Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday wine..and a little bole

Friday is art day, and I try to get in some painting time.
Since I got a slow start this week, I wasn't sure how to
navigate the day.
I wanted to get to the next step which is bole.

Bole is earth clay, a pigment highly refind!
Pictured here, it comes in cones.

I put a cone in a plastic bag and pound it with a mallet.
It breaks up easly, and I put it in a container.
Some is powder, some are chuncks about the size of
a quarter. I then add water till it is level to the top of
the clay. I set it aside.
After a bit,(1 hr.) I'll check it, the water has soaked
into the clay. I then add a bit more water till it is again
level to the top of the clay.

This water also will soak into the clay, at this point I
stir it all up. It will be the consistancy of peanut butter.
(If it seem too dry, add water. If it seems too wet, pour
off excess water, or leave the lid off for a bit.)
My clay is now prepared.
(I'll make a containers worth, so I'll have clay ready
when I need it.)

Now, yesterday, before I left ,I measured out 15 grams
of rabbit skin glue.
I add 12 ounces of water to this to soak over night.
Today I heat up, to melt down the RSG.
After assessing my frames, I determine how much bole
I will need.

Because of the samples chosen, I will start with yellow
For every tablespoon of clay, I add three tablespoons
of RSG.
But not all at once! BE CAREFUL at this point!

If I have 1 tblspn. of clay, I first add 1 tblspn. of glue.

I stir this first. Once this is mixed good I then add the
other two tblspn. and mix.
(If you try to mix all at once, there will always be a
portion that settles to the bottom, and never gets mixed
in right.)

So I figure I'm going to make 5 tblspns. of clay, then I will
need 15 tblspns. of RSG.

I put 5 tblspns of clay into a container.

I add (first) 5 tblspns of RSG then mix well.
Once this is mixed well, I add the remaining 10 tblspns of
RSG and mix everything.
I will then pour this mixture through a paint mesh strianer
as to know it is mixed well, with no lumps!
When you dip your brush there should be 3-5 drips off the

Technically once the clay & RSG is mixed, it is called bole.
I will put 3 coats of yellow bole on each frame. You must let
each coat dry before the next.
Now It is time to break bread, and have some wine.
I think I'm going to paint. Have a wonderful week end!

Monday I will resume, please stay tuned. Thank you.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Today was a good day!
I got an early start, and proceeded to 'prep' the frames.
'Prepping' is basically wetting down the frame(s) with a
soft hair brush.
This raises the grain of the wood. The frame will dry in
about 20-30 minutes.
We want to raise the grain. When the frame has dried,
I sand the frame with 120 grit sand paper.

This is an important procedure, if you don't do this, the
wood grain will ghost through and has an undesireable
You have to look at the frame. Sometimes I will wet and
sand twice. (Some wood has a pronounced grain, and
wants to raise more.)
Once the frame is sanded, I tape off the inside that is
not to be gesso'd.
In the mean time, I have the jar of gesso that I made
the other day, melting down in a double boiler.

I brush on the gesso from the corners to the middle.
I try to do this in one long stroke. Not like Huck Finn
painting the fence. (If I need to use a few srokes, then
Once the frame is painted I let it dry. I do this three
times.(depending on the profile, or detail carvings)
I can discuss this more on another post~

When the frames are bone dry, I can start sanding.
I'll usually start with 220 grit, but 180 may be needed.
Again, depending on the look, I will sand from 220, to
320, to 400, to 600! (I stop at 600 because any higher
and the gold tends to get a plastic look.)
I have and can sand up to 1500 grit. But not always!
Once my frame(s) are sanded, I wipe it down with a
paper towel, to clean all the dust from it.
Then, with a horse hair cloth, I polish up the frame
and it will take a luster almost like glass.
If I do not have a horse hair brush, then a paper towel
will do.( A brown paper bag will polish gesso too!)

Gesso is the base foundation in water gilding.
Your frame will only be as good as your gesso coat.
So make it pretty, and it will sing forever.
What you see in the picture is Daves frame, with the
liner. My frame for Richard. And two wooden plates
that I plan to surprize you with.
I like surprizes, don't you!?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

gilding 101 plan b (part a)

Well, my framer is going to be another day out.

So I'm switching to plan b.
These are some more samples to choose from.
I hold these against the art and decide yea or nay
This is a fun part of the process because it dresses
the art and brings out aspects in the painting.

Gilding 101 plan b (part b)

plan b :)
We're switching gears

This is a painting by Artist Richard Lack. Richard is an American Master artist.
Although Richard was never a formal teacher of mine, he was a friend. He helped
me artistically very much. So yes, in a way he was a teacher of mine!
I've wanted to gild a frame for this painting for many years, now I will!
This will be my tribute to Richard Lack. Richard passed away last Fall. I will always
have his art on my walls.
As you can see, the frame is raw wood.
I've chose this profile, and now I need to decide what gold,and under color to have.
From the samples I've posted, I need to decide on one. Hmm.. let's see.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gilding 101

Day 1 , 9:00 am I'm in the studio, put on some heat and let's get started!

First thing I need to do is make gesso.
I measure out by weight 20 grams of rabbit skin glue.
(I like to use the dark german, and I will talk more about
this at another post.)
I put my RSG (rabbit skin glue) in a pint mason jar.
Next I pour 1 cup of water into the jar of RSG.
I stir this time to time, but this needs to set for 24 hrs.
The granuals will absorb the water, swelling up to several
times its original size.
I do not use tap water, I do not use distilled water.
A good drinking (bottled) water is best.

Next I will weigh out the whiteing: 730 grams.

Whiteing is a general term, as several different ingredients
will cause different looks to develope.
Here I will use marble powder. ( Some call it marble flour)
There are other ingredience you could use, such as gypsem
or calcium carbonate, fired bone ash, powdered lime stone.
and many others.
For this application, marble powder is my choice. The weight
will differ if you use another ingredient.
I set the whiteing aside, and take a sip of coffee.
The client is a local framer. I am not a framer!
(I can make frames, but I am not a framer!)
The client has already showen me the mouldings he will be
chopping to assemble this frame.
This style of frame is refered to as a 'reveal', it does not have
a rabbit that overlaps the art.

Well, today my plan was to get the gesso started, when the
client shows up he will choose from the corner samples the
look he wants.
I was just informed that the client (David) cannot get here
until tomarrow! Huh!? I'm in the middle of my blog David!
Don't do this to me..
Well folks, we would have chosen a sample, and I would have
proceeded to sand the frame.
Since I'm winging this 101 class, I ask for your patience.
Frankly this is a pretty good start, and you all have been
good. : ) I will resume this tomarrow. Class dismissed!
Gilberto, Frank, no running in the halls!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gold Gilding

I want to try something different.
I'm going to gild a goldleaf frame on my blog.
Actually it's for a client, but I want to go through the steps,
so you can see a 'Lost Art', it's some cool stuff.

This photo is of some of the stuff I use to gild
I will post every day this week, so you can observe the procedure.
This will be water gilding, a rare and most sought after form
of gilding.
The client will choose from several corner samples, the desired
look of the frame for the art.
I will be useing 22k (karat) Italian gold.

I've been gilding for many years, and have made frames
for Museums, Art Galleries, and High-end art collections.

Rockwell Picasso Motherwell Hans Hoffman Joni Mitchell
to name a few.

Many Russian paintings, some around the world in other museums.

I designed, hand carved and gilded a frame for the original portrait
of Betty Crocker, an art piece in General Mills art collection.
Some of the locals also have my work on there art!

I'm Whalberg Art Studio my gilding department is called Superior Gilding
I'm located at the back of Shiny Robot Studio. (501 1st ave. N.E.)

If you want to reach me my number is 612-331-1466
I can gild something for you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mermaids dream

This is a painting I did from a painting by Marc Chagall.
I took artistic licence and changed a few things.
I embelished the flowers, and put a tropical beach in.
Originally this is a portrait of his wife.
However I decided to make it Renee! (my wife)

We had a fun Valintines Day.

old dog

I think I'm losing it.

Somedays I should just stay in bed.
As much as I wanted to get my foot in the door,
at the MIA, (museum) It didn't happen.
Every ten years they allow Minnesota artists to
enter an art piece to display to the public.
I was hoping to, but missed the deadline.
So I'll cry like a baby...wwwaaaaaaaaa!!!!

I feel foolish, my poor ego, it's crushed.
I'm just an old dog, with old tricks.
Think I'll do a self portrait.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Sometimes I'll work one day a week at the Wood Carvers Store & School.
They've had the same phone # for over Fifty years!
One of the pluses is I get some of the work that comes through the door.
This is one of those jobs.
This person had caught a Muskie up in the Canadian boundry waters.
Once she had this big fish in the boat, it was measured & weighed.
A picture was snapped and the fish was returned to the water.
(No animals where hurt in the making of this blog)
This fish measured out at 48" long. Its weight was over 30 lbs.
The only thing bigger than this fish was the smile on her face!
This customer came in and asked to have a carving made of its
exact length.
This is the result.


This is a piece I've been working on this week.
It's 22k gold letters on an oak post.
It's for a church, I'm not sure what it says.

Although I've been a gilder many years, Recently I've
been learning to paint. Some hits, some misses.
It seems a lot of blogs are showing how-to -do's!
I would not do a how to do on painting.
However, I could do a how to do on gilding.
Picture frames, outdoor statues, window (glass) letters..
If any one would be interested in this, let me know.
Maybe there's a Gilding 101 waiting to happen.
(not classes, I'd just show how I do it!)

Friday, February 5, 2010


As I was painting these apples, a friend stopped by.
His son, about 3 years old asked if he could eat one.
" Sure" I said!
So he ate it, and asked for the other one also!
I did not get to finish painting these apples.

Sand Artist

This is a detail study I wanted to do from a painting
of George Luks, one of the ashcan artists.
This little guy needs a candy bar.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Thomas Moran

I was at the Minneapolis Institute (museum) the other day.
For the first time, I was allowed to snap a few pics of some
of my favorite art.
Ladies and Gentelmen, I give you Thomas Moran.
Have a wonderful view, have a wonderful week!