Infinit, No. 1 added to Society6

New design added to my Society6 shop. This one is called, Infinity, No. 1. See the whole collection here.

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Swirl Lake, No. 3 added to my Society6 shop

I do like these silver and white designs, they work very nicely on printed onto merchandise. There are many more products available using this design. Just go to my Society6 shop to see them.

Swirl Lake, No. 2 added to Society6

My original oil painting, Swirl Lake, No. 2 has been added to my Society6 shop. Below is just a small selection of the many products that available with this design on them. I’ve been busy lately uploading other designs as well, so why not have a look around to see what you think

society6/marklewisfineart

You can also follow me on there to be notified whenever I add new designs.

Paintings’ Backing Boards

I might have finally found a solution to protecting the back of my paintings. I haven’t been painting for that many years, but it has always bothered me how vulnerable the paintings are from behind. I am also surprised at how little there is written about this subject.

From a conservational POV, I think the popular belief is to let the painting breathe, and to not enclose the painting at the back. Because it can cause problems like the back of the canvas not getting enough air to it, which can effect the paint on the other side – as the front and back are not ageing at the same speed.

But being exposed in this way makes me uncomfortable, because the painting is prone to accidental damage, particularly when it is laying around whilst waiting to be hung safely up on the wall. I very nearly damaged a painting once by not being careful enough, and I leant it against the corner of a piece of furniture, and didn’t realise that the canvas was getting a small indent at the point where it was making contact.

Dust building up in-between the stretcher bars and the canvas can also be a problem. In extreme cases, I have read that this can cause the canvas to bulge forward by a large amount of dust. That does seem unlikely, but keeping dust from getting in there in the first place is another good reason for protecting that side of the paintings.

From a personal POV, having grew up with my Dad, who was a photographer, and watching him add a backing board, and sealing it into an elaborate frame with brown framer’s tape, somehow it gave it a professionally finish look.

After trying to find a solution, I stumbled upon a material called, Tyvek from PEL Preservation Equipment. It’s got many conservational qualities, and sounded perfect for what I was looking for. This was my first solution:

I was happy with this, but overtime whenever I handled this painting, it didn’t strike me as being protected as much as it should be.

Anyway, after reading this article from the Canadian Conservation Institute, I had finally found something that agreed with me that it is good practice to use a harder board to protect a painting.

I have modified it slightly, because I was having difficulty finding the foam strips, and some of the specific boards that it recommends. My theory is that, so long as I have the Tyvek in-between the backing board and the canvas and stretches, then it would be safe to not use the foam. I was also concerned that the foam would extend the backing too much, and my paintings would stick out from the wall too much.

So time will tell, but this is a simple and professional solution to the backing of my paintings.

Start with the painting laying upside down. Obviously you'll want to lay it on a cutting mat, or a clean surface.
Start with the painting laying upside down. Obviously you’ll want to lay it on a cutting mat, or a clean surface.
The choice of backing boards can be overwhelming: gatorfoam, corricore, corrugated, single or double flute, etc. But I had some ordinary MDF board laying around, which looked and felt right. I knew it wasn't acid-free, or had any of the conservational properties, but so long as I sandwiched some Tyvek in-between it and the painting, I saw no reason why this can't be done. NaturalPigments.com sells a package with all the right materials, called Artefex Backing Board, which is a perfect solution, but it's expensive, and would have to be shipped from the US.
The choice of backing boards can be overwhelming: gatorfoam, corricore, corrugated, single or double flute, etc. But I had some ordinary MDF board laying around, which looked and felt right. I knew it wasn’t acid-free, or had any of the conservational properties, but so long as I sandwiched some Tyvek in-between it and the painting, I saw no reason why this can’t be done. NaturalPigments.com sells a package with all the right materials, called Artefex Backing Board, which is a perfect solution, but it’s expensive, and would have to be shipped from the US.
Cut the board so that it just fits inside of the canvas. An important consideration, or reason for cutting it this far in from the edge of the painting, is that this example is based on a wrap-around painting, which is meant to be hung up nice and close to the wall without a picture frame. If I had the board or the tape coming near the edge, they would be visable when looking at the painting from the side. 
Cut the board so that it just fits inside of the canvas. An important consideration, or reason for cutting it this far in from the edge of the painting, is that this example is based on a wrap-around painting, which is meant to be hung up nice and close to the wall without a picture frame. If I had the board or the tape coming near the edge, they would be visable when looking at the painting from the side. 
Tyvek Tape - Pressure Sensitive - Tyvek Tape - 38mm I went for 38mm as it was wide enough to cover the wood of the stretcher bars. There are a few other widths are available.
Tyvek Tape – Pressure Sensitive – Tyvek Tape – 38mm I went for 38mm as it was wide enough to cover the wood of the stretcher bars. There are a few other widths are available.
Cut strips of Tyvek, and lay them on the side that will go against the painting.
Cut strips of Tyvek, and lay them on the side that will go against the painting.
It is better for it to hang over slightly to make sure the edge of the board does not touches the canvas or stretcher bars.
It is better for it to hang over slightly to make sure the edge of the board does not touches the canvas or stretcher bars.
Adding the strips to the reverse of the board is better than sticking it directly to the canvas and stretcher bars, because you can easily flip the board over, and neatly trim the strips back a little if it hangs over too much.
Adding the strips to the reverse of the board is better than sticking it directly to the canvas and stretcher bars, because you can easily flip the board over, and neatly trim the strips back a little if it hangs over too much.
Now it is ready to be flipped over, and positioned on the painting.
Now it is ready to be flipped over, and positioned on the painting.
Now it's time for the second strip of tyvek tape, which is used to tidy up and help secure the board to the canvas.
Now it’s time for the second strip of tyvek tape, which is used to tidy up and help secure the board to the canvas.
As mentioned above, keep the tape away from the edge of the painting so that it can't be seen from an angle when it is up on the wall. I have used the staples as a reference so that they get nicely hidden. Make sure you used the back of your nail to press the Tyvek tape into all the edges and folds so that there is a nice strong bond.
As mentioned above, keep the tape away from the edge of the painting so that it can’t be seen from an angle when it is up on the wall. I have used the staples as a reference so that they get nicely hidden. Make sure you used the back of your nail to press the Tyvek tape into all the edges and folds so that there is a nice strong bond.
I have used size Number 8 here, but I think they are a bit big, so I'll be using Number 6 in the future. The size of the screws are half inch, which is just enough. Obviously check how far into the wood they will go as we don't want it to come out the other side, and puncture the painting! Solid Brass Slotted Countersunk Head Wood Screws, No. 8 x 1/2 inch and SOLID BRASS CUP WASHERS SURFACE FINISHING COUNTERSUNK SCREWS, No. 8
I have used size Number 8 here, but I think they are a bit big, so I’ll be using Number 6 in the future. The size of the screws are half inch, which is just enough. Obviously check how far into the wood they will go as we don’t want it to come out the other side, and puncture the painting! Solid Brass Slotted Countersunk Head Wood Screws, No. 8 x 1/2 inch and SOLID BRASS CUP WASHERS SURFACE FINISHING COUNTERSUNK SCREWS, No. 8
I used a centre pin punch to make a pilot hole for the screws.
I used a centre pin punch to make a pilot hole for the screws.
Now with the addition of the Sawtooth Hangers from lionpic.co.uk 
Now with the addition of the Sawtooth Hangers from lionpic.co.uk 
So this is it. Once I've added the label with the details of the painting, it will looks good, professional, and well protected. Let me know what you think...
So this is it. Once I’ve added the label with the details of the painting, it will looks good, professional, and well protected. Let me know what you think…

Step & Repeat, No. 4

80 x 40 x 2cm
Oil on linen canvas wrap-around

Description

What an unimaginative title for this series? Well, at least it says what it is!

If you’ve ever use a software program, such as Quark XPress, InDesign, Photoshop, etc. they have a feature whereby you can select an object, duplicate it, and then place it in a given location. 

I haven’t exactly done this with these designs, but it did come to mind whilst thinking of a title for them. Because I have taken a small element from a previous painting, and repeated it to create an interesting, repetative design.

By rotating or flipping the element, and moving it around, I often find that it can fit nicely together with the copied element, which then creates interesting designs that I would never have come up with without doing this. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s quite exciting.

The element for this one was taken from Swirl Lake.

Wall view
Wall view
Step & Repeat, No. 4
Step & Repeat, No. 4
Angle view
Angle view
Edge view
Edge view
Corner view
Corner view

Traverse

Traverse
Traverse

DESIGN

I’m not entirely happy with the lines that cross over each other on the right hand side. It looked okay as a sketch, so it wasn’t until I started adding the colour that I noticed it. 

I tried several things to tone down the lines that run underneath, but nothing really worked. I think it’s alright as it is, but I will modify it for another painting.

 

COLOURS

I love this green! I stumbled across it by accident when I ran out of my Winsor & Newton Sap Green. I thought I would try Michael Harding’s version instead, but when it arrived, and I squeezed some out, I was shocked at how dark it was.

I needed to lighten it, so I added some white. Wow, I didn’t expect such a lovely green tone. The only worry was how much will it alter over time now that I’ve had to add white to it. I used M. Graham’s Titanium White (non-alkyd), which is made with walnut oil, so it should be okay, because walnut isn’t supposed to yellow as much as traditional linseed oil.

Adding white to a transparent colour will make it more opaque, but that didn’t matter with this painting. Theoretically, you could use a zinc white to preserve the transparency, but I find that it still gives the colour a milky appearance, which you get when you add an opaque white. It’s much better to find the right transparent color to begin with, such as the W&N Sap Green. 

Also, it scares me using too much zinc because it is advisable to only use it in the final layer as it has a tendency to dry to a brittle film, which is vulnerable to cracking.

Edge view
Edge view

SURFACE

This was an interesting experiment. It’s an alluminium panel specially made for acrylic and oil paintings, meaning that it has a ground applied to it to absorb the paint. 

I enjoyed working on it, mainly because it’s so smooth – there isn’t a tooth pattern that can steer your brush off course. But there were some issues that makes me unsure if I want use it regularly. I think most of these issues are related to the ground that they have used. It would be interesting to add my own top of it, or just a layer of paint, before I start working on it.

Click here to read a more in depth review

Prints of this painting are available here

Applying first layer
Applying first layer

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