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A Gallery Owner’s Guide to Framing: Why it’s framed…or Why not?

I wrote this for my newsletter and it got alot of attention…so it is for you: (PS, wrote this a few years ago, but i guess i never hit “publish” because it was still in my drafts…oops)

We’ve all been there. We find a great little piece and think “I love it, but I don’t love the frame.” The Gallery owner may say, “No Problem..I’ll take it out” or…No Can Do.” Why? What’s the difference and what can you do about it? (This custom frame job would make me reluctant to unframe!)

First, “why can’t I buy that without the frame?”. I’ve heard the question enough, I know a good percentage of you ask. Most of the time, the answer is simple. In many cases, shipping or packing a piece of work without framing may significantly increase the likelihood of damage to the piece. Take a pastel, oil pastel, or traditional watercolor, and taking the piece out of the frame, and in this case, the glass, put’s the piece at risk. Pastel is loosely affixed to it’s media, usually an archival “sanded” paper. It is framed substantianlly away from the glass and the mat. This is done to prevent static electricity from pulling pastel from the paper and sticking it to the mat and glass. Taking it out of its frame requires great care in packing and shipping (read: $$). Not that it can’t be done….just that it takes much more care in packing. Similarly, oil pastel works on paper require framing behind glass, because they never really dry. Shipping without adequate protection increases the likelihood of smudging. Traditional watercolor (on paper) is susceptible to damage from moisture and scratching.

That said, there are still ways to avoid the dangers and get the frame job you love. The first possibility is to take the whole piece to your favorite framer and have it unframed, and reframed by a professional. Why go to that expense? If your piece is not a “stock” size, then cutting mats, mounting, spacing and framing can make the most prolific artist shudder. I seldom frame my own work. I’m the professional at painting. Let the framing professional do the framing. I tend to wind up with bloody fingers and great stress. If, on the other hand, your piece is a “standard” or “stock” size, it may be as simple as picking up a precut mat and frame from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. So, what is a stock size? 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 9 x 12, 11 x 14, 12 x 16, 16 x 20, 18 x 24 (all in inches) are standard stock sizes for most pre-made frames, many premade mats and many pre-packaged paks of glass and foamcore.

If your original is 15 1/2 x 22 (a standard 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper) or other non-stock size, you may find it difficult to do it yourself. The warehouse stores (like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s) are often a less expensive option, though they won’t offer as wide a range of high quality framing options as most professional frame shops. Personally, I use the services of Jim and Lisa Cox, (yes, Jim is an excellent artist) at Taos Do It Yourself Picture Framing, in Taos. No, you don’t have to do it yourself…but they’ll help you if you’re so inclined.

What about those new watercolors on canvas? Those oils and acrylics on canvas…all with painted edges, unframed? They are actually suitable as they are..and often hang that way in galleries and homes, and museums. Unframed canvases don’t work in your decor? Ask your frame shop about “floating Canvas frames”. These frames, are as high quality as any other wood moulding, will “float” the canvas in the frame, allowing those painted edges to be seen while giving a more traditional look to the piece. More and more artists are moving to the canvas, with new canvas being “watercolor ready”. I love it. I love that the canvas can take layers and layers of watercolor, that I can finish it with protective, invisible, non yellowing varnish, and that there is no glass or frame necessarily reguired, saving me and my customer LOTS OF MONEY! If I can save $200-$400 in framing, just think what you save when you buy it! Plus, remember those standard sizes above? Most stock canvases are in those sizes as well. It’s not until you get into large, custom stretched canvas that you get outside those sizes.

So…next time you feel prompted to ask about that frame, consider this article..What is the medium? Are you shipping it? Can you get it safely home? But by all means, ask. I’ll answer your questions and help you choose the best course.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Time to get productive…

It’s been about two weeks, I think, since the last post. Sorry, guess I’ve just been busy.

The brick is still being slowly laid in the great drying out of the room that held the hot tub. Sand is mostly dry now, and the adobes are dry, but the mud in between is still damp, so I’m holding repainting the walls for more dry time. I’ll finish the brick after the walls are painted, anyway.

In the meantime, alot has been happening around here. Let’s see, since I last wrote, I was elected President of the Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, held the annual planning meeting (which was very productive!) and have been diligently working on the stack of commissions sitting in my studio. In the middle working on the 4 16 x 20’s I got the drawing done for an 18 x 24 and got a rush order for an ink and watercolor illustration for a local builder.

That, has been quite a challenge. The unfinished house Ray Renfroe of BlueRay homes is building is going to be stunning…but capturing the detail through the array of trees, scaffolding and workers has been a task! I spent 3 hours on the drawing yesterday, another hour last night and I have sent it off to a friend to print it on paper big enough that I can transfer it to watercolor paper in a half sheet (15 1/2 x 22). Once transferred, I’ll ink all the lines, then wash in some watercolor. I have to have it done by tomorrow…so hopefully she can get it printed this morning! Whew!

So, off I go, to add a few more layers to the three canvases I have in process. Feast or famine…I’ll take the feast!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Painting on a wet, grey chilly afternoon

Well, it’s not Sunday, but close enough and I need to let my painting dry. May take a while since its watercolor on canvas and its’ pouring a cold rain outside. Relaxing though. Actually, just cold enough to make long for the encaustic again. There’s really just something about that hot, brightly colored wax that makes me smile. Yes, I’ll be doing it again, just as soon as i can figure where and how. The hot pigment (sometimes toxic, like the cobalts and cadmiums) waft into the air. Can’t do that in the gallery, where I generally end up painting, since more oft than not its where I am. Not at home studio either…not good enough ventilation to counter the fumes. But it calls me…so I’m sure I’ll figure it out!

So, back to watercolor it is. Besides, I’ve been working on this project for about, hmm, four months or so. It’s a Diptich, but vertical this time. Two 24 x 18 canvases. Hollyhocks. The tall, leggy, big bright blooms lend themselves to a vertical diptich. It’sbeen fun, but so much layering to get those bold colors, it’s taken a long time. Getting there though. Will be done within a week or so I think. YAY! I’ll post photos, but no video this time or it would suck away tons of bandwidth and time! I spose I could speed it up…that might actually be comical!

To be honest, I’m on pins and needles. Today is the 11th of October. I’m headed South soon, to paint in Mexico (have you signed up for the class yet? There is still room….click here.) So why the pins and needles? Because I have asked to be let out of my lease for the Gallery.
I sent my notice on September 30th. I’ve heard nothing. Silence. Limbo. Cross your fingers, and pray for me. I’m determined, but stuck. I’ll let you know what happens as soon as I know. I’m hanging on………… If I move I can save ALOT of $$$. It’s scary and overwhelming. My lease is not up till July, but I don’t think I’ll make it till then if I don’t make some serious changes. Like moving. It’s a visibility thing, but more, it’s a $$$ thing. Economic disaster isn’t trickling down, but rather, pouring, like the torrent of rain outside. But I do have options…IF I can move, but here’s the clincher…I need to do so by October 24. AAAAAAACCCCCCKKKK! Speaking of moving, maybe it’s time to move South permanently. The headlong hurl toward socialism has my stomach churning and my heart burning. NO! NO! NO! The two national parties look pretty much the same to me. Only left and lefter. I know I’m pretty much an anomoly, an advocate for the arts, an artist, a gallery owner and NOT a Democrat (read Socialist).

Thomas Jefferson, if only you were here now. Or would your voice only be drowned out in the cacophony of naysayers and liars that call themselves the media? I’m sick of it. Period. Now I’ve got myself all worked up again. Better go see if that painting is ready for more.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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painting, videos and stuff

Things have slowed to a crawl here in Angel Fire, and dismay with the local newspaper notwithstanding I’ve been in painting bliss. Free speech had nothing to do with it. That they printed a blatant attack on the character of our Mayor, our new CEO of the EDO, and the hard working volunteers that are intent on improving the community, had me furious. That they devised a headline pulled from the tabloids to sensationalize it, was downright mean.

And enough on that. Thank God I had a commissioned order to fill, because it got me painting again, and Thank God that the commission was to paint on Yupo paper, because I had to rinse and wipe it off three times before I did something I was happy with. While I didn’t film the wipe off parts, I did film the final process and the “lifting” technique I used to create the daisies. You can watch the video here. (It is just under 10 minutes.)

And here is finished triptic:

Each one is 6 1/2 x 18. I’ll finish them with a white mat and black frosted metal frame. Painting on Yupo is an incredibly free-ing process to me. The brush and paint just glide across the paper, moving and blending, rich and true color. It does take a long time to dry…especially if it’s raining outside! But it’s worth the wait!

On other matters, my newsletter will be out within the next 24 hours, and I finally got the new website uploaded, complete with that shopping cart I’ve been working on for what seems like forever! At any rate..it’s “Done” (somewhat of a misnomer, since what’s on there will hopefully change on a regular basis! (as items sell!) At least I learned alot in the process. The company I bought the editor from, Ewisoft, was incredible helpful in working with me to figure it all out. I’m on a first name basis with their Tech Support!

It will likely be quiet today as the road (Crestview Drive) is being paved (YAY!!) and there is a detour to get here. We’ve waited a long time for this! I’m hopeful the paved road will be the begining of the “easy to find” improvements we (the tenants) need to help ensure our success! Yay, and thank you, Alex and Jerry!

Back to work…see ya!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Been a while, but got a new video!

Hi. I know, it’s been a while. I normally post on Sundays, but the past few I’ve been traveling. Playing catch up now. At any rate, I did manage to get a new Watercolor Technique video out. Jacqui Binford-Bell stopped by the gallery to show us how she pours watercolor on canvas…and believe me, it’s not what you might think! Take a look:

She’s already sent me photos of her progress and process so there will be a follow up shortly so you can see the finished piece. In the meantime, catch Jacqui at the New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair and the Expo New Mexico State Fair Grounds, this weekend. I imagine she’s already this piece popped in a frame to have on display at the show.

Also, this Friday is the monthly Fourth Friday Reception. I’m featuring the work of local Shirley Ellingboe, the newest addition to my gallery. I still recall the days when she was giggling through watercolor class…and then she just took off! Now she’s mostly working in oil and that’s what I have for the show. If you’re in Angel Fire come out on Friday, starting at 5.

Also new at the gallery is some really awesome new abstracts from Kevin McDermott…and no, we’re not related, at least as far we know. Take a look. They are all unique, and interesting and beautiful, if a bit fragile (at the corners.) I really love this one:

Isn’t it gorgeous? It is 24x 18, and framed. Mixed Media and acrylic. He’s really pushing the envelope and each one is better and better. And this one, on the right is stunning as well. The depth of color and textures and simply delicious! Believe it or not, he brought me a dozen new works in this genre!

Please feel free to comment on the video …and anything else here! See ya next time!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Beautiful Day of Rest

In the chaos that has been my life recently, now I am quietly enjoying my only day off in the next 8. Tomorrow I begin the big move to the new “Angel Fire ArtSpace Too”. What? Gee, did I not mention this? Of course I didn’t. It was all a big Secret…but the word is out. I’m opening a second gallery, though it’s small, at the Resort. Just a few steps from the Village House, below the Chili Lift. Or, just outside the doors of the Garden Court. Tomorrow I take a truck load of art, jewelry and office supplies to the new space. Tuesday I have an all day Chamber Planning meeting, Wednesday I’ll set the new space up and make it look smashing, Thursday, I work at the main Gallery, Friday, is the GRAND OPENING of the new space. Oh, and Friday night? The May Fourth Friday Reception! Egad! Craziness! The Gallery does look fabulous if I say so myself. Last week more than 25 new pieces went up on the wall. Totally new. Just in time since next weekend is Memorial Weekend, and both Galleries will be open Sunday…and Monday. If I can make it that long! Of course, I will, but this may be the last post till the following Tuesday!

At the same time, I’ve been madly working on rebuilding the July Season of Angel Fire Mountain Theatre after the badly timed cancellation by Texas Tech. News on that front will hopefully be coming in the next few days. We are very close to a deal. It won’t look anything like the past 11 Seasons..but it will be First Class.

Coming on the 30th (a week after the 4th Friday) the Gallery will host a reception for the Moreno Valley Arts Council’s “Reflections” show. The juried, themed exhibit features works by artists from around Northern New Mexico, in everything from photographs to works in watercolor. It is all 2-d work. It promises to be fun and way different from the usual fare at the gallery. The Artists Reception will begin at 5:30 and awards will be presented at 7pm. Be sure to check it out. Businesses are invited to get a sneak peak for advance purchases at 5pm.
Proceeds from purchases will be benefit the MVAC and the Artist.

My plate is very full right now…and I’m definitely not hungry!

The weather is lovely right now..crisp, clear and bright blue skies. It’s a great time to come to Angel Fire! See ya soon?

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Painting the Violin

Well, I didn’t think it would be this hard. When I was originally approached by Judie Hass, who was working (volunteering) for Music from Angel Fire, and asked to paint a violin (on it..not of it) for their 25th Anniversary Season, I was delighted. I thought “Cool, honored to be asked,” and indeed I am. But I never thought it would take me two months of agonizing and countless designs wadded up and thrown away before I could just settle down and do what comes naturally to me….paint. It’s so bizarre, how our perceptions and deep seated beliefs can so hinder us..or propel us to success. It went the whole range. “Why did I say I’d do this? How do I always get myself into the places? What makes me think I can paint? How am I supposed to paint watercolor on a violin?” Ugh. This morning I ask John if he could see the violin on my head. Or was it on my back, I wondered out loud.

Good grief. Get a grip, Kat. I toyed with the idea of taking the truck to Taos, since the bed is loaded with glass and cardboard from the last 7 months, awaiting the trek to the recycling facility. John said, “you need to paint. you’ll feel better if you do.” The recycling would sit in the bed another week. So be it. So I headed to the studio and dilly dallyed. I opened the window shade. Turned on the music system and noticed the cd tray was empty. “where are those cds?” that took another 20 minutes, finding them. Set out my painting supplies. Can you see how I was procrastinating? Why? Plain and simple..fear of failure and self doubt. Maybe if I avoid it, it will just go away. Not likely. And I know better.

One dip of the watercolor brush into the pigment, into the water, and back…ahhh. Like a splash of cool water on hot day. Swish it around a bit in the puddle in the palette. breathe in. breathe out. And then I was done. At least that how it seems to me. Yes, about 9 hours passed. Who knew? Not me. I’m looking for a suitable expletive. Can’t find one. I LOVE that! I’m not tired, (look at me typing away)…but energized. Oh, why oh why do I fill my days with everything BUT painting?! After all these years you’d think I’d be over this by now. Yes, that, “can I do it?” “what makes me think I’m an artist” still stalks me. But I do know how to overcome it. It boggles my mind that I put it off. ACK! Sound familiar? hmmmm.

Anyway, Violin, painted. Not quite finished…needs a bit of silver (25th Anniversary, remember), and then varnish to seal it. It’s watercolor, after all. I’ll put a picture up later. Or maybe I’ll wait for you to find it at the auction. we’ll see. At any rate, I’m breathing again. Hallelujah!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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A Gallery Owner’s Guide to Framing: Why it’s framed…or Why not?

I wrote this for my newsletter and it got alot of attention…so it is for you:

We’ve all been there. We find a great little piece and think “I love it, but I don’t love the frame.” The Gallery owner may say, “No Problem..I’ll take it out” or…No Can Do.” Why? What’s the difference and what can you do about it?

First, “why can’t I buy that without the frame?”. I’ve heard the question enough, I know a good percentage of you ask. Most of the time, the answer is simple. In many cases, shipping or packing a piece of work without framing may significantly increase the likelihood of damage to the piece. Take a pastel, oil pastel, or traditional watercolor, and taking the piece out of the frame, and in this case, the glass, put’s the piece at risk. Pastel is loosely affixed to it’s media, usually an archival “sanded” paper. It is framed substantially away from the glass and the mat. This is done to prevent static electricity from pulling pastel from the paper and sticking it to the mat and glass. Taking it out of its frame requires great care in packing and shipping (read: $$). Not that it can’t be done….just that it takes much more care in packing. Similarly, oil pastel works on paper require framing behind glass, because they never really dry. Shipping without adequate protection increases the likelihood of smudging. Traditional watercolor (on paper) is susceptible to damage from moisture and scratching.

That said, there are still ways to avoid the dangers and get the frame job you love. The first possibility is to take the whole piece to your favorite framer and have it unframed, and reframed by a professional. Why go to that expense? If your piece is not a “stock” size, then cutting mats, mounting, spacing and framing can make the most prolific artist shudder. I seldom frame my own work. I’m the professional at painting. Let the framing professional do the framing. I tend to wind up with bloody fingers and great stress. If, on the other hand, your piece is a “standard” or “stock” size, it may be as simple as picking up a precut mat and frame from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. So, what is a stock size? 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 9 x 12, 11 x 14, 12 x 16, 16 x 20, 18 x 24 (all in inches) are standard stock sizes for most pre-made frames, many premade mats and many pre-packaged paks of glass and foamcore.

If your original is 15 1/2 x 22 (a standard 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper) or other non-stock size, you may find it difficult to do it yourself. The warehouse stores (like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s) are often a less expensive option, though they won’t offer as wide a range of high quality framing options as most professional frame shops. Personally, I use the services of Jim and Lisa Cox, (yes, Jim is an excellent artist) at Taos Do It Yourself Picture Framing, in Taos. No, you don’t have to do it yourself…but they’ll help you if you’re so inclined.

What about those new watercolors on canvas? Those oils and acrylics on canvas…all with painted edges, unframed? They are actually suitable as they are..and often hang that way in galleries and homes, and museums. Unframed canvases don’t work in your decor? Ask your frame shop about “floating Canvas frames”. These frames, are as high quality as any other wood moulding, will “float” the canvas in the frame, allowing those painted edges to be seen while giving a more traditional look to the piece. More and more artists are moving to the canvas, with new canvas being “watercolor ready”. I love it. I love that the canvas can take layers and layers of watercolor, that I can finish it with protective, invisible, non yellowing varnish, and that there is no glass or frame necessarily reguired, saving me and my customer LOTS OF MONEY! If I can save $200-$400 in framing, just think what you save when you buy it! Plus, remember those standard sizes above? Most stock canvases are in those sizes as well. It’s not until you get into large, custom stretched canvas that you get outside those sizes.

So…next time you feel prompted to ask about that frame, consider this article..What is the medium? Are you shipping it? Can you get it safely home? But by all means, ask. I’ll answer your questions and help you choose the best course. Angel Fire ArtSpace…Putting Art within Reach.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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I’m Back!

Wow. I can’t believe what a blur July was! Fabulous, though, if I do say so myself! Thanks to all the hard work by Texas Tech theatre students, my board members and all the volunteers who helped make this season of live theatre a success. As you may have guessed my long absence here was due to the manic days of AFMT and Angel Fire ArtsFest too. No execuse, just fact.

But here I am again, and my wheels are spinning like mad. Its been a long time coming, but now my video project is days away from fruition! The contract signed with a reproduction house, the website under construction and my VISA card cracking under the weight, but with high hopes for wild success! My gratitude to all the help and partnership of Turri Video Productions. The video will retail for $49 and will be available at my gallery (Angel Fire ArtSpace) and online. The official site will be www.howtopaintflorals.com but there will be links to get there from the primary site of www.angelfireartspace.com

In the meantime, I’ve been a painting train. I’ve fallen in love with Fredrix Watercolor Canvas and I just can’t stop! It’s the most fabulous painting surface I’ve encountered and I can’t imaging going back to paper, and framing and glass! I can put layers and layers and layers down and the canvas doesn’t care. It takes it and more. The layering creates that deep bold bright color that I love.

This series, The Choral Series, I just finished. I had the first two (The Chorus and The Trio) at ArtsFest…the final one, The Soloist, (not pictured yet) I finished today. All are watercolor on canvas, finished with an archival clear varnish. Maybe the next video will be how to paint watercolor on canvas! Actually, if there’s class you’d like to see in DVD, post a comment here and tell me what it is!

If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, do so at my gallery site (click the link above). Get notification of upcoming events and news, and even specials that are promoted only in the newsletter! This month, its the 4th Annual Music From Angel Fire Gallery Gala Reception on Thursday (not Friday) August 23. I’ll have tons of new work (Roy Brown is bringing a bunch of new pottery) and we’ll introduce our newest addition to the gallery, Taos artist, Tom Noble.
Make sure to mark your calendars to come!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Bright Sunshine

Wow, what a difference 12 hours can make! Though it was a frigid start (19 at my house) the wonderful New Mexico sunshine is warming the air and melting the snow. I’m back at the gallery and preparing for a class this afternoon…”Pouring Watercolor and Innovative Masking”. Should be fun, albeit a tad messy.

If you are one of the many who says,”I could never learn to paint…I can’t draw a straight line”, then I have news for you! Drawing a straight line has nothing to do with learning to draw. Coming soon, I’ll be releasing my FIRST video! “How to Paint a Poppy that Pops” is a step by step guide to learning to draw and paint that painting that you’ll be proud to frame! I’ll also have an e-book version ready at about the same time (I hope). Sign up to keep up with the blog and you’ll get early notice of the launch date. You can also head to www.angelfireartspace.com
where you can sign up for my email newsletter. It’s free, and is the only place to get first notice of gallery specials.

Time to set up tables and lay out supplies. Happy Painting!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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