Monday, April 20, 2009

Closed Corner, Hand-Crafted Frame Design; Vol. 1: Gilded Frames

The Framing Walls at Chemers Gallery
Can you find Karen?

Custom framing and frame design is so much more than just four sticks of wood cut at 45 degree angles, paper and glass. It's an art form in itself. The first step lies in finding just the right fabrics, colors and frame for your specific piece of art and your personal sensibilities. Chemers Gallery has countless samples from which to choose - an entire drawer filled with dozens of fabric books, over 2,000 corner samples and a closet stuffed full of goodies and tricks. We've been doing our framing on-site for over 30 years and pride ourselves on the quality and craftsmanship of our work.

Let's start by taking a look at the video above to see how a moulding is water-gilded - can you believe how seamless they make it look? That's actual gold leafing being applied to a corner sample, just like the ones you see on our front framing walls. The process has changed little during its 600 year history. The gold comes in sheets that are just over three inches square, and each "leaf" is about 1/250,000th of an inch thick. That's thinner than a strand of hair! Before the moulding can be gilded, it must be sanded, carved, and sanded again. Then layers of gesso and clay are added and sanded a third time. This adds depth of color and texture. Once the gold has been applied, it's hand-burnished with agate stones, and then it's ready for the final finishing. This can be anything from distressing the frame, applying an antique glazing, and coating the frame with rotten stone. (Sounds gross, doesn't it?) Rotten stone is actually decomposed limestone, and gives the look of aged gunk in the crevices and hollows.

Clockwise from top left: Moon Gold finish, Lemon Gold finish, Yellow Gold finish, White Gold finish
Click to Enlarge

These closed-corner handmade frames are created at the workshop of the frame company, and shipped to us in one whole piece. Each frame is made specifically to the dimensions of the artwork. Finishes come in white gold, lemon gold, yellow gold and most recently, moon gold. If this isn't enough variety, the color of clay underneath the gold changes the hue. Clay can be applied in blue, red, purple, green and black. These finishes are often interchangeable, so if you like the carving of one moulding and the color of another, we can easily have it made for you. After all, it is "custom framing!"

Before understanding the gilding process, we hear "Why does the frame cost so much?" After our clients understand the time, skill and patience required to create these beautiful frames they wonder how they can be so reasonably priced. We know everything is relative.

As you can see, the process of creating these classic custom frames requires not only talent, but a genuine love for framing. These frames look stunning on paintings, elegant on antique botanics, handsome on etchings or watercolors. Would you like to frame one of your artworks in one of these magnificent frames? Just bring it in, and our designers will help you select just the right frame to complement your artwork.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Gerald Schwartz Goes Retro

Blue Swallow Motel
Route 66
24 x 20

We had the pleasure of a recent Gerald Schwartz sighting. He regaled us with stories of driving through the desert monarch butterfly migration to get his artwork to us, and of visiting the local pretzel factory to eat hot pretzels. (Excuse me, Jerry, but where are our hot pretzels?) He's painting diligently, and, as always, is looking to the skies for inspiration. Jerry is incorporating nostalgic elements into his brilliantly colored canvases, like Blue Swallow Motel. This infamous motel off Historic Route 66, in Santa Fe, serves as the setting for Jerry's trademark skies which pulls its jeweled colors from the retro neon sign. Created from the vantage point of the road-weary wanderer, Blue Swallow Motel reaches the wayward traveler in us all. Painted with gallery-wrapped edges, this piece is ready to hang in an office or living space.

Oil on Canvas
40 x 20

Judging from the paintings he brought us, we think Jerry may be suffering from itchy feet, despite his self-professed "homebody" status. Rumblings depicts a train hurtling past a railway crossing, bringing to mind that romantic notion of hopping a train for who-knows-where. Uncharacteristic of his landscapes, thus far, is the addition of the tree leaves in the foreground, giving a new sense of perspective and depth to the image. Gerald paints a small work every day that he will sometimes treat as a study for a larger work that will come to fruition some days, months, even years down the line. Rumblings is one such work that began as a small 6" x 8" oil on clayboard and grew into a 40" x 20" oil on canvas.

Check out the rest of Jerry's paintings on our website!

Follow these links to read more posts about this prolific painter:
Stories from Gerald Schwartz
New Works from Oil Painter Gerald Schwartz

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Chemers Gallery is Now on Twitter!

Medow Lark
From The Ugly Duckling
Illustration by Johnson & Fancher

There are new ways to stay connected cropping up every day that continue to shrink our world. One of the tools Chemers Gallery has been hearing about is Twitter, so we decided to see what it's all about!

Check out our "tweets" to keep updated on our treats!

Coming Soon: Look for us on Facebook!

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