Saturday, May 28, 2011

Always More to Learn

Most of you have probably heard the statement that goes something like this -- the more I learn the more I realize what I don't know.  I've heard that stated in a number of different ways but the gist of it is that no matter what you think you know, there's always more to learn.  I suppose that's what drives people, like me, that aren't satisfied with the "status quo" and always want to improve their skill set.  That's definitely how it is with me and my work.  The frame I've been working on that has the art nouveau theme is finally complete, I think!  As someone who gets wrapped up in the details and appearance of my work a difficult concept for me is to gild a frame with 22 kt. gold leaf, see it all beautiful and shiny, and then deliberately make it look old and aged!  That's the nature of the beast, I've taken workshops in gilding and toning and the concept is to replicate normal aging you'd find on a frame.  It runs the gamut from using an ice pick to create worm holes to using chains and rocks to show wear and tear.  Here is the final (unless I change my mind) frame for a painting Diane recently completed titled Mother's Day:

Mother's Day by Diane Eugster
The way I achieved the patina on this frame, which is somewhat hard to tell in a photograph, was to use rottenstone to first take the shine (rub back) off of the gold.  Intentionally, I tried to leave the carved pattern brighter since I like that feeling of a ribbon of gold going completely around the frame.  This was sealed with shellac and allowed to dry.  Next, a thinned mix of Asphaltum and Naphtha was brushed onto one leg at a time, then wiped back to leave a brownish tone on the frame.  In some areas it was too heavy but wiping those with a Q-tip and wax lightened them up.  After several days, I used wax to remove some of the Asphaltum and add protection to the entire frame.

Here's a closer shot of a corner.  So far I'm satisfied with how things turned out.  We'll leave the painting out and knowing me, I'll critique my work every time I walk past it!

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