Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holton Studio Landscape Show--A Heaven in the Eye

The opening for the current landscape show at Holton Studio, A Heaven in the Eye, took place last Saturday, Nov. 14th. The show features 7 Northern California landscape painters: Kevin Courter, Christin Coy, Mark Farina, Paul Kratter, Terry Miura, Robin Moore, Brian Mark Taylor. Tim Holton has assembled a strong show of landscape paintings, all beautifully framed in his Craftsman style frames, each one custom built to suite the painting it surrounds. The gallery is open daily and is located in Emeryville. Please visit the website for more information. http:/www.holtonframes.com

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cold Weather Painting, by Paul Kratter

In late February I spent a couple of days at Silver Lake just south of Lake Tahoe. A recent storm left a fresh layer of snow and cooler temperatures. I had a chance to do some sketching (I'll write about that later) and did one painting.
Winter painting offers some unique challenges, mainly staying warm. The obvious extremite to keep warm is your hands, but most of the time I'm able to paint glove-free. My feet always get cold standing in one spot and the freezing temperatures seem to slowly crawl up from my snow boots. Temperatures started at 18 degrees in the morning, but quickly rose as the sun warmed up the area.
Snow offers a unique color range from soft pinks to blues and purples. I saw this beautiful grove of pines standing out against the cool mountains in the background. The light and shadow patterns of the snow offset the strong graphic nature of the pines. I'm happy to sacrifice some cold feet in exchange for a chance to paint such a beautiful scene.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Terry Miura

Made another big step in this year's plan to grow the theme of the picture gallery as contemporary paintings of the local and northern California landscape: Sacramento painter Terry Miura recently delivered his first batch of paintings. They are a real privilege to have here, and I look forward to framing them and displaying them. Terry, who's a friend of Paul Kratter, is also a graduate of the Art Center in Pasadena and has a professional commercial art background, having worked in New York as a freelance illustrator for magazines and newspapers. Originally from San Diego, while in the Big Apple his paintings naturally focused on cityscapes, but now he's delving into the rural landscapes of his native state. He's got a wonderful tonalist palette, reflecting his gentle vision of rustic California as well as a humbler approach to the role of painting as just one of the arts that create an architectural interior.
Terry will be included in the group show coming up next fall, "A Heaven In the Eye," in which he'll have new work capturing the Sacramento Delta. (Christin Coy, Paul Kratter, Kevin Courter and possibly another artist will join him.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wedding Gifts

With wedding season approaching I thought I'd put out a couple of examples of pieces we've recently done as wedding gifts. This picture's framed close in a simple walnut "Hudson" frame with a gilt slip. Walnut, which is a tight-grained wood, has a smooth finish which suits the finish of the photo. The form gives a picture some space but has a graceful shape that suits the figurative subject matter. I think we struck the right balance between the formality of the image and occasion and the informality of the rustic porch (it's actually a kind of stage set at the Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC).

The second example is a mirror made for a customer who found an image in tile that she liked as an appropriate image for newlyweds, and wanted it integrated into a mirror to give as a wedding gift. (Mirrors make great wedding gifts, because when you get married you have to watch yourself.) I also carved the year of the wedding, 2009, into the bottom. The tiles are by Motawi Tileworks (the two on either side of the landscape tile are actually glaze samples). Made in quartersawn white oak (Weathered Oak stain) it measures about 38" x 18-1/2".

Friday, March 6, 2009

Carved Walnut

Of all the woods we use, we tend to emphasize quartersawn white oak. But walnut has always been a big favorite too, especially for carving. In preparing for the Paul Kratter show in June, the painting we decided to use for the publicity suggested walnut. Here's a corner detail of the frame, which is a compound design, meaning it's composed of more than one molding. This one has a cap molding as well as a liner. The liner has pale gold leaf laid directly on the walnut so the grain comes through.

The color of walnut harmonizes well with many pieces because it's rich without being too intense. We typically stain it - this one has a light stain - to mute it even further.

We use walnut frequently for drawing frames (i.e., narrow profiles), but it's often great on paintings and other items.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jean Sanchirico website

Jean Sanchirico, who we started representing last fall, has launched her website, www.jeansanchirico.com. You can preview the ones we have, which we've framed, at Jean's page on my site.
6/15/10 update: Jean is no longer represented by us, but is still a great friend (and the best neighbor!), and I urge you to follow her on her site. Her work is shown in our Portfolio, here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tom Killion

Was up at Pt Reyes this weekend and had a frame to drop off for Tom Killion, a wonderful printmaker who lives and works up there. If you don't know Tom's work, you're in for a treat. He works in the tradition of Japanese woodblock printmaking, but has been at it long enough to have evolved his own very distinctive style. Tom's extraordinarily well-traveled, and his work reflects his travels. But in recent years it seems he's focused more on California, having produced a book on the High Sierra, The High Sierra of California, and most recently, Mt Tamalpais in Marin County, California. Titled Tamalpais Walking,it's written with the poet Gary Snyder and published by Heyday Books. Tom was generous enough to give me a copy of the book, and it is very beautiful. Check him out at www.TomKillion.com. (There are a couple of Tom's prints shown framed in my portfolio here and here.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mural Feeling

We recently framed this Paul Kratter painting for a couple in Washington State, and I wanted to share one aspect in particular that we're emphasizing more and more. It's what Walter Crane, the first president of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society called "mural feeling" - the effect of a framed easel painting framed and hung to feel like a part of the wall. As Crane wrote, "The easel picture, properly considered and placed in its right relationship to its surroundings, by judicious treatment and hanging, and above all by a certain mural feeling, may be the acme of decoration. It’s relation to a scheme of decoration may be like that of a jewel in a dress." Two keys to achieving this effect are demonstrated by this piece: first, and more obviously, the very architectural feeling of the mortise-and-tenon frame; and second, the hanging system which allows the frame to hang right up against the wall with no gap, and especially importantly, without leaning forward and down the way pictures usually do when hung with a wire. The way we do this is to cut recesses on the back (the "reverse," in framer's parlance) of the frame and attach d-rings in the recesses. There's no wire; the picture hooks are carefully located on the wall so the d-rings hang directly off the hooks. With the d-rings and the picture hooks both in the recesses there's nothing to push the picture and frame away from the wall.

What's so important about this is the effect of unity and the aim of restoring the primal unity of all the arts, but in particular the most divided arts historically speaking, which are painting and architecture.

One other thing about this frame that I particularly like is the flush through tenons, shown here:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Painting trip to Mendocino

I recently took a trip with my friend Richard, also a painter, up to Mendocino and Fort Bragg. We traveled in Artie, our newly acquired RV. Our weather was amazing for January, sunny and warm during the day, cool at night with some fog. The coast line was glorious with one picturesque cove after another. We stopped and painted where we could find a place to pull over and enjoyed having Artie to take a lunch break in or just get warm in at the end of the day. In Fort Bragg we met up with a painting friend, Eleanor, and joined her plein air group to paint at Navarro State Beach on Thursday 1/29. We ended up parking the RV there for two nights, it was so beautiful. The beach was full of driftwood and there were great cliffs to paint in the afternoon light. This photo was taken of me painting at Navarro Beach on Jan. 29th. I love using my portable Easy L easel, small and compact.
Our next adventure in February will take us to the South West. I will take photos and send in some updates on where we are as well as painting spots that we like.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jefferson Hayman

A couple of weeks ago an artist and customer, Mallory Lake (more on her another day) forwarded me a link to the website of Jefferson Hayman (www.jeffersonhayman.com), a New York photographer with an exceptional interest in picture frames. We had a nice chat on the phone. Turns out he used to be the director of Eli Wilner and Co. Jefferson and I share a fondness for the old oak frames. (More on those in my article in the current Style:1900.) Peruse Jefferson’s site.