Saturday, March 28, 2009

Painting Cradles

Right Curve, 2009, Oil on Birch Panel, 30x40

So here is the official jpeg of this lovely painting that I am so pleased with. It is nowhere near as good as the actual painting, alas, but it will suffice I suppose. I always struggle to keep these pieces painterly, and they actually are in real life (a few close ups below to prove it:)), but somehow they tend to look stiff when photographed.

Anyway, I am finishing up the cradles on the last two paintings and am also putting on the picture wire, etc. Someone (sorry, can't recall who!) asked me awhile back about painting the edges so I thought I'd explain that a bit today. Obviously there are a lot of different ways to handle the edges. I have seen them left unfinished, I've seen the image painted around the sides and then the other day I saw a solution that I also like on Mary's blog. I think what Mary does works perfectly with her work. I probably would lean towards leaving my cradles unfinished, however when I do the underpaintings I always get the paint smudged all over the edges, it is nearly impossible not to since I work with my hands at this point. I have tried to tape the edges so that they'd be protected but then I got all kinds of weird clumps of paint chunks stuck between the tape and the corner of the panel, which was a look I didn't care for. Finally, after some experimentation, I decided that that I should just paint the edges. I experimented with using different colors, but that got too complicated and I eventually settled on black. So now I apply wood primer when I prep the panels and after I am entirely done with the painting, I sand the cradles and then paint them with two coats of black paint, sanding in between coats. I use a sanding block so I can just drag it flat along the surface. I have gotten this all down pretty well over the years, but when I paint the cradles I do sometimes get a ridge of the black paint on the actual surface of the painting. So whether that happens or not, I run a cotton rag along the edge of the surface of the painting after I paint each side, just in case.

I like how the black cradles look on my paintings: clean and modern, and allows the focus to be on the painting. And of course I love working on the cradled panels-I am very emotional about my edges and despite how easy it is for the corners to get dinged without the protection of a frame, I MUCH prefer that everything shows. However, as I tell my gallery directors, the cradled piece can be framed if one desires, but please, don't tell me about it!

Close ups of the painting shown above:


Melody said...

Interesting post Tracy. I personally love the edges painted black. There is certainly a very contemporary look to that which appeals to me. Are you finished now and ready for the show?

vivien said...

I totally agree about not framing - it imprisons the work doesn't it?

I too paint my edges - sometimes black, sometimes a colour that matches the dominant colour of the work and in the case of seascapes, frequently a pale buff titanium.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

I really love this painting, Tracy! Thanks for showing details of it.

The wrong frame is so awful! I like unframed, too, and really loved seeing your black cradles. It completes the piece very well.

Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

love the black edges, very modern.. thank you for the detail shots!

Shanster said...

I love it! It's really wonderful!!

Jan said...

Love the paintings. A gallery owner recently told me that most people end up changing the frame anyway, so might as well keep it unframed.

I've nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. More at:

M.A.H. said...

I can't remember if I commented or not, but I LOVE, "Right Curve." <3

... and framing is whole other discussion! I said the same thing to someone yesterday- Fine, just don't involve me!