Design Ideas Thrifty Ideas


Several months ago I started taking an oil painting class.

Am I an artist?   NOooo!

Have I done lots of other painting in my life other than walls and furniture?  Not really.  In fact due to this art class, I am now working on painting number 4 of my life.  I had done one painting before the class and that is it.  End of story.  I was a math and science girl and didn’t go for all that artsy-fartsy stuff.

Until now.

Sunflower Painting

Painting #3 before it is framed.

Actually looking back I realize I was always drawn to artistic and crafty things, I just never took the time to get into them because they weren’t part of my future plans.  But since finishing college (BS Mathematics ’99) and becoming a stay at home mother to five kids, I’ve realized I have an interest in art. For me the best approach to something I want to learn about is to jump in head first.  (Another great example of this was the woodworking class I took where I undertook making a queen sized bed.) I don’t really recommend this approach for everyone.  It has its fair share of stress, feelings of inadequacy, and sometimes makes the people around me ask, “What were you thinking.”  But the upside is I learn a ton in a very short amount of time.

The art class I’m taking right now is taught by Nathan Pinnock, an amazing professional artist with years of experience and a huge portfolio, some of which can be seen here on his website.  He specializes in people and I’ve seen him whip out a perfect portrait in oil in about 40 minutes.  It is absolutely amazing to watch.

Recently I had my first “recital” that Catherine wrote about here.  Actually it’s an art show, but Nate says to think of it like a piano recital. Since Robear made me do plenty of those, this wasn’t the most comforting analogy. I have plenty of bad memories of piano recitals gone wrong.  Due to this, I decided to think of it as an art show where I actually have something on display, but no one has to know it is mine.

Except my name is on it.


It also needed to be framed and my piece is a very non-standard size due to the fact I painted on the back of a piece of masonite I found left in the garage.  This means I could either pay a small car payment to have it professionally framed or I could make one myself.  The answer seemed pretty obvious to me.

Had I ever made a frame before?  Noooo.  But if you’ve been reading this you have probably noticed a trend.

So, the day before the recital art show, I went to Home Depot and got a 4 inch wide pine board for $7 and some brackets for $8. I pulled out the old miter saw and table saw hand-me-downs from the Renovation Whisperer, aka Dad.

First I cut the boards to the sizes I needed.  Mitered boards

My picture is huge at 26 inches square.   Each board was mitered to be 25.5 inches on the short side to account for the 1/4 inch groove for the picture to rest in on each side, and 32.5 inches on the long sides.

Next I used the table saw to cut a groove out of  each board along the inside bottom edge to create that recess thing all picture frames seem to have.

Frame groove in wood

I set the fence really close to the blade and had to run each piece through several times, adjusting the fence a little further from the blade each time to create a 1/4 inch groove.

Table saw blade

I dry fit all the pieces together then put wood glue on all the joints and shot a single nail into each corner with the Renovation Whisperer’s borrowed nail gun.  Thanks again Dad.  I was just using the nails as temporary holds on the corners to see if everything fit together properly.  After assessing that it would all work, I used my metal brackets to secure the corners.  I might have gone a little overboard on the brackets.  Oops.  Again…I sense a trend.

Corner brackets

Of course being my first frame the corners weren’t exactly perfect, but a little caulk does wonders.

The only question left was what color to paint it.  Deciding on a color can be hard for me, like the dilemma I’m still facing with my queen bed.

Luckily I thought of Photoshop and was able to quickly get a basic example of several options.

Sunflower Collage

Since the show was the next day, I didn’t really have time to be picky so I chose to go with black.  Plus, I had black spray paint left over from my table and baskets project for my porch.

So I sprayed the frame and inserted the picture. The rest is history. I made it through my first art show and (if we don’t count the cost of buying a lot of delicious gelato for the kids and Sports Addict) the entire experience cost me less than $20 and my pride remained intact.