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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Featured Artist: Gina Miller

Gina Miller plays by her own rules.  A life-long artist, she began selling her work in earnest twelve years ago, when a need to work from home provided the necessary incentive. 
“I began by doing pet portraits, but I also paint for myself.  Often I’ll use photographs as a starting point and composite them digitally until I get an arrangement I like.”

She has worked extensively with watercolors, favoring them over acrylics for their instant gratification.  “I’ve even done watercolors on canvas, which is a totally different experience because canvas absorbs color differently from paper.”

One of her unusual watercolor techniques is to begin with the darkest color in an image.  “That’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to do.”  She also uses very little water in her watercolors because she is trying to achieve the deepest, darkest hues possible. 

Miller found American Frame online, which is a huge time saver. " No matter where you live—or how difficult it may be to get out of the house—you have at your fingertips a huge selection of top-quality framing materials at affordable prices".

For our featured piece Miller chose “Breeding Plumage-Great Egret,” a stunning watercolor whose 16”x20” original is for sale.  “I like this piece so well because the egret really pops off the page, and a lot of people mistake even the original for a photograph.  I like that.  That’s often my goal when I paint, to make it so vivid and faithful to the material world that it looks like a photograph.”

Done in her unique “dark-to-light” technique, the dramatic piece needs little embellishment, so we framed “Egret” with one of our most affordable solid-wood frames from the Basics collection and three mats from our Crescent Berkshire line, economical mats recommended for non-archival framing.

Color and focus are the keys to this treatment.  Two green mats, one darker than the other, echo the greens and yellow-greens in the print, a classic strategy done artfully here.  The trick?  Don’t exactly match the dominant print color.  This allows the mat to punctuate the image instead of blending into it.  The step-down from darker to lighter is another notable strategy, as is the antique white top mat, which ensures that the green mats don’t become more dominant than the image they are framing.  The frame itself, with its matte black finish, simple profile and ¾” wide face, corresponds to the image’s unusual background color and offers enough presence to accentuate without over-powering. Total cost of this frame treatment: $102.00.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Featured Artist: Torin Halsey

It’s all a matter of where you’re standing for Torin Halsey.  A professional photographer for twenty-six years, Halsey finds what most of us might pass by—or knock down--worth lingering over and documenting.  “I enjoy photographing things that are old, run down, past their prime or decaying. One of my favorite subjects is a series I'm shooting called ‘Portals.’  I focus on old doors and windows of abandoned or rundown buildings. I'm always looking for the flaking paint, rusted hinges, broken glass... I love to find beauty or interesting compositions in places that seem to be completely beyond their useful life.”

Halsey is not alone.  Interest in photographing urban decay, defunct industrial spaces and other “modern ruins” has grown recently and has been the subject of discussion through the lens of urban developers, architects and photographers.  (For more, check out "The Psychology of Ruin Porn" in The Atlantic Cities, a publication of The Atlantic Monthly). 

Halsey came to photography through journalism, working first as a
photojournalist who never had time to photograph the image that attracted him because he had to be focused on the news assignment.  “One day, I just started stopping when that happened and I began to make time to shoot photographs for ME. That's when I really started to feel like I was expressing myself artistically and I felt renewed.”

A customer of American Frame for the last seven years, Halsey was first impressed by accuracy.  “American Frame was recommended to me by a fellow photographer. I used them in preparing for my first gallery exhibit... I ordered 27 mats and frames that I assembled to display my work. Every mat was perfectly cut to order and each frame was the correct dimension for my project, which included a variety of sizes.”

Designing treatments for his own art, Halsey prefers to keep it simple, with an eye toward gallery exhibition.  “I usually go with a white or off-white mat and a black metal frame. The exhibit looks cohesive because even though my images may vary greatly from one shot to the next, the framing provides continuity.  American Frame is my first choice when I want to take an image from photograph to art.”

Halsey chose his photograph “D.C. Steps” for the featured piece because of its captivating light.  “I was walking through a neighborhood in Washington D.C. when I saw the repeating pattern of the ornate steps, and I liked the pictorial quality of the image.”  Halsey’s artistic eye is notable in the receding perspective of the image and the deft hint of urban fragility captured by the peeling sill paint in the image’s upper right corner. 

We framed “D.C. Steps” with frames new to our collections this month. 

The first is done with sumptuousness in mind, featuring three mats and a wide, solid-wood frame in a rich dark stain, one of the additions to our Mode Collection.  This formality is tempered by the topmost mat’s textured finish, evocative of natural sisal, while the middle mat, a thin strip of wine-red, adds vibrancy and highlights the reds in the photograph.  The bottom-most mat, represented by a sliver of jet black, provides the necessary break between the red mat and the red brick buildings.  It also grounds the picture by connecting the eye to the wrought iron stair rails. 



Pricing for this arrangement:
Image: DC Steps (15 X 10): $20
Frame: Mode- Mocha 65403 (19 5/8 X 14 5/8) $74.65
Mat Board- Jet Black CS9848 (19 5/8 X 14 5/8) Rectangle Top:2 7/16" Sides:2 7/16" Bottom:2 7/16": $8.33
Mat Board- Cabernet CS9839 (19 5/8 X 14 5/8) Rectangle Top:2 1/4" Sides:2 1/4" Bottom:2 1/4": $8.33
Mat Board- Bruxelles CS9853 (19 5/8 X 14 5/8) Rectangle Top:1 7/8" Sides:1 7/8" Bottom:1 7/8" $8.33
Paper- Lasal Photo Matte 230 DPPM230 (15 X 10): $13.30
Standard Acrylic AAS (19 5/8 X 14 5/8): $8.39
Standard Mounting Board MTBS (19 5/8 X 14 5/8): $2.91
DryMountingService drymountingservice (19 5/8 X 14 5/8)$4.00

TOTAL
$148.24


The second treatment takes the sleek tact, using a narrow black metal frame from our new Twilight collection.  The contemporary rounded face and matte finish cleverly echo the round shapes and sheen of the wrought iron rails in the photograph.  Here the sliver of black mat has been moved to the center position, repeating the black line of the frame and acting as a crisp transition between the other two mats.  In the dominant position with the widest border reveal, the soft gray-green mat creates contrast with the red brick building and sidewalk without overwhelming it. 

Pricing:
Image: DC Steps (15x10): $20.00
Frame: Twilight-Painted Black TW50 (18 3/4 x 13 3/4): $39.98
Mat Board- Cream Linen (cream core) CB407 with 1 9/16" borders: $5.35
Mat Board- Smooth Black, (black core) CB6277 with 1 9/16" borders: $5.35
Mat Board- Sage, (cream core) CB247with 1 9/16" borders: $5.35
Paper- Lasal Photo Matte 230 DPPM230 (15 X 10): $13.30
Standard Acrylic AAS (19 5/8 X 14 5/8): $8.39Standard Mounting Board MTBS (19 5/8 X 14 5/8): $2.91DryMountingService drymountingservice (19 5/8 X 14 5/8)$4.00

TOTAL: $103.01