Resident Frame Maker

The period style frames I’ve chosen to present my tonalism work are inspired by traditional techiques of a bygone era. My desire was to replicate the distressed patina of aged gilded frames from the Renaissance.

They are hand crafted from solid pine by my ‘resident frame maker’ husband, Richard.

When I have completed a new painting, I give him the dimensions and he goes to work in his shop at the back of the house.

When he’s finished all the cutting, routing, gluing, drying, nailing, sanding, etc. etc. He brings them up to my studio for finishing.


Finished result shown on a recent work. Click to enlarge

Now I take his beautiful new clean, pine frame and totally destroy it! First I put two layers of white primer all over it. The frame makers of old would have used a chalky white substance called gesso for this coat. Next, I paint it with two coats of a red oxide colour that substitutes for the red ‘bole’ clay that they would have used as an undercoat back in the day. When this is completely dry I add the ‘gold leaf’ on the routed edges of the inside of the frame opening. For this I substitute a good quality gold coloured metallic acrylic paint. Lastly I paint the face and sides with a very thick coat of black glossy paint using a technique that causes the worn, distressed look, making sure to let lots of the ‘bole’ show. I actually use this technique when applying the gold as well.

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