Wednesday, November 26, 2008


My artist friend was overwhelmed at the intelligent and varied feedback about the framing question last post. Thank you, blogging friends! She read everything and considered all the angles and decided to take a middle-ground approach when responding to the gallerist's edict. There's no question that the gallery is exploiting the artist and, in the process, alienating her. On the other hand, they appear to be making decisions out of economic fear, which is clouding their ability to look at the bigger picture. Since the artist knew she couldn't agree with the gallery's terms she decided to offer a third option that would be less expensive for her and require the gallery to pony up a little, too. She asked them to ship her the artwork, still framed, and she would then attempt to exchange the faulty frame for a new one, in effect taking the problem back to the manufacturer. She will then reframe the artwork and ship it back with a carefully drafted Statement of Condition (and Returns Policy) for signature. Future shipments of artwork (if she decides to continue the relationship) would also include the document.

And while on the subject of resolving problems, I have been working on a very special house portrait, but it started out badly. It was built in 1906 in Kitchener, Ontario, and has had many lives and incarnations over the past century, its latest being a sort of halfway house, and it is truly a beauty. Jo-Anne's happiest memories are from that house so I knew I wanted to get it right, but the photos I had were really difficult to work from so, after laying down the underpainting, I sent the image to Jo-Anne and cried for help. She responded by sending her husband to Kitchener to take more photos of it, now that the leaves have dropped, and digging up/scanning a couple of photos of it from when they lived there 20 years ago (when a number of the details were different). I then decided to take an unorthodox approach and, rather than sanding down, re-gessoing and starting again, I put down a wash combining dioxazine violet and pthalo blue, and re-drew the basic outline of the house in white conte over the top. As you can see the original underpainting appears like a ghost beneath the surface, much like the way the house has changed but remained the same house over the decades. The final painting will have very subtle references to the original.

It's going really well now. Sometimes it's like the house is painting itself and I can hardly wait to finish the duties in My Other Life so I can get back to it. Stay tuned for the final product; I only have about a day's work left.


Blogger Common Tater said...

That is uberkewl! You are so kreatif.

What a marvelous method of capturing an entity that is evolving for others and yet retains a myriad of emotional value for it's former occupant.

Framers may think of themselves as editors but I personally don't equate it with the same degree of resolution that record or film editors enjoy. That being said, a framer can compliment or even enhance a piece, but they can also distract and nullify many of the qualities.

Something that I will pay more attention to in the future. Thanks.

26/11/08 12:34 p.m.  
Blogger Common Tater said...

sorry that was me..I clicked twice when the phone ((((rang))))
switchin' to decaf!

26/11/08 12:35 p.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

Ah this must be the same painting I saw a version of on flickr a few minutes ago... I love the layering and the intensity of the colours.

26/11/08 1:14 p.m.  
Blogger Toni said...

Cool the painting that is. :)

You sure are doing a lot of house portraits. You have a little niche with your style.

26/11/08 3:29 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Common Tater: pardon me? Speak English! :) Seriously, though, I'm feelin' all sort of freaky about the woo-woo stuff this pertikler pitcher is havin' fer me. (As for me, I need to quit drinkin' that there Mountin Doo.)

Caro: Don't say that! It's changing drastically as we speak!

Toni: What style is that? "Immature"? :) (OK OK -- there's a niche in naive I know.)

26/11/08 9:51 p.m.  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Ooh! Now if I were the recipient I'd want to say "stop right now!" because I love the shadowy look. But I can also see how it will emerge, in colour. Lucky Jo-Anne!

As to the previous post's responses...I went back and re read them and I think the artist probably has taken the right step.

26/11/08 9:59 p.m.  
Blogger Melody said...

Can't wait to see the the piece when it's finished. Strangely enough it looks like a house we lived in when we were in Kitchener back in 1993.

27/11/08 5:06 a.m.  
Blogger Grammacello.JoAnne said...

Well it is a typical K-W house in some ways- very plain as they go.What makes you think you lived there? Or is it just similar?The way this work is evolving, anything seems possible. I love each stage but the final one is where it was meant to arrive at.

27/11/08 10:16 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Dinah: I took your advice about the shadowy look and tried to retain it. Stay tuned!

Melody: How old was the house? As old as this one?

Jo-Anne: I plan to post the final one I showed on Flickr but will make that tweak to the window later.

28/11/08 5:17 p.m.  

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