Monday, March 02, 2009
Large frames are stacked against the walls of my living room. They're all custom-made for me by Graham Reynolds , a master frame-maker based in Brisbane, Australia. Their edges are cambered to mimic the first frames and canvases I made myself in 1997 and they're sprayed with gesso. The fronts have been sanded to a satin-like smoothness. Over the years, I've asked Graham to undertake more of the preparatory work on my surfaces. I used to roll on the base paint in an equal number of coats on the back and front so that the timber was sealed evenly. Last year, Graham began to spray these layers in his workshop. The finish is far better than anything I could manage, even after a dozen years of practice. They're so seamless I hate to sand them even very lightly to adhere the first coat of enamel.The fronts of several of the boards I have are raw gesso. I'd planned to use them for large watercolour works. Water-based paint seeps into the porous gesso, which wicks and blots it a little like expensive cold-pressed paper. But now I need to use all of the frames for new enamel commissions. With the help of a local student, I've been wrapping them to courier back to Graham to be sprayed. It's expensive and time-consuming. However, when I discover a new way to improve the craftsmanship and surface quality of my work, I embrace it. These days, I hardly ever look back to how I used to do things.