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Visit with Jim – What’s in a Frame

Today’s post and read goes to having my breath taken away.  I have written in the past about my technique for setting up and capturing a photograph that I share in my social media or in my gallery.  I have also described how we choose our frames by attending estate sales in the greater Richmond area and Virginia.    We look for frames that call to either me and/or my wife.  As the saying goes something old, something new, something polished, something blue etc.  We either see an empty frame that is calls for a pairing or a stale piece of art in a fantastic frame crying out for a new inhabitant.  

That then allows me to move into this next step of my photography and get very creative with a print and a frame.   This week we picked up two where the entire photograph was remarkably changed.  The Elemental Runner is a piece that I am quite proud to share with the world.  It was a fleeting image of copper gold metallic inks that swept across the glass dragging behind a rainbow of colors.  She simply spoke to me and no further work was needed.  There was minimal dodge and burn etc. in Photoshop.  In essence what I captured is what you see above and in the print. 

The Runner is alive inside the photograph in so many dimensions.   There is movement, light, color, passion, health, energy, vibrancy and more.  There is nothing about this photograph that conveys anything to the negative.  It fits my mission to bring light and energy into the lives of those around me.  It is surprising to see so many colors work together so effortlessly.  Out of 1364 images shot that day in the studio, parts of this image appear five photos, but only two have the essence and matured form of the runner.   That fleeting image was there twice for a brief fragment of time … only 1/640th of a second.  So it was rare to see and even rarer to capture for this artwork. 


I have been taught to let the art speak through and do not make the frame be a distraction.  I would have to say that this is an essential truth for me.  I want to the frame and matte to stand back and not get in front the viewer more than the photographic print I have created.  While that is a truth, there are also exceptions to a rule and a truth.  We knew which frame we wanted to fill and like we have done before let the frame sit in our home empty and still.  We would wander by and ideas would enter our minds.  We would discuss and move on to new ideas.  Then THE one become manifest and evident.  

Before we got to the matte and frame we had to carefully think about the print and chose a Hannemuhle canvas that is beautifully textured.  It plays off the available light.  My wife and I have fun picking (negotiating) on which color(s) to pick.  We often find that with the strong colors in my artwork it is difficult for one matte to work all the way around the print. 

Before we show the frame further down, let’s take a short side trip about the matte set up.  Here we opted for a gold matte and a neutral transition to the frame.  The next hard choice is how much to show.  We want to strike the balance between an accent of color and a transition from the frame to the print and vice versa. 

Here in the lower left corner we can see that the interplay of the colors takes an interesting turn.   The same color and lighting for the top left corner and here we have a darker tone for the outer matte and inner matte.   

The gold seems to work beautifully with the blues and whites as they swirl around within the print.  The canvas seems to merge somewhere between painting and photography, although this was never a painting.  

The white edge of the cut matte carries into the print as well.  This is a fascinating journey as I begin to re-explore my own photograph.  A frame helps me to learn and see more and more than I had previously seen despite working so closely with the image.   This may be a key dimension within abstract work that I am learning.  There is always more to be curious about, learn about and experiment with.  So where else can we take a look at the interaction of the print and frame. 

I spoke about the canvas texture and thought it important to see it up close with the myriad details to discover.  The glass above the canvas is UV protective and nonreflective making it essentially invisible.  The Hannemuhle paper behind the glass finds it way to us from a family in the lower Saxony region of Germany that began making paper in 1584!!  How curious that the journey through time gives us a rich story about the history, technology and changes in the production of art as a sommelieric (neologism) pairing.  A multi-century multigenerational paper company that adapts through the ages to remain relevant and viable in today’s world. 

There is a perfect balance of colors carrying through from the canvas print into the matting and then walking across the neutral matte into the layers of the frame.  

Within the frame my wife noticed that there is color in between the ridge lines that seem to harken to the gentle violet – purples.  I had not noticed that until we picked this up from the frame shop.  Everything about these two are on point.  It is a Goldilocks moment for me.  Not too much, nor too little.  Frankly this is a next level creation of art for me.  I loved my photography and still do, but what came out of this process below was beyond what I thought possible.  My science mind started this journey to explore a little space in a camera within a 4″ space on plate glass or a Petri dish.  Now a few years hence this…    Huge shout out to my wife and to Work of Art Gallery for inspiring and challenging me to go beyond my comfort zone and normal limits.

When I post a picture I am certain of the print’s quality and print integrity.  What happens when we find the one frame is a deeper more unique experience. This is where question arose: What’s in a Frame? It is this higher degree of potential to be unearthed in the print + frame.  It is simply a limitation of time, the ability to source frames and matching the two that call and speak with each other.  

So here is the completed artwork below.  She will need a home.  This large gold frame clearly spoke to me, my wife and the photograph. That siren song was unmistakable.  It is 32″ x 44″ and  needs a large comfortable wall with light that changes through the day.  As you can see above the museum glass is nearly as invisible as it gets.  This will allow the changing light to play with the colors and highlight various parts of the photograph through the day.  More red orange sunrise, sunset and early days, late afternoons will highlight parts of the photograph, while the blues of midday will accentuate other parts.   The day will arrive when this artworks speaks to someone’s heart as clear as she does mine.  If you are interested DM me.  It is a one of a kind production with a hand signed COA. 

Join me in a fireside chat via Zoom in the evening to discuss any aspect of my artwork.  To qualify, and join a video conversation send your contact information here and let me know what you would want to talk about.  The selected participants will receive a 25% discount on any of my unlimited edition pieces of art.  I will personally sign the piece at printing.  Even more, the gallery is offering this purchase risk free for you. Free shipping, Free return, and no questions asked if you are unhappy with the art work.  You can keep the print for 30 days to enjoy the selection in your home or office. This risk free offer does not apply to metal, acrylic and other specialized media prints.





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