Sunday, September 7, 2008

stretching paper

I am branching out, so to speak, and trying something new. I was at a art material expo and was chatting with an artist who had these wonderful watercolor paintings of crystal and glass. She stretches her paintings over wooden stretcher bars and I was inspired to do the same. I boughts some big beefy bars so that there would be some substance to it and perhaps it would look so good I wouldn't have to frame it.

First I started with a big sheet of watercolor paper. I wet it in the tub and after the first couple of times I managed to stop spraying myself. I let it hang a bit so that I wouldn't slop too much on my way to the kitchen table.

I cut the paper about 3 inches over the frame and trimmed it again once I set the stretcher bars over the paper. I tried a bunch of different corner techniques and settled on one that gave me a neat square edge. I was a little worried about the bubbles, but after I stapled the frame using a standard canvas stretching pattern and set it to dry. They came out looking pretty good. I'll be doing some small and some very large paintings on it. I took a varnishing class as well so there are bound to be at least one or two good varnishing stories after I finish up the paintings.


Brother Bill said...

Sorry for being an art ignoramous but what is the difference between a standard water-color frame and one that is stretched by the artist?

stephfour said...

No actually this is a good question. Typically watercolor or other artwork on paper is matted and frames behind glass or plastic to protect the artwork. Since paper is influenced by moisture (or lack of moisture) it can be damaged by water droplets on the paper or if it gets dry it can rip and tear the piece. However people like art that looks like art where there isn't a big piece of glass separating them from the painting. So many people ask me if my work is original or prints too. So I am doing some paintings that I wet the paper and bend it over the wooden bars similar to an oil painting on canvas. I use a spray varnish to protect the painting. The varnish seals the paper so it's not as sensitive to water damage but it will still rip if it's handled roughly.