Which came first: the painting or the frame?

An empty frame awaiting it’s subject.

Last week’s Forever French Fundraiser proved to be my best show ever. Not only were there record sales, but the day also brought new clients and the promise of a number of new commissions for paintings. It dawned on me as I began, that following the process might be interesting. Maybe not as interesting as arm-chairing a trip to France, but interesting in it’s own right, all the same.

Here’s the project: to create a painting to fit in a pre-made frame which will be an overmantel above the great room fireplace. The owner wants a painting which somehow include’s his own home: a lovely neo-tudor brick structure.

The problem: how to make it a painting that viewers will want to walk into. Although the house itself is lovely, there are a few things that are not painting material surrounding it. Luckily, the owner has given me artistic license to do as I please as long as the house appears somewhere in the painting. Fair enough. As the sun arose the other morning, the solution dawned on me: I’m turning the low 60’s looking pool house into a walled garden. Trés Stebner.

Fearlessly, I expose myself and my process…

Happily, Todd loved the rough charcoal sketch I emailed him, which looked something like this final one done in venetian red on warmly toned linen canvas.

A composition solution: the garden now has a garden structure framed by vertical evergreens anchoring the foreground. The dark space in front will become a perennial bed. Balance achieved.

The basic lay-in is done on this 24×36″ piece.

Brushes laid aside, the next step is one of analysis. Although the hands rest temporarily, the eye doesn’t. Every time I pass by, I critique my efforts to date, deciding why the next step will be. Although there’s a basic process and goal, like life, it’s not always as easy as connecting two points to make a straight line. But it sure juices the adrenaline. Yes, Jim, I love my life!



4 thoughts on “Which came first: the painting or the frame?

  1. I LOVE seeing the process. Of course, my favorite is the original sketch, looking forward to the finish of this painting.

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