Inspired by a Frame – Day 1

A work in progress…Day 1

I snagged this frame last fall at a garage sale. Originally it held mirrors, which I replaced with birch panels. It’d been sitting in my studio and every time I looked at it I’d wonder what kind of painting it needed. Yesterday I “saw” it in my mind: a self-portrait with my favorite cat. In a kind of Art Nouveau style. The background will show my driveway and yard, in a summery season, with flowers, butterflies and late-day shadows. But right now it’s winter. I might end up having to set this aside for a later time.

Ordinarily I’d never paint with the frame on, but I wanted to design the composition to fit the frame, so it “flows” through the 3 openings. This morning I’ll remove all the panels and give them a thin coat of oil paint in a soft-toned color. Maybe a pale mauve/gray/peach. Right now they’re slippery as glass with 4 coats of shellac. A thin layer of oil paint will give a bit more “tooth”. While everything’s drying I’ll root around in my plein air collection to see if I have any field studies of the driveway and yard in summer, late afternoon.

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