Almost from the beginning of Vanishing Point in 2014 I’ve offered two maple gallery frames. They were unfinished and appealed mostly to artists who were mounting exhibitions. The raw maple is easily touched up with fine sandpaper if it gets scratched or smudged, although, being harder than most picture framing woods, this is rare. These frames have been very popular, far outselling any other single moulding. Occasionally I have coloured them for particular customers. This has proven to be so rewarding that several months ago I gave in to the irresistible urge, as an artist, to experiment with some hand painting techniques and to add a few more profiles to the collection.
After many enjoyable days testing colours, I’m very pleased with the resulting Aura line. Maple is a subtle but surprising wood. I always allow the grain to show through and influence the coloured surface, sometimes sanding back through one or more layers of paint. The thinly applied layer of artist’s quality pigments also allows light to reflect from the surface of the wood creating very luminous colours and warming even the darkest.
There are other advantages to the inhouse process. For example, more of the work is done by my own hand, so I can be as vigilant as I please about quality. This is not difficult since the mouldings from Hy-Grade Millworks are accurately machined and the maple is straight and stable. I can also vary the colour or surface treatment slightly to suit the artwork and I can repair minor damage. Another advantage is that I always have stock on hand so there are no delays due to back orders.
The reception of the Aura frames has so far been extremely positive. I now have four profiles and plan to add one more early in the new year, something a bit out of the ordinary, but that will be a surprise. There is deep satisfaction in making something yourself.