it to look unified and natural. When that Liquin drys the toning will be bulletproof. The next day, I wax the whole thing with Butchers wax in a can. That gives it a soft luster.

That takes an ordinary production frame and makes it look like a more valuable handmade frame. I guarantee you , that you will have to work at this a bit to get your frames to come out right, but if you don't let it dry on the frame, you can wipe it back several times for another try.



willek said...

If you enlarge that picture of the painters, it is very esy to see which is S.K. That big easel and no sissy sunshade. Who are the other folks with you? Are they just interlopers? Do you often paint with buddies? If so, do you criticise each others work, make fun of each other's work? Are you going to do some cat pictures? I have made a lot of points with wife and family with such efforts.

Philip Koch said...

Just when I thought your blog couldn't get any better you go and post your photo of your fluffy new kittens!
It is giving me the courage to face the rainy morning down here in Baltimore.

Good luck with the weather on the Cape for your workshop.

Chris said...

This is off topic (kittens and frame toning) but you mentioned that Edward Seago saw himself as working within the English landscape tradition and it got me thinking that I would love to read a blog post on how you see the "American landscape tradition," especially how it developed over the 20th century to today and who you personally consider the most important artists in this regard. Just a thought. Great blog!

Jan Blencowe said...

Thanks so much for sharing your method of toning a frame! I have always wanted to do this, and have tried a few times without really knowing what I was doing. I had a bit of success and now I am armed with some good information and instruction.

As Christophus has mentioned, I would also love to hear your thoughts regarding the American Landscape Tradition.

The kittens are adorable!!

Stapleton Kearns said...

They are a T.M.Nicholas and Stefan Pastuhov, also a couple of visiting guys from the Midwest were there.
Maybe I should do some cat pictures, I could use those points......

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I had no idea it rained in Baltimore, lets suspend habeas corpus!

Stapleton Kearns said...

What a great question, will do!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I hope that works foir you. The kittens are bigger every time I look at them.

JT Harding said...

My cat's name is Izzy also...It's short for Isabella.

Susan Renee Lammers said...

Interesting about toning down brassy gold frames. I use rub n buff gold. The silver rub n buff is great too. Dries within a half an hour. Why do they make these frames such a nasty gold? Is there a pale gold frame that is great out there an artist does not need to work on? Thanks