Antiques & Antiquing, Art, Inspiration

What a difference a frame makes

A frame can make or break a painting. It is there to encase, protect and enhance but in a very subtle way. If a frame is working your eye should be drawn immediately to the image. Its hard for me as a curator as bad frames really annoy me! When you get it right …ooh!

But here I am asking you to focus on the frames…..

I acquired this wonderful oil sketch of Wicklow by George Campbell RHA (1917-1979) from a bric -a-brac shop last month

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but even though the frame was new it just wasn’t right for me. So I painted the outer part in off black by Farrow & ball – a lovely chalky finish.

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much better!

Then there was this beautiful oil of Richmond Park by Lee Campbell in a simple wooden frame. (Just realised by pure coincidence she has the same surname as previous artist!)

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The frame was fine, not detracting from the picture, but I wanted to pull out those lovely shadows Lee has painted so I re-framed it in a more substantial darker frame with hints of dulled gold around the edges enhancing the light dancing on the summer grasses – now I feel like I am there when I look in to the painting!

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and lastly my painting of Coliemore Harbour by Brien Vahey. Here he is signing it for me

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I have framed this in a heavy frame also – in keeping with the style of my sitting room. I had it framed in a gold frame but found the gold too yellow so last night I added a black/brown chalky wash on the curved part, this has calmed it down and again pulls out Brien’s shadowy strokes. am delighted with it and it hangs happily with the Lee Campbell beneath.

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So sometimes you can improve a frame yourself with a tester tin of paint

Or you may not see it, but some of the artwork on you walls that you are not too enamoured with, may be just because the frame is not doing it’s job.

Part of my Home Curation Service entails home visits where I can help you rethink how old paintings are framed as well as how they are hung.

more info see: http://niamhmacgowan.com/interior/framingService.php

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Art

The paintings of Brien Vahey

Continuing my taster to the Open Studios Event in a couple of weeks, I wanted to show you some works by painter Brien Vahey.

I have long been a fan of Brien’s paintings especially because of his subject matter and how he treats it – with his painterly strokes of happy colours.

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‘Coliemore Harbour’ by Brien Vahey

Brien tackles landscapes and beachscapes, his use of colour capturing the sunlight kissing the sea or the hayfields and their surrounding hills. When I look at his paintings I can see them enhancing a room a thousandfold, imagine a room with pale grey walls and a well loved wooden rectory table in the middle surrounded by mismatching chairs …. with this on the wall above….

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‘Tonlagee 6’ by Brien Vahey 

Brien also looks at everyday items and sees a still life where we would see none…

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‘Bread and flour’ by Brien Vahey

Even a coal skuttle becomes a thing of beauty – I love the turquoise in this one – think of the colour this would introduce to a room!

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‘Coal Skuttle’ by Brien Vahey

and then there are his gentle observations of what would seem ordinary  buildings

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‘Ice cream shop 1’ by Brien Vahey

humble farm buildings become the centre of attention, and rightly so..

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‘Farmyard Glencree’ by Brien Vahey

A piece of fine art is SUCH an important element to an interior – to me a room is incomplete without at least one strong artwork on the walls. This is what pulls a room together or, for many of my rooms, starts off ideas and colourways.

I am hosting an Open Studio Weekend at the home and studios of Brien & Grainne on the 15th & 16th of June – please contact me direct if you would like an invitation to an opportunity to meet the artists and view their works in situ. All works on display will be for sale.

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