Harpenden Arts Club Exhibition

Well, I was midway through drafting a post on a very interesting gouache resist workshop (I’m still working on it… only three weeks late so far), but instead of I will say…

… YIPPEE ~^^~!

One of the pictures I entered into the Harpenden Arts Club exhibition won the most popular vote-from-the-general-public. It was another Cedar-the-eagle-owl pastel (I honestly do draw things other than owls occasionally), and since I thought the standard of work in the exhibition was very good, I was most flattered ^^.

Also to my great joy I managed to sell two of the three works that I entered, which is a relief to the walls of my house against which all the leftovers are stacking up. It was probably even more a relief to the kind friends who first visited the exhibition and then lugged my single remaining (but enormous) picture home in their car1.

Anyway, since I completely failed to take any photos of my pictures after I got them framed, I have pasted a lovely eframe mockup at the top of this post instead which is why all the images have little close symbols in the top left corner. NB mockup may be less lovely than claimed.


1 I should also take this moment to thank the fellow artists and artist-affiliates who helped me transport all my pictures to the exhibition in the face of extremely heavy traffic, and even heavier queues @___@.

You’ve been framed

Harpenden Arts Club is holding its annual exhibition next week1 and – for the first time – I have enough spare artwork floating around to participate.

You know what this means?

A framing nightmare.

Firstly, I have to remember to order the frames. This time, for a change, I remembered to order them but almost forgot to pick them up, culminating in a mad dash into town (followed by a very slow stagger back to the station). I’m sure each frame doesn’t actually weigh several tonnes, but somehow their awkward height – necessitating lifting to around ear level when walking – and their tendency to catch the breeze and passing pedestrians seem to make it so.

Once home and after sensation has returned to my hands, the framing starts.

Are the mounts the right size? Invariably no.

Some contrive to be too small, entailing brutal pruning of the artwork; occasionally more brutal than intended due to poor motor control and a pair of blunt scissors.

Almost worse, of course, is when the mount is just slightly too large, at which point vast quantities of card and tape are employed to try and disguise the fact. This never works, particularly at first.

… @____@…

Time to remove the backboard again, sore fingers quailing at each metal tag2, undo all the tape, redo part of the tape while lying on my back squinting up at two centimetres of mount projecting over the edge of the desk, realise I don’t have enough tape, dash out to buy some more tape, somehow get the new tape stuck on the wrong side of the artwork and spend several fraught minutes peeling it off and whimpering every time the delicate pastel threatens to fall off the desk onto my face, put everything back together again, realise the mount is in places now somehow at a lower level than the picture surface, take off the backboard again and break out the PVA glue…

In short, it ends up like an escapade of Uncle Podger’s in Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three Men in a Boat’3.


  • Lesson i) Always leave a sizeable border between your actual image and the edge of the paper, because mounts hate everyone.
  • Lesson ii) Also always leave a good length of time – at least 2 weeks – between collecting the frames and having to hand them in for exhibiting, to allow for re-ordering anything (by which I mean mounts) that have gone wrong. Because they will have.
  • Lesson iii) Avoid framing stuff whenever humanly possible.

1Ooh, and one of my owls is in prime position on the slideshow advertising the exhibition ~^^~ #shamelessplug.

2If anyone knows of a painless way to bend back the metal tags holding the backboard in the frame (which does not result in a broken palette knife) please let me know…

3Well, perhaps not quite that entertaining: http://www.literaturepage.com/read/threemeninaboat-19.html