watercolor portrait – framing and hanging

now that the painting is f’shure finished, it’s time to glue it down to the backing.  i’m using acrylic gel medium for this.  remember, i’ve already sealed the front of the painting with spray acrylic, and i’ve already measured where the painting goes on the board, and marked it (with holes i made with my awl).  and now i turned the painting over and brushed gel medium onto the back of the painting.  gently putting it in place and wiggling it around until it was perfect, i smoothed it down with my hands, and then took the brayer and rolled out all the air bubbles (except for two i found only later), and pressed it down to give it a good seal on the wood.  then i let it dry.

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when it was dry, i took to the surface with picture varnish.  i wanted a glossy surface on the painting, so it wouldn’t look like i glued it to a piece of board and stuck it in a frame.  which i did.  but a gloss finish, like a heavy frame, lends a museumlike air of importance to a painting.

however, after two coats, actually, more like four or five, of this acrylic/petroleum gloss varnish, the board was shiny, but the painting still was not.  so i got out the spray varnish, which was made with acrylic, turpentine, and petroleum, and gave the painting the rest of the spray can.  there was a place or two where a hair had to be removed, and instead of using the recommended razor blade to pick it out, i used a dirty finger, scraped up some paint, and left a mark.  so there was a place i had to go back and repaint.  and once that was dry i had enough dregs left in the spray can to cover the new paint.  so, all good.

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here’s what the finished, mounted painting looks like.  the blue/gray surround is actually green/gray, which means the yellows are also off, so basically the painting is totally colored other than what you’re seeing on the screen.  but it looks okay.

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so i put the panel into the refinished frame, nailed it in with framer’s points, screwed on hanging hardware, wrapped in a hanging wire, and stuck it on the bedroom wall until it’s dry.  then it’s going to my brother’s house, and is their xmas present.  i’m very happy with this painting.  i haven’t done a watercolor in forever, and it’s nice to know the skills don’t really leave you.  if anything, they blend with other things you already know and lend even more expertise to 35 years of practice.

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so, that’s my demo.  stay tuned for finishing a portrait of my uncle harry, and eight experiments in encaustic on mirror and wood.  coming right up.  like tomorrow, or even late tonight if i can’t sleep.

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