Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Heavy Lifting

sketch of constructed panel by Matthew Olds.
I love painting large, so when I was contacted by Erik Bennion at Patricia Rovzar Gallery for a commission of a 54" x 70" encaustic work for a private collector, I jumped at the opportunity.

Encaustic requires a good firm substrate that won't twist, warp or split under the heavy weight of the applied layers of wax. I've been using hollow-core doors for my large pieces. They are strong, lightweight, and I can cut them down to just about any size. Unfortunately, the largest panel comes in just 48" width, and a custom order from my millwork supplier came to a whopping $2500.

So, I contacted the talented and able Matthew Olds from HOLD Studios. Matthew is an artist who supplements his income through canvas and panel construction for other artists in the Seattle area. He designed a panel that would fit my needs (see sketch above), my architect-husband Barry made a couple of tweaks to the structure, and within 2-weeks I had a good solid substrate delivered direct to the studio, ready to paint for just over $300.

panel under construction at Hold Studios on Vashon Island

We decided it would be best to use 3" deep bracing, and we added a panel to the back side to help prevent torsional warp. It's strong and sturdy. And HEAVY. Weight without wax comes in around 50 pounds.

For these large pieces, I need to work both horizontal and vertical, but I was afraid I'd destroy everything in the studio, including my back, trying to navigate the heavy panel around the studio. So, Barry has been enlisted yet again to design and install a block and tackle system with a pulley across the ceiling. If all goes according to plan, I'll be waxing and painting to my hearts content within the week.

I'll be sure to post updates of the system, so keep checking back to see how we progress. Wish us luck!


Alisa said...

can't wait to see!

Matthew said...

Wow that sounds like an amazing system and super cool. I can't wait to see it!

Thanks Joyce.

Kristine Campbell said...

This was so informative. We all wonder from time to time how other artists have tackled a problem. You have a good thing going here!
Looking forward to the next installment, no pun intended.

Thanks Joyce!

Cynthia Gerdes said...

What would we do without the architects and engineers in our lives? Can't wait to see the painting!