Thursday's project: build a frame to stretch a painting I painted in Italy in 2010. During the semester in Italy, as an attempt to conquer my fear of large paintings and obsession over perfect details I started "going big" with painting.
Thinking back, I'm sure my parents appreciated that I chose to begin to paint huge things overseas, also leaving thick strokes of paint for added texture instead of trying to smooth it over, especially with the heavy, thick materials (canvas + oil)...and then shipped them back home. I suppose they are seasoned parents and have learned to be gracious by kids giving them many opportunities to practice.
Maybe they were glad at least I wasn't inspired to imitate Michelangelo's marble sculptures or fresco paintings (Dear Mama and Papa, Italy is an inspiring place. I saw Michelangelo's Moses today and the Sistine Chapel yesterday! Speaking of Michelangelo, I shipped my lime plaster walls paintings and they should arrive home soon...Miss you! Love, Ema)
Anyways, I got the wood at Home Depot, looking lost in the lumber aisle, wearing my outdoor slippers and leggings, holding each piece of 8ft pine with one end close to my nose, staring it down with one eye closed and turning each side to make sure they weren't crooked. After my attempted careful selection of pine, I hunted down a Home Depot associate to chop the 8ft pieces in half in order to stuff into my Honda Civic.
I learned how to build stretcher frames in college, but that knowledge was useless without a wood shop. My dad recently built an incredibly intricate tea ceremony table, so I thought this would be the best time when his wood-working materials were easier to access than later if he moves on to a different project.
I can't take credit for this frame. I glued, measured, carried, swept sawdust... honestly my three year old niece who has a much better eye for precision would have been a better assistant.
- Table saw step(s): cut each piece to make the top surface a long diagonal line so the painting rests on one outer edge. Shave off 1/2" width of one extra piece that will be cut in 4 to brace the 4 corners.
- Chop saw step(s): 45 degree chops to make the pieces fit together.
- Glue and nail: Apply wood glue. Check diagonal lengths to make sure they're equal. Nail in place.
There are tons of tutorials online and correct me if I'm wrong, but most people reading probably don't have a table saw, chop saw, nail gun, and a compressor handy, or the need to stretch an old painting to begin with.
After 24 hours of letting it rest, I wrestled the painting into place with my staple gun. It's surprisingly difficult to tightly stretch an already stretched LARGE canvas. Just stretching it probably took close to an hour...
Last step! I can't take credit for this either actually. Once we held the painting up all over the apartment and decided on a spot, since I can't hang anything straight, Page, who is much more precise and handy, completed the project.
Once it was up (& I cleaned my closet avalanche) Page's comment made me laugh: "maybe someone actually lives here, it doesn't look like a mental hospital anymore." After 17 months being married, our bedroom's four white walls finally have some color!
Is it fair to call this post 2/50 for the year since I was like a little elf running around and filling in details but not actually doing most of the hard work? Maybe not...
Now that I'm on a roll of asking for help with projects, if anyone wants to teach me how to properly make a bed, I am all ears.