But that wasn't really working for my artistic spirit.
The first problem was that I wanted to create big pieces: like the four foot long oil paintings that I created in college. The second problem was that I wanted to create unusually sized art: like the 6" x 30" brightly colored clarinet that I had so much fun drawing. I created a 15" x 30" Iris diptych and spent more than $300 at the frame shop. They were beautiful, but I didn't have the budget to make a whole gallery wall like that. Art needs to be accessible, right? Not just a luxury for wealthy people.
I had to get rid of those expensive frames.
Some of the old masters painted on wood panels and their work has survived for hundreds of years. Panels would make my art sturdy and easy to transport. They would allow me to work bigger. I had to figure out how to make panels work for my watercolors.
I have a lot of philosophy about removing glass.
I wanted the works on paper I created to become a thing that paper is sometimes not – permanent, solid, and sturdy. When the barrier of the glass is removed, the art becomes a touchable experience - a more raw and connected experience. It's not a pretty little thing that's ensconced in a case. It's more like the furniture or a large scale oil painting - it's a more tactile part of the viewer's space.
But it also came down to economics for me.
I also had a show coming up at the Anderson Arts Center. I had only a few months to get together some new works for the show and I had a really specific aesthetic that I wanted to achieve. I wanted white-on-white framing. All my art was a riot of bright color and I loved the idea of the white frames on their beautiful brick walls.
So, I innovated. Well. okay... I got on YouTube.
I learned quickly that I work best on paper. I tried Ampersand's Aquaboard. I tried making panels like Ali Cavanaugh uses for her modern frescoes. I painted in watercolors on canvases and boards finished with Golden's Absorbent Ground. I spent hundreds of dollars on new art supplies in the hopes that these supplies would save me money at the frame shop.
I watched a lot of videos about mounting paper to boards, canvasses and panels. I took a lot of inspiration from John Lovett about the specific materials that he uses. I struggled to find the right glue, the right paper, and a source for custom-sized cradled wood panels.
And I think that I've got it.
These are the specific materials that I use:
That's it! I started small until I figured out the best techniques for avoiding bubbles and wrinkles in the paper. I sand, buff, and carefully paint all parts, like I'm finishing a piece of furniture. I can tell a difference in some of the first pieces that I mounted - I've gotten neater with the newer works that I'm creating.
I hope that my experience helps you get back in the studio and dream big!
Stepping back to let someone else handle the manufacturing, shipping, and delivery: my plan is to shift a lot of the products to places like Redbubble and Zazzle so my international customers can have a better experience with my art.