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Glassless Framing

Many artists have asked me how I frame my artwork on paper without glass so I decided to write a post about the process I follow.


I gently remove any wax bloom with a soft cloth. Edit (3/31/11): if I'm dealing with a lot of wax bloom, I blow some warm air over the affected area with a hair dryer or heat gun. The wax bloom disappears right before my eyes.

Then I take my piece outside and spray it with 5 coats of  Prismacolor Final Fixative - Gloss, waiting 15 minutes between coats. Edit (11/29/12): In place of fixative I now use Golden Archival MSA Spray Varnish - Gloss. After it's dry I run a white cotton handkerchief over its surface. If there is no color residue left on the handkerchief my artwork is ready for varnish, otherwise I spray more fixative. It's important to create a solid barrier between the pigments and the varnish. I let the fixative dry overnight.


I mount my large pieces on Ampersand  Claybord with 3/4" cradle, the smaller ones on Claybord with 2" cradle. There are also 1/8" flat panels available. I like the Claybord panels because their surface is completely archival, lightfast and acid free. After dislodging any debris from the back of my artwork, I trim the extra white paper around it.

My artwork at this point should be a bit larger than the panel - to account for possible misalignment during mounting. I carefully mount it on a sheet of  Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film which I then mount on the panel. After turning the panel upside down, I trim the edges and put it under heavy books overnight. Please practice mounting before you do it with a valuable  piece of art.

More on this on the following post: How to Mount Paper on Board. Update (2/26/2013)


I usually paint the edges of the cradled panel in acrylic and then begin varnishing with Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS (Ultra Violet Light Stabilizers) - Gloss. This is a waterborne acrylic polymer varnish that dries to a protective, flexible, dust-resistant surface. It needs to be thinned with water, 2-3 part varnish to 1 part water. I apply at least 3 coats with a soft, wide brush and wait 3 hours between coats. The varnish cures completely in one week. You can then frame your panel or hang it without a frame.

This process, especially at the beginning, is a little time consuming but certainly worth the effort. I just love that my art can be exhibited along with the best oil and acrylic paintings and still generates the most curiosity. "I can't believe it's colored pencil" has become the standard reaction followed by numerous questions on my technique and presentation.

Into the LightAbove and BelowThe Butterfly Effect


If you you are interested in how I mount and frame my artwork on canvas without glass, please visit the following posts:

Canvas and the Icarus Board
Canvas and the Icarus Board: Part 2
Canvas and the Icarus Board: Final Post


Another Blue Ribbon for “Above and Below”

"Above and Below" took another First Place at the 2010 Pencil Painting Exhibition presented by the Los Angeles District Chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America. The Cypress Community Gallery, located at 5700 Orange Avenue in Cypress, is hosting the show until April 16 (Mon-Fri, 9-5). I was told the as soon as the judge, Michael Daniel, entered the gallery, he immediately asked to be reassured that my artwork was indeed made with colored pencil.

Below are the pictures of my winning artwork and of the award recipients. From left: Ester Roi (1st Place), Barbara Roger (Honorable Mention), Ruth Anisman (2nd Place) and Ruth Arthur (3rd Place). Other Honorable Mentions were awarded to: Jeff George and Margaret Lindsey. Congratulations to all!

Award RecipientsAbove and Below



A Whole New Point of View


As an artist I'm always searching for different ways to look at the world around me. In my latest piece, "The Lightness of Being", you can see how simple poppies transform into ethereal creatures when turned upside down.  What do you do to get a whole new point of view?


Best of Show!

Flying High From Happiness

My artwork "Above and Below" (colored pencil and oil pastel on the Icarus Drawing Board) has been awarded the Expy Best of Show and Prismacolor Award in "Explore This! 6", the Colored Pencil Society of America's online exhibition. The juror, Dr. Barbara Grazul Hubbard, has selected the work of 55 artists for this annual prestigious exhibition which will run until January 31, 2011.

Edit (2/4/10): Katherine Tyrrell  wrote a post about "Explore This! 6" on her blog Making a Mark. You can read her wonderful comments on my artwork by clicking here.


My Art Studio: Part 1

My art studio has a high cathedral ceiling with a wooden beam running across the middle. Several months ago I had the brilliant idea to install a swing which has become one of the most useful features in my studio. I discovered that by taking 3 to 5 minute breaks on the swing every few hours or so, not only do I get re-energized but my concentration level increases. The motion of swinging is also very relaxing and soothing and it seems to foster creativity and right brain thinking.

Swinging in My Studio

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