Friday, September 14, 2012

We interrupt this project for another project

I've been going non-stop for over a month now working on our new house. I can't believe what a time sink it has been with all the things to fix, repair, paint and make right. If I had been gainfully employed for nine or ten hours a day elsewhere, I think I would be crying on how many years it would be for me to get to everything. Instead, I am closing in on getting through the entire upstairs the first time. By that I mean getting things fixed and painted to make it look decent but not sinking a huge amount of money into things until we determine what changes we want to make and where.

Needless to say, I'm getting burnt out a little on everything and so I decided to take a break on that project and work on another project. Unlike our last house, this house has some walls that just scream artwork. What you see above is the stairway leading downstairs and the rather large exposed wall behind that. It just screams artwork to me. Unfortunately, I'm too cheap to spend thousands of dollars on large original artwork to cover that wall and besides, I have a hard time finding anything to suit my tastes. So, with my wife's blessing, I came up with a solution.

I went down to the local big box lumberyard store because that was my only choice and I plunked down ten dollars of my hard earned money to buy the lumber seen above.

I cut it up into the correct length, width and added bevels to the corners.

Years ago I had been at an estate auction and bought a box full of clamps. Inside were a dozen bar clamps, half of which could extend three feet and the rest about five feet. Way in the bottom were four corner clamps. I got the box for fifteen dollars and the auctioneer bawled out the audience immediately afterwards to wake up and telling them that I just got the deal of the century. I think I did. But those clamps had been sitting in my toolbox all these years gathering dust until now. I pulled out the corner clamps and quickly assembled the frame you see above lying on hideous carpet slated to turn into hardwood sometime next year.

Around that frame, I stretched some pre-primed canvas and stapled it to the back side. The overall piece is three feet by six feet in dimension, a pretty darn big painting to be. My wife, braver than I, has volunteered to paint that canvas into something incredible so that I can hang it on the wall in the space mentioned above. I can't wait. For those interested, it was a very easy project to do especially with the corner clamps. There are several good videos floating out there that show you how to tuck the corners to make it look all professional. The only thing I would recommend is not to use pre-primed canvas. It wrinkles really easily and with the primer already on it, those wrinkles are hard to get out. You can still see where those wrinkles were even though they are no longer physically wrinkles there.  I'm hoping with the application of paint, those will disappear. Next time I make another frame, and I'm sure there will be a next time because I plan to give it a try someday maybe this winter, I think I will use unprimed canvas and just prime it myself after it is stretched.

Now back to my previously scheduled project of non-art painting of the hallway trim around no less than six doors. Ugh!


edifice rex said...

If you stretch your canvas a certain way it should be wrinkle free whether primed or not. What you do is lay your canvas under the frame (frame face down) and start in the middle of the sides tacking the canvas. Did the video show this? You alternate opposite sides, mixing all 4, going back and forth working your way out to the corners. Maybe I explained that right; it's late here. lol!

Ed said...

Annie - That is the way I did it. There aren't actual wrinkles in the canvas but you can still see every place they were when the light hits it just right. I think paint should cover that up eventually.

edifice rex said...

Yeah, after I remembered you watched a video I figured you did. We had to stretch our own canvases when I was in college and it does seem to work better to gesso it later. On the big frames you have to pull real hard too! It does take a little practice.