Gilder’s Conclave

I recently returned from a gathering of fellow dedicated gilders and artisans who share time and techniques by working on a project for the weekend. This annual conclave was started 27 years ago by a friend and mentor of many, Rick Glawson. Rick passed away unexpectedly in 2003, but the gathering has continued in his honor, to encourage the sharing of knowledge and techniques of timeless practices of laying gold leaf, in reverse, in glass.

This glass piece was designed for last years gathering, by a good friend, Larry White, and titled ‘High Plains Gilder”. The glass is 29″ x 24″ x 1/4″ and has a 4″ wide stained poplar wood frame.  Larry’s design immediately conjured up visions of a western novel, I had to attempt a simulated watercolor effect for a cover of the fictitious paperback novel. After laying 23k gold leaf in the traditional water gilding method, I distressed the remaining gold in the dirt street-scape. Next, I slapped transparent screen inks on the glass like banging color onto a sheet watercolor paper. Most of the traditional gilders in the room were quite apprehensive to my style, thinking I may ruin the picture. One thing the gathering does insure is not every artisan’s project turns out the same, all are beautiful pieces and reflections of each Gilder. The success of this technique became very apparent once the finished painting was framed with a sheet of watercolor paper mounted behind the glass.

This year’s project is not yet framed, I will add this when it is completed. I have been asked to design next years Gilder’s project, I hope to create a design that will encourage others to attempt to break from the ordinary.

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Machine… End of the Line

Art can be expressed in so many ways, but what is each artist’s individual expression is what matters the most, especially if it strikes a different chord in every viewer. Here I had the opportunity to create a gift for a good friend, inspired by his enthusiasm for building and a mutual enjoyment of fine western movies. Seven different movie set pieces are featured in this painting, seems they all  have something inside, something to do with death. “Happens to everyone sooner or later” is a line from another film that comes to mind.

I sat in his yard quickly sketching several different vantage points, and then sketching again,  all the pieces together. Then, I created a couple of value sketches to find my composition, where I wanted to go. Once I decided on the direction, I began to paint, now only choosing the colors I wanted to use. Painting in this style is free and loose, painting how I feel as I lay the color down in the strokes I choose. This is a watercolor painted on Lanaquarelle 140lb cold press paper.

Feel very free to let me know how this piece makes you feel.

23K gold watch

Here is an antique restoration project I just finished. This is a 36″ x 30″ double face cast iron pocket watch sign, at least 100 years old. This was stripped, primed, painted and gilded with 23K gold leaf. The gold was then aged with a patina and sealed with a clear finish. The watch faces were hand painted roman numerals and circular striping with lines for each minute and triangle pointers at each five-minute mark. A clock makers traditional roman numeral 4 is four vertical “I” s, no addition of the “V” until you reach number 5. The sign is quite heavy.

Two additional photos showing the three pieces of the watch. Gold leaf restoration work has a historical enjoyment to it. There is always that piece of the past that is interesting to learn, and I like to visualize the interior of the craftsman’s studio when a piece like this was fabricated.

Mr Toad

Mr Toad has the honor of jump starting this inaugural post. Welcome to my blog. Here you will discover I like to hop around from commercial art projects to fine art creations. My career takes me from custom hand lettering on signs, calligraphy on cards, gold leaf behind glass, interior and exterior murals, acrylic on canvas and watercolor painting. Is there a barrier between commercial and fine art? That is not a debate I want to begin. I may design a legible brand or logo identity with contrasting shapes and lines, or I create a painting not from what I see, but from what I think or feel. In each endeavor, I hope to find what ought to be. If I entertain and communicate, perhaps I succeeded. Maybe. Maybe not.

I welcome your comments. There are no formalities here. Your honesty is my reward.

Mr Toad is a watercolor. He is a symbol of evolution. To me, he is also a symbol of freedom. Freedom to hop from project to painting, discovering which way his toad ride may take him. I invite you to hop along. You may see a watercolor painting, or a large mural, or hand lettering and/or a new watercolor. I’m past the point of no return now, waiting to pop out the other side.