Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Upcycled Painting Support Project....




What is this, a torture rack...?  But no, it's an Art of Patience DIY upcycled picture-frame project!


So, as I have stated in my blog numerous times by now..., for the last several years I have been participating in my very own personal art supply shopping moratorium.  As explained in this older post, and this one..., some time ago I came to the conclusion that most of what I need to create meaningful and interesting art is already in my own possession -- by way of the art supplies I'd collected over the years, materials that pass through my life and hands during the course of an ordinary day, and, most importantly, my own ingenuity.  A wish to turn away from our culture's rampantly excessive consumerism, and a will to avoid excessively contributing to our nation's waste stream, has lead me to get creative in finding alternatives to the purchase of certain traditional art supplies.  One of these has been coming up with my own  alternative painting supports, typically involving the recycling/upcycling of old picture frames and such like that I acquire second-hand, often just prior to their final destination, the local landfill.  Here is a wee photo essay of one recent DIY upcycled frame project:


A few years back, at the end of a charity rummage sale for which I'd volunteered, I was invited to take this red...whatever it was..., home with me:


A 25' x 14.5" Red...Thing.

I think it's possibly a chalkboard-holder thingie (by which one can remove a chalkboard from a slit in the top, write a menu on it and then replace it)?  In any case, with no chalkboard it was pretty much useless as it was, and clearly unwanted.  I was attracted to its elegant dimensions (25" x 14.5"), plus the sumptuous little curvy shapes at the top, which called to my mind something akin to Mexican Retablo and Ex Voto.  I decided the Red Thing had potential, and schlepped it home determined to turn it into something useful (or in other words, 'make something from nothing')....

I finally decided recently to give it a go, which required breaking out tools:

Hand's On Project
In addition to tools I grabbed some scrap wood found in our ancient garage (that had been in there since we moved in over a decade ago).....

I decided to cut the scrap wood to fit into the space where the chalkboard (?) would have fit, in order to fill in the space as well as to create a  more elegant surface upon which to paint:

Trying out sizes

My carpentry skills leave much to be desired I'm sure, but I can at least manage the basics....:

Fits well enough...

Once the wood was cut to fit it was just a matter of gluing it all in securely, and applying the wood clamps:

Handy things, wood clamps


Success!  I now have a new 'canvas' all ready to paint, making use of what was essentially useless, unwanted stuff...!

I did rather like how it looked, with the different wood colours, etc -- however I don't care for painting on naked wood, so decided it best to give it the black gesso treatment:



Now I have only to decide my subject matter (and hmm, I'm thinking perhaps another Frida tribute portrait/piece might be in order.....?)....


My usual blurb about my use of old frames:

I have recently begun painting almost exclusively on supports I create myself utilising the old, salvaged, wooden picture frames that cross my path from time to time (usually for free). I feel good about giving these unwanted homeless items a second life, not only because trees were cut down at some point to produce them, but also because by the time I get my hands on them they are usually destined for the landfill. The process of recycling these vintage frames into painting supports/canvases can be a lengthy one -- in this case cutting scrap wood to fit and gluing it all into place.  The end effect is an unusual, one-of-a-kind and ready-to-hang 'canvas' which will ultimately add interest and depth to my painting, complete with a built-in frame....

6 comments:

Rebeca Trevino said...

oooh i cannot wait to see what this will become! i like the retablo idea, and the 'red' color really had me going there for a minute. but black jesso is good, black has potential . . . anyway. i love your up-cycling program, the fact that you saved this from the land fill is terrific, and a great story.
i will be doing a lecture with 7th grade kids about my work using 'found objects' and helping them make their own assemblage using up-cycled materials. reading your blog today added momentum to what i am doing.
looking forward to seeing what you do with this.

Patience said...

Greetings Rebeca -- thanks so much for the comment! And how cool that you will be doing a lecture regarding the use of 'found objects' in art with kids! I really enjoy working with young people anyway, but when it comes to this sort of thing, recycling and up-cycling and the environmental friendliness of it all, I just find that kids really seem to 'get' it. I think it's also important for them to have the understanding that expensive materials and pricey supplies are NOT automatically required to create meaningful art -- a positive message that they can take with them as they grow and apply in lots of other areas of their lives. :-) So here's wishing you good luck with your lecture, Rebeca -- are you planning to blog about it? I'd love to read about it!

Oh, and regarding the red frame -- never fear! I will probably be distressing the frame anyway, so with any luck a lot of that red is going to be poking through, lol. I think I was probably going to do that anyway, but the fact that the red is a glossy enamel that the gesso isn't liking so much...??? Bring on the Distress! ;-)....

Thanks again, Rebeca!

Art Play Today said...

Great post. The thrift store is my favorite place to find old frames and things. I have several that need some work and you've just inspired me to get moving on some of them. I love this piece and am looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

Patience said...

Thanks so much, Kristen! Indeed, I adore thrift shops -- lucky to have several good ones here in town...not to mention that we are soon coming upon Garage Sale Season (picture my eyes lighting up at the words, heh ;-)). Really, when it comes down to it, I have the heart of a hoarder, so I do have to be sort of mindful and aware of the slippery slope that I could slide right down into if I'm not careful, heh! ;-). In any case, glad to hear you use old homeless frames as well, Kristen -- I for one would love to read about yours and your use of them when you get around to working on them :-)...And thanks again!

Lisa Graham Art said...

Now I am understanding the title "The Art of Patience". You have an incredible amount of it to go through much trouble. I can't wait to see what you make.

I like to go to thrift shops to buy the frames for my paintings...I've found a few pretty good ones that way.

Patience said...

Thanks so much, Lisa -- and indeed, I have the ability to 'hyper-focus' on activities (papier mache, DIY canvases, etc etc etc), when I want to. And those are the key words there: when I "WANT" to -- because if it's something I DON'T want to do...? Can't concentrate worth a darn, lol...! Anyway, yes, I feel lucky my parents chose to give me an unusual moniker, though it can be a lot to live up to at times because I'm not always the most patient person in the world, heh. And kudos to you for using second-hand frames -- lots of goodies just waiting for us in the thrift stores, for the taking....like a treasure hunt, lol! ;-) Thanks again! :-)