Friday, June 12, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Tomatoes in a Glass Bowl", plus making plastic sleeves for paintings


Thank you to Loredana of Torino, Italy who helped me with the correct title of yesterday's painting!

"Tomatoes in a Glass Bowl" - oil - 10" x 10"


I bought a set of these blue glass bowls with raised dots on them years ago at a Target store. I've used them at models a number of times, and continue to find them interesting and challenging to render. The fabric in the background is a favorite tablecloth.

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This may be my last post for a few days or more. Today I'm loading up the show tent, paintings, and all the other stuff to set up at the Summer Art Market. The forecast promises (threatens?) rain through the weekend, so a rain jacket is in with the mix. (Weather update, 6 a.m. Saturday: Make that lightning, funnel clouds, heavy rain, and golf-ball sized hail...?)

Because I like to share ideas with other artists on practical matters, today I'm including a photo of my transport bags. I've had positive comments from gallery owners and show presenters. At outdoor shows, they are not only a handy way to bring the work in, but when someone buys a piece, It can easily/quickly be slipped in its bag, protecting it from fingerprints and rain, but still visible to the rest of the shopping crowd. Pretty cool, huh?

I make my reusable transport/storage bags out of 4ML plastic sheeting. This comes in a 100 foot wide roll (unfolds to 8' 4"), and can be found at construction supply stores, like Home Depot and Lowes. A roll lasts me a couple years. I've made bags as large as for a 40"x 60" canvas, and small as for a 10"x10" (shown at right). For smaller paintings, gallon size Zip-Lock bags work very well. Wish they made larger ones!

If you want to try this, it helps to have a large clean table to set up on.

  • Cut a piece of plastic sheeting using your canvas as a guide, leaving at least two inches on the left and right sides. Plus you'll want to fold the plastic in half; the fold will be the 'bottom' of your bag. Leave an extra 4 inches or so at the top so the bag can be grabbed or folded over. (So for example, for a 10" x10" canvas, cut a piece of plastic about 14"x28", and fold in half to 14" square to begin).
  • Using an iron at the very lowest setting (dry, no steam), place the folded plastic on top of sheet of newspaper. Fold one side over about 3/4", smoothing with your hand, and then fold it again. Place another sheet of newspaper on top. Carefully iron the edge of the bag, checking that you aren't melting the plastic. The heat will help make a nice flat fold. Using clear 2" packing tape, start at the edge of the bag and tape over the fold, finishing with a bit of tape to the inside of the bag, and over the bottom side edge. Repeat for the other side of the bag.
  • To keep track of the bags at art fairs, I mark the size on the upper corner with a Sharpie marker. When transporting paintings, I place them in the plastic sleeves, and box matching sizes face-to-face and back-to-back (this avoids injury to the painting surface from backing screws).
  • When hanging the artwork, I place the S-hook (or a nail or picture hanger for a wall, if you are inside), and then slide the plastic down partway. Once the painting is attached to the hanger, I slide the bag off (so I've hung the painting and not touched the surface once). Then I store the plastic sleeves upright in boxes of corresponding size, for easy access for sales, and for packing up at the end of the event.

How do you wrap and transport/store your paintings? I'm always looking for new and better ways of doing things.
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25 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful painting... the glass bowl is awsome!
    Your tips seem very helpful, I'm sure I'll use them someday (when...when I grow up, as Ken Barklay says). I wonder if for the small bags, zip-locks would work as well...

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  2. Thanks for sharing this method for making protective bags. You are a marvel of clever and useful ideas!! Wonderful blue bowl -- love the dots -- great played against the tablecloth and the tomatoes.

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  3. Every bit of this painting is jut remarkable...The details you keep in mind while painting is jut outstanding...The shadows, table cloth and offcourse the glass bowl...I liked everything...Thanks for the very informative and lovely post! :)

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  4. Besides this amazing advice (and on your previous posts) another great painting R.

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  5. Your tomatoes are scrumptious looking and that bowl.....wow! Great work R!
    Your transport bag idea is awesome!

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  6. You are incredibly brilliant and organized!
    Best of luck at the show. Am mentally pushing those funnel clouds away...

    Love the tomatoes and blue bowl. incredible design!

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  7. Thanks for the tip! When I ship my paintings I wrap them in glassine wrap to keep the painting from sticking to bubble wrap or anything else during transport, though it's a bit too milky looking for regular display purposes.

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  8. great idea. Thanks for sharing. I have been wondering just how I might display my painting-A-Day's in a display box and worried about scratching. This just might be the ticket.

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  9. I really like your idea for making transport bags, the abiliy to see through them is so clever. I have been using bags sewn from old quilted bedspreads and mattress pads. Can't see through them. 16X20 paintings fit perfectly in old pillow cases from thrift stores. An artist friend makes bags from old beach towels sewn up the edges. There are 2 gallon sized Zip Lock bags, they scarce and you have to be on the look out for them, and sometimes they make even bigger ones.

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  10. I have a friend who uses old t-shirts with the necks sewn up to transport smaller works. I love your plastic bag method. Thanks for explaining it so cogently.

    Your painting "pops" as usual! Your colors really sing.

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  11. As always, very useful and interesting ideas!!

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  12. Beautiful piece. Hope the weather cooperated for you over the weekend and you had a great event (lots of sales!) :)

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  13. Brilliant! ... both the painting and the sleeve advice. Thanks!

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  14. I love the clean, clear color in your work. Thanks also for sharing your tips!

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  15. Beautiful painting R. I love the way you carried the blue from the bowl through the background fabric. Those bumps in the bowl sure add a lot of interest. Well done, and good luck with your show.

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  16. That is a beautiful painting. You amaze me with such top notch work done so prolifically!

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  17. Wow. OK, you are a genius. And generous, to boot. Love the blue glass bowl, and love your 'packing bag' instructions - I'm in! Going to the Home Depot this weekend!

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  18. I particularly like the way you are able to convey actual textures for each item (tomato, bowl, tablecloth) so effectively in a composition that truly works. Also...great idea on those bags...gotta try it!

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  19. I so enjoyed meeting you at SAM - glad we made it out alive!!

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  20. Hey, R, GREAT idea and instructions on the transport bags. Wow. I have been treating my paintings with a certain cavalier ease - and it's starting to show. I am going to make plastic sleeves for each of them.

    Also, lovely painting. There has been so much rain here, I fear we will never have tomatoes. And these look so scrumptious!

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  21. R. Haven't heard from you for a while. Hope everything is O K

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  22. Hoping you are well...I miss seeing your work!

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  23. Great post and very informative.

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  24. Thanks everyone, for sharing your ideas, too-- there's some great ones in here!

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Thank you for your kind comments! They always make my day.