Monday, December 28, 2009

How to assemble one of my paintings--A Tutorial

Just in case you ever wanted to know...



A couple of additional thoughts. Annotations, if you will:

1--When the top and bottom set of stretchers are removed, the thing is floppy. Avoid sharp objects (as noted in the audio) but also avoid sharply folding the painting. In both cases, you can massage these problems out, once stretched, but it ain't easy and sometimes yields imperfect results.

2--The idea of leaving two of the stretchers attached to the canvas means that, when you re-attach the other set, there are no concerns about getting things crooked. So long as you have inserted the stretchers in a way that creates a neat, even joint, everything will basically be fine.

3--You may notice that the painting is dirty. It's supposed to be. I call this patina. Keep in mind that any one of my annotated paintings has: a) been kicked around the floor of my studio while I paint it, and b) been propped up, for days on end, on the streets of New York City.

4--Early in the video you see me removing the canvas from the stretcher. Unfortunately, the mechanics of this are obscured by my left arm. The technique is to grab the canvas and pull it away from the framing. This, in turn, pulls the staples out and yields, if done correctly, a satisfying popping sound. On occasion you are left with a staple that remains stuck in the wood after you have pulled the canvas away. Use your fingers or, better, a pair of pliers to take it out.

5--Finally, don't be afraid to take the staples out and revisit a problem area. The corners can be tricky if you are not used to doing it. The take-away concept is that these paintings have been stapled and un-stapled probably dozens of times. So if you don't get it right the first time, just pull the thing apart and have at it again.

6--And a note of thanks to my daughter, Elizabeth, for her inspired cinematography.

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