While working for Atrium Gallery in St. Louis, I received a piece of artwork from one of the artists represented there. Fred Nelson lives and works in St. Louis and has been represented by Atrium Gallery in the Central West End for 30 years. His abstract style can be identified by vivid color schemes that have evolved with his career. This is an earlier piece of his that portrays his unique use of canvas space. He typically choses wood frames, however, I was looking to re-invent the frame to fit into the theme of my bedroom. I envisioned monochromatic colors with silver and gold. I thought a gold frame for the piece would tie in nicely with the other decor.
To get started, I went to ArtMart in St. Louis on Hanley Rd., because it’s one of the highest rated “creative marketplaces.” I purchased a fine/medium grit sanding block, a straw paint brush, sponge brush, 18mm blue Painter’s Tape, Heavy Body acrylic paint in iridescent antique gold and bright gold, and artists’ gloss varnish. To begin, I sanded down the wood, which is typically recommended when painting onto wood unless it has a smooth, finished surface. I added the Painter’s Tape to protect the plexiglass once I dusted off the frame.
You want to really wipe down the frame so you don’t have any dust or particles painted over and stuck to the frame. After, I started painting directly onto the frame. The back of the frame was taped over to give extra support for the backing. I pulled back some of the tape so I could do a test spot with the paint. Then I mixed the antique gold and bright gold paints to obtain the color I was looking for. I painted on three different coats of paint to make sure it was saturated into the wood. A lot of paint is needed to completely coat wood so it doesn’t show through. It’s good to be thorough and even wait a day or two until it dries to see how it will look once dried. I didn’t end up using the artists’ gloss because the acrylic paint had enough of a shine and I didn’t want the frame to look fluorescent, especially since it has a yellow tint.
Instead of buying a new frame, I painted the old one because it was less of a hassle, no wait time with a framer and I could customize the look. Hindsight, I wish I had a better idea of what the color of my bedroom walls were going to be in California before painting it. The walls in my new apartment are more of a yellow wash than a white wash, which unfortunately brings out more of the yellow tones in the frame. Eventually I will move and find a place with white-washed walls (or paint them) and I think the piece will fit nicely into what I envisioned for my bedroom.
Visit Atrium Gallery’s website to view Fred Nelson’s work and peep his bio: Atrium Gallery
^^ Blu Jay