Category Archives: Behind the scenes

Yorkville art show in March: The Highway Series

I’m thrilled to be having a solo show of my art in the Yorkville Library gallery during March. It’s a wonderful spot — a brightly-lit sunny room at the back of this historic location.

Here are a few of the installation views of the show.

installation of art show

It’s surprising how much work it is to put together a show like this. It makes me appreciate the work a commercial gallery does!

First, I have known of this date for about a year, because I had to apply for the space more than a year ago. I had gone in and measured the space to see how much room there was.

I’ve been painting with this show in mind for months, actually — as far back as last summer! I had started The Highway Series around 2015, and have continued to refine this idea and work along these lines. The concept is simple — looking at the rural landscape as we see it from the highway, usually in a moving car. More on that in another post…

As the time for the show comes closer, I started worrying I did not have enough work that met my standards for being good enough to show. A few pieces were reworked, and repainted. In one case, The Yellow Fields, I am thrilled with how the finished painting came out, after feeling it was not quite right for months.

I also started and finished a few pieces just in the last few months.

And everything needed to be mounted or framed, have wires put on it, titled even!

There’s a lot of second-guessing of oneself. “Is it good enough?” So now it is hung on the walls, shared with the world. The librarian in charge of that branch told me how pleased she was to see larger paintings, as they are often quite small. And it really brightens the whole space!

There are a number of libraries in Toronto that make their space available for art exhibits, and I think this is such a wonderful way to use the library system, in addition to all the other great stuff they do.

If you are in the Toronto area, I hope you drop by to see the work, “in person.”  All of it is here on the site.

Thanks for stopping by!




Preparing for a show – building frames and mounting the work

I’ve been getting some paintings ready to show, and thought you would be interested to see what goes into that.

Since I generally paint on wood panels, the panels themselves need to be supported on cradles. I build these myself. The work looks so much better when it is framed, even simply framed, that I decided to build simple frames for the pieces in this show. As well, the frame protects the painting. If it gets dropped by mistake, for example, it will be the frame that is damaged, not the painting.

I was building so many that I made a careful plan of the rough and finished size of each piece, and how many pieces of each type of wood I would use.

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Careful planning will minimize the waste from the wood. So I measured all the cuts first. The wood you see here is oak and poplar, which is what I use for the visible parts of the frame.

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I allow for 1/4 inch of waste from the power saw — you actually use close to 1/8 inch just to the cut itself.










Next step is to make all the preliminary cuts with the power saw. I did this outside the sun room, which I temporarily converted into a framing studio.  Way too much sawdust to do this inside, so I bundled up and did it on the deck.

sawing frames sawing frames 2

Next up is trimming the rough cuts. This bad boy tool is called a mitre trimmer, and it has razor sharp blades that cut a very thin slice off the corner of the wood. I love the way the trimmed corners feels – smooth and perfect.

mitre trimmermitre trimmer in use

Here’s my giant pile of trimmed cradle pieces, ready to be glued up. This year I acquired a v-nailer, which greatly simplifies and speeds up the process. You glue, clamp and nail one corner at a time.

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I also paint the edges of each of the cradles. Usually a dark purplish – charcoal color that I mix up myself. So if you buy a piece without a frame, you can hang it on the wall. In the finished frame, you can see just a bit of this edge, so it is important that it look good.

In the picture on the right, the thin pieces that are painted are going to be the back part of the frame. Thin pieces of oak and poplar will be mounted to the edge.

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These cradles are all mounted to the individual paintings with carpenter’s glue, then clamped until the glue is set.

The thin frames are a little trickier, since they have two parts — the profile is an L shape. Each one has eight pieces to be fitted and glued. I use corner clamps, but this year I also pressed some yoga equipment into service — see the colored rubber bands? I wrap and clamp these as well, to make sure the corners all fit nice and neat.

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Before I put the painting into the frame, I apply a coat of matte varnish. This is painter’s varnish that protects the painting from UV and minor bangs, as well as grease or dust. I also mark the back of the painting with a title, date, and conservation information (so any future conservator knows what materials were used — what kind of ground preparation, paint, and varnish.)

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Here are a few of the pieces for this show, all framed and ready to go. These are hung in my home for us to enjoy before they go make their way in the world!

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I’m quite pleased with how these all look. All set to be hung!