Tuesday, July 16, 2013


We have had quite a few people asking about our collection of paintings hanging in the shop, so I thought I would take a bit of time to talk about them. 

Over my many years of rooting around in Salvation Army op-shops I've always browsed the small stacks of 'artworks' of various shapes and sizes. We've all seen them, the motley crews of faded prints and discarded originals, some hanging half out of their frames, others without frames at all, their tattered edges giving away their history of abuse. Sadly 95% of these washed-out Monet reproductions and pictures of fruit bowls embossed on copper are only good for the fire or the bin, but occasionally I come across an original that I feel deserves a better chance at life. 

These candidates always seem to be original paintings produced by amateur hobbiests or perhaps by someone during a one-off dabbling at a weekend workshop. Just because these artists lack the kind of technical finesse only gained through years of dedication, it doesn't necessarily mean that their paintings lack merit. In fact, through my years of thinking about this I have concluded that amateurishness has its own appeal, but enabling that appeal to really shine involves a few essential steps.  

1) Free the painting from the shackles of it's frame

These frames are usually hideous. They are often either tacky and ancient, or tacky and new. The only successful thing they do is to literally hang the work on the wall. The rest is all bad. Also remember that when the painter paints a painting, they are selecting colours and composing their work as a system. When a frame goes on at the end it becomes part of that system, and must work with it. This does not mean that the frame must be the same colour as a colour in the work itself. Nine times out of ten this diminishes the impact of the work. Sorry professional picture framers, I disagree with your advice.

2) Clean the painting

It will usually be filthy from years of nicotine staining, fire soot and dust buildup. You would be surprised at the transformation. The paintings often look like they've just been painted.

3) Re Frame the painting 

This step is not easy. The wrong choice of frame will simply re-imprison the painting. I find that there will only be one option at the picture framers that will work for a particular painting. I always go for white as this will not interfere with the work much. Part of the problem of choosing is that the framers only have a little sample of wood to hold up to the work to get an idea, and you have to use your imagination to see how the finished result will look. I don't apply a formula here, I just use my eye until I feel I've found the right match.

So there you have it, a bit of show and tell about out Artists in Residence. Thanks Hazel Mauger, H.M.D, Grace Julian, L Thompson and H.M Aris, we love your work.  

We plan to grow the collection over time as we find the right work so come in and take a look.

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