Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sculptural Elements for Paintings

For most of my painting career, I focused on painting and very little beyond the edge of the canvas. Even framing was beyond what I put consideration into.  As I have grown more confident in two dimensions, I have taken up adding sculptural elements and planning how things will be framed.

My first adventures in framing were early on because I needed to create frames for my jumbo canvases before showing them in a gallery, purchasing frames was out of the question, I just didn't have the money.  My father made beveled moldings for me and we wood stained them in complimenting colors. Other than that experience, I often purchased wooden plaques with shaped sides so I didn't have to concern myself with framing at all.

Mary Throned, a multi media mounted print by Sara Star

However, at the craft stores and hardware stores, I kept seeing neat little plaster or wooden elements that inspired me. So a couple of years ago I threw all my little sculptural elements onto one decoupaged piece so I could see what I liked. I figured it wasn't an original painting so I wouldn't worry about messing it up.  The piece is a little over the top, but I like that about it, an almost Victorian French feel to it.  I put on wooden appliques and gold leafed them, and I created a banner carried by two plaster cherubs to hang the icon from. I included plaster, fabric and wood sculptural elements all in one.

The next time I ventured into sculptural elements, I did a similar thing, I just added multiple onto one piece.  I used extra gesso to build up flower shapes and dots in a halo behind Mary Magdalen's head and I glued a set gem onto her crown.  I feel it was too over the top with both elements, next time I will only do one or the other. And by the way, don't use super glue on top of gold leaf, the glue pulled off the gold showing the red behind, erst while the nice green baltic amber now looks like a red glass bead.

Frame Sculpture by Duke DesRoscher Eve's Sorrow by Sara Star

Duke DesRoschers custom made a frame to show with my jumbo paintings and I was absolutely amazed at his assemblage frame. I would never have made something quite like that, yet nothing could be more perfect a fit for my painting. I see we have a similar style of putting everything onto one project, and I really like how it balanced out the simple composition of my painting to fill in some of the blank space.

I suppose my rambly point here is, don't be afraid to experiment with adding sculptural elements to your paintings. After my various adventures, I now think ahead to how I will frame most of my pieces.

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