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8 Steps to Build a Straight Frame – When Your Painting Isn’t

Occasionally you will have a slightly crooked painting. Perhaps it wasn’t constructed right, or in my case the stretcher bars moved slightly while I was stretched the canvas. Normally you could cut your frame pieces simply by measuring each side of the painting. But, you don’t want to continue the crookedness. Here is how I solve this problem when making a wood frame: Lay the painting down flat – paint side up. Cut one corner’s worth of wood that you are framing – this should give you two pieces with 45 degree angles cut. In my example I am working with the upper left corner. Use a corner miter clamp to make sure that your angle is “square.” If you don’t have a clamp, you can fashion one of your own, but you will consistently need to check that it is still square in all the following steps. Put the corresponding corner of the painting in to that corner of the frame as flush as you can get. Lay out the other two boards (in this case the right and the bottom). Make the other three corners square (right angles). When all 4 corners are square you will find gaps between the painting and the wooden frame. (These gaps wouldn’t normally exist on a square painting.) Measure how large you have to make each length of the frame to have it compensate for the gaps. Follow me here: Share this...

How to Properly Wire a Painting

The goals of wiring a painting properly are that: the painting is securely and safely hung, and that the viewer cannot see the wire. Materials: Wire. Make sure it is the proper size for the weight of the artwork. Use wire that is meant to hang artwork. This wire is braided and often called “framers wire.” On the package it will tell you how much weight the wire can hold. Wire cutters. I have used a variety of wire cutters over the years. Go with whatever works best for you. Small eye screws, or wire strap hangers. Wire strap hangers are great when attaching the wire to the back. Small eye screws work well for attaching to inside of the frame. Optional: Needle nose pliers. If you wire is too heavy duty, sometimes a bit of help is nice. Steps to attach the wire: Turn the artwork over. Make sure it is on a surface that is clean and won’t scratch the artwork if it gets jostled. Choose the location for your hanging hardware. It needs to be about 1/3 down from the top. If it is too high you won’t have the space you need to hang and not have the wire come above the top edge. If too low the balance will be off and the top can kick off the wall instead of hanging snuggly against the wall. Attach the two hangers or eye screws. Measure the length of wire that you need. The easiest way I have found to do this is to put one end through the hanger loop. Leave yourself about 2-3 inches...

Oldies, but Goodies

Oldies, but Goodies: Henry Cowell State Park Series With all the New Year looking-forwardness that comes with this time of year, I thought I’d try to balance that with a bit of looking back.  I love my painting “Amongst the Redwood Sorrel.” It is one of my favorites. I have no idea why it has never sold. It’s come very close to sold a few times. Some paintings are like that. I went on a hike in April of 2008. My best friend and I were on a hiking kick where we went to the Fall Creek section of Henry Cowell Redwoods every weekend. Here we would burn some calories, shed some work stress (still had my “day job” back then), and enjoy our friendship in a beautiful place. One day the Redwood Sorrel were blooming at the same time as the Trillium. I took lots of photos, and eventually painted it while living in the Midwest. In the heart of the snowiest winter in 40 years I pulled out my paints and saved my sanity with a bit of Spring. Painting the Redwoods can have it’s challenges. The lighting is really, extremely, even. When you have tall mountains covered in very tall trees, it is all shade. With the exception of when a tree has recently fallen, then a patch of sunlight makes it all the way down the forest floor, or in the case of “Fall Creek Light” all the way to the crystal clear creek that flows through the forest. I live about an hour and half from the redwoods now. As soon as I leave...

An Open Letter on Why We Need the NEA

To Anyone Who Thinks We Should Cut the National Endowment for the Arts: Civilization and culture are what happen after someones basic needs are met. They can go forth and be the best that humanity can be, rising above “where is my next meal coming from?” When you look back on cultures throughout history what do you think of? You think of their way of life, perhaps their government, and always their art. Architecture, music, painting, sculpture, writings. We think of who they were, their culture. Not just where on the map they lived. Our culture is what we make as humans that we pass to the next generation, it is the story of who we are as a people. I am a capitalist. I believe that the best things in this life come when you have a government that lets you follow your passion. And lets you serve others to the best of your ability. That service is rewarded with money, which you then have the freedom to spend in the best way you see fit. I believe in a limited government. It should get out of my way because I have things to do. I believe in nice people and in communities that help each other. And, I’m okay if you believe I am wrong. And while all of that is true. While I am a capitalist, and lean heavily towards Libertarianism, I also believe in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). It protects our culture. It promotes our civilization. You want to make America great again? America is already great. You want to cut the...

Enchanted Forest Trail, Applegate

I am so glad I was told the trail was a mile long and never has snow. Both of which are horribly inaccurate, but knowing that might have kept me from hiking to the top of a mountain today. We set off from the trail head at 9:30 am. The muddy beginning of the path was frozen. Have you hiked on frozen mud? Your brain gets in the way. Trust your feet. Not quite a mile in we came to sign post. Which way? We decided to go to the top. It isn’t too much further until you start hiking through the “enchanted forest.” These are some of the larger trees not logged at lower elevations in Southern Oregon. Unfortunately, there were fewer of these trees than I had hoped. But they are great. I think I saw the largest (non-Ponderosa) pine tree of my life. It was very wet out there. Luckily I had my new boots. A few times the path suddenly becomes a creek. Once the trail started to really climb the mountain, water was no longer an issue. At the first outlook I could see the ridge of the nearby mountain. Another steep mile and the views really started. The beautiful Applegate valley lay out before our eyes. The valley floor was covered in mist. Overall I recommend this trail. I hear that it is great in the spring with all the flowers. Not sure if any paintings will come out this hike, but it was sure great to get out and see more of this beautiful world.       Follow me here: Share...

Boots! And a trail buddy

The family and I took a small hike in the Cathedral Hills, outside of Grants Pass, Oregon. We decided to take the easy loop trail, “Ponderosa.” This gave me the opportunity to try out my two new items. The FitBit Alta my hubby gave me, and my new hiking boots! After a few different attempts to replace my trusty old hiking boots with cheaper ones, I finally got fed up with cheap boot issues and decided to bite the bullet. Luckily this decision corresponded nicely with a REI clearance sale. I decided to get newer version of the same boots I’ve had. My old boots I believe are from 1995, or thereabouts. You’ll notice they are ripped, chewed, rusty, painted, and a very well loved. I took them out for their first hike. According to the FitBit it was 8,500 steps. Along the trail we stepped aside to let another hiker pass. As it often happens, we started up a conversation. Turns out he is also a painter. And, we had both heard of each other. A bit of fun that was! He is also a trail volunteer and supplied my daughters with some awesome Smokey the Bear stickers in the parking lot.   Follow me here: Share this...

A Simple Hike

I am really amazed by some of the people and places I see on Instagram. Everyone I follow lately seems to be hiking to the top of a mountain and spending the night in a fire lookout shelter. It can make me feel inadequate. Like I have to be a super adventurous 20-something wearing really cute hiking gear. Unless I get a time machine, this is simply not happening. And that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. Because I have the freedom to be me. To live the life that works for me and my family. Last week this was squeezing in a quick hike. For an hour and a half we enjoyed the Catherdral Hills trails just outside the city limits of Grants Pass. We were out in nature, enjoying ourselves, seeking beautiful vistas. We found a trail that was stroller accessible, so our toddler “hiked” while sitting. It was a great day. It was simple. But the best part was that we did it. Follow me here: Share this...

The Shortest Hike of My Life

Attending a conference in Golden, Colorado, I spent three days surrounded by other professional artists learning about our other craft: business. You get asked, “What kind of art do you make?” at a conference like this. Then you get asked another 80 times by people who haven’t met you yet. You get a lot of practice explaining what you do and why you do it. I discovered I can explain my art practice in three words. Ready? I paint hikes. This super short explanation is usually followed by longer one. What does this mean? Do you paint your hikes (yes) or someone else’s (yes, too)? Do you work from photos (almost always)? Would you like to paint on location (sure, how do I get a 2 year old to sit still that long?)? After this amazing conference was over, and I had spent several days with a gorgeous view of the mountains around Golden, I figured I better take a hike, right? (Like the art police are going to show up and get me if I go all the way to Golden and don’t hike…) I found the nearest trailhead and walked over to it late Saturday. I reached the top of the town and the middle of the mountain during that beautiful golden hour where the sun light is perfect. I started my hike. Did I mention I am terrified of snakes? Like, throw up my hands and do an awkward dance while shrieking, scared? Did I mention that I am ten times more scared of rattlesnakes than any other kind? I stopped to take a photo. I walked...

Oregon Coast Trail series

For years I have been painting hikes. My new series, Oregon Coast Trail, a small step in a new direction of painting a hike that I didn’t take. My hiking buddy, Pete Miller, hiked the entire 382 mile trail in 21 days this summer. (Wow, right?) As he hiked he sent me photos. The First Part of the Series In my first set of paintings I painted as he hike. Everyday I opened up my email to find a new set of photos, I’d pluck one out of the all the amazing sites, and paint it. It was a great way to vicariously enjoy the experience of the hike, without walking 20 miles a day. Current Paintings Right now (September 2016) I am painting 30 paintings in 30 days. With all these photos I am looking through, and really studying one scene as I paint it, I really feel as if I know the whole coast. In fact, I had a new experience this week. While at the doctor’s office I was staring at the photos of the coast on the waiting room wall. I realized that I knew where every one of the was taken! I really have experienced this whole hike, through painting. Select a painting for yourself at my website. The series Oregon Coast Trail is listed under Paintings of Oregon.  Let me know what you think! Are you enjoying this hike too? Follow me here: Share this...