Staying Inside

February 2, 2011

Snow can be both an inspiration for painting as well as providing the time to paint.  With more snow outside than I’ve seen in years, my usual activities away from home are canceled, which means more time at my easel.  Fortunately, I have the photos of the frozen water on Bowersock Dam as inspiration.  I looked through my stash of unused frames of odd sizes and found a narrow dark wood one 16″ x 24″ that seemed a good size. 

Frames can be such an expense, even if one buys the ready made ones in standard sizes.  I have found a couple of local sources of low cost, but good looking frames in excellent condition.  They are invariably odd sizes and I suspose they are the result of custom framing mistakes.  Usually they are narrow frames of dark wood.  Most recently I bought several at Creative Coldsnow’s art supply store in Overland Park.

The challenge with these is that being odd sizes, one cannot buy already stretched canvases.  One must buy the stretchers and then attach the canvas.  A further problem occurs if they requires stretchers that are odd numbers, such as 15″, 17″, etc.  Most art supply stores and art supply catalogs only sell even numbered stretchers.  Creative Coldsnows is the only local source I’ve been able to find for odd numbered stretchers.

But this time I only needed even numbered stretchers and bought them at Hobby Lobby before the big snow.  I keep a large roll of canvas on hand and just cut off what I need.  Some time ago I figured out that to attach the canvas an electric staple gun is essential.  Another good idea is to run hot water over the back of the stretched canvas to assure that it is taut.

I began yesterday.  The first step is to sketch the scene on the canvas with charcoal.  I’m using a limited palette, titanium white, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and yellow oxide.  So far I’m pleased with the results and will continue painting today.

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