Richard Powers: Flights of Fancy

Baldwin Hill Art & Framing is once again proud to exhibit artwork by Richard M. Powers. Best known for his surrealistic science fiction book covers, Powers also has a large body of fine art work as well as illustrations for history and general fiction books.  This exhibit will show rarely-seen paintings and sketches from his long career, which extended from the WPA period in the 1940s through the 1990s.

Check back soon for a link to our eBay store with works from this collection available for sale!

 

Visualization: see what your frame will look like!

We’ve all seen it happen: you want to paint a room in your house, so you go down to the paint store and pick out a bunch of color chips. Then you get home, hold the chips up to the wall, and settle on a color. Later, when the paint job is done, sometimes you realize that the effect of a whole wall of a particular color is quite different than that of a small color chip!

A similar thing can happen in custom framing. The traditional frame design process involves selecting corner samples of mats and mouldings, placing them against the artwork, and trying to imagine what the finished result might look like. Most of the time this works fairly well, but sometimes the effect of a whole frame of a given pattern is different than you may have imagined from the corner sample.

Another thing that can happen is to be undecided between two or more design options: “Will this look better with the black frame or the gold frame?”. Again, it can be challenging to imagine the different options and come to a decision.

Baldwin Hill Art & Framing has a solution for the 21st century: Frame Design Visualization. Using modern computer technology we can now simulate what a complete frame design is going to look like before the frame is built!

Here’s how it works: a camera mounted over the design counter takes a picture of your artwork, along with mat and moulding samples under consideration. With a few clicks of the mouse, we pick out the mats and moulding we want to use.

The software then displays an image of the finished frame design. Changing mats, mouldings, mat borders, even opening shapes takes just a few clicks of the mouse. We can even show up to four designs side-by-side for you to choose from!

While this system is not perfect–lighting effects in the camera mean that this is not for choosing between shades of white, for example–it is great for other aspects of the decision.  Choice of frame colors or widths, mat border widths, and what color to put on top in a double mat can now be resolved with a simple side by side comparison.  This system makes for quicker decisions and more confidence in your final choice, especially for customers that have a hard time seeing it without seeing.

This system is also useful when designing frames for the long distance customer, or the busy but opinionated partner who is unable to come to the shop. We use the visualization system to mock up multiple candidate designs and then either email them or print them out for the customer to take home for further discussion and approval. The customer then either chooses the design they like or propose changes. Eventually we arrive at a design that we and the customer know they’re going to love!

Frames For Your Graduate!

It’s graduation season!  You or the grad in your family worked hard for that diploma.  What better way to celebrate all that hard work than by framing it to display proudly?  There are endless possibilities when it comes to framing a diploma!  Here are just a few:

Many clients like to include some piece of memorabilia from the graduation in their designs.  This client frames all of her diplomas in shadowboxes with the graduation tassel.
Another memorabilia design.  With small diplomas it’s often possible to include the diploma cover itself in the framing design.  This particular one is of historical interest, dating back to when Mass. General Hospital operated their own nursing school.
This client chose to include an iconic image from her university in the frame design.  The mat choices (green & gold) reflect the school colors.
Even a simple framing treatment can be enhanced with school colors and a little gold trim!

Remember, gift cards from Baldwin Hill Art & Framing make the perfect graduation present!

Conrad Gees: Havana On The Cusp

CGees_9556_RedStatWagon_04_03_2015

Baldwin Hill Art & Framing has an exciting exhibit planned for April/May!

Local photographer and Baldwin Hill employee Conrad Gees recently took a trip to Havana, Cuba and came back with a treasure trove of photos and stories. Havana today is a city in transition: after decades of pure communist rule, small seedlings of private enterprise are starting to blossom.  Parts of the city, crumbling for years, are very slowly starting to be rebuilt.  The promise of normal relations with the United States foreshadows bigger changes to come.

Throughout all this, the people of Havana have to live their daily lives while navigating the shifting landscape of society.  Conrad’s photos tell the story of this transition in vivid detail.  Each photo has a story, which he will gladly regale you with at our reception on April 18!

This exhibit runs through May 5, 2015.

More about Richard Powers

Shadowboxes and Arrangements

Cover for “Tarzan Triumphant”, showing the torn-paper-collage technique.

Collage elements in a surreal landscape.

Collage and montage are common elements in Powers’ works.  A number of his book covers featured elements with ragged edges.  In many cases these were produced by tearing pieces of paper (sometimes paintings in their own right) and attaching them to the painting.  These could be used to depict landscape features, shadowy figures, or simply abstract elements.

He also produced more formal arrangements, combining one or more individual paintings with torn paper, small sculptural elements, pebbles, shells, and other found objects.  He would often mount paintings on 1/2″ thick foam board and attach that to a larger background giving a sense of depth.

Untitled triptych of three small paintings.

Perhaps the most interesting and least-known of these arrangements are his shadowboxes which combine paintings and sculptural elements.  We are privileged to have a number of these as part of the “Seen and Unseen” exhibition.  Many are approximately 30″x40″ and about 4-6 inches deep.

Shadowbox with four small paintings and sculptural elements

Shadowbox with small painting floated over background painting and including sculptural elements

Large Works

Throughout his life Powers was known for painting on whatever happened to be at hand.  In his later years he took to painting on sections of hollow-core interior doors.  These were cheap, readily available, and came in convenient widths from 28 to 36 inches.  With proper edge trimming, these pieces had depth and presence while remaining relatively lightweight.  Many of these works were done in his “surreal landscape” style with torn paper collage elements and stark, angular black and white lines.

Untitled surreal landscape, approx. 60″x36″

 

Richard M. Powers

Click on one of the links below for updated catalogs for our Richard Powers exhibitions:

June 2012
September 2012
December 2013
September 2014

Baldwin Hill Art & Framing is proud to represent the American artist and illustrator Richard M. Powers (1921-1996).  Known primarily for his commercial illustrations, particularly science fiction book covers, Powers nonetheless had a body of fine art work as well.  Many of these works explore the same surrealistic themes that appear in his book covers.

Stylistic similarities in Powers’ book illustration and fine art work

Powers did not set out to become a science fiction illustrator, but it was here that his natural style found a home.  He was drawn to the surrealistic styles of Dali and Tanguy, but these were a poor fit for his first commissions to illustrate literature and children’s books.  He found his home in science fiction when Ian Ballantine, founder of Ballantine Books, decided that he wanted a more mature look for his science fiction collection.  Up until this point most science fiction books were illustrated with bold, realistic renderings of spaceships, monsters, and spacesuited figures.  Ballantine realized that tales of the fantastic could well be depicted by abstract images that create a mood, rather than literal pictures that illustrate the story.  Powers’ style was a perfect match for this vision.

Left: Powers in a realistic style. Center: Powers’ abstract style. Right: The same book with a cover by Yves Tanguy

Powers distinguished between his two bodies of work with different signatures.  His commercial illustrations were signed “Powers” or “rmpowers”, while his fine art work was signed “Gorman Powers” after his mother’s maiden name.

Baldwin Hill Art & Framing is honored to be able to work with the Powers estate to show these lesser-known fine art works to the general public.

What Is Conservation Framing?

At Baldwin Hill Art & Framing we practice conservation framing. The idea behind conservation framing is to preserve the value and integrity of the items being framed. As a Certified Picture Framer, proprietor Jim Paradis has studied and been certified in conservation framing techniques by the Professional Picture Framers of America.

As in medicine, the guiding principle behind conservation framing is to do no harm. We want to make sure that whatever we do makes no permanent, irreversible changes to the artwork. Here are some of the things we do to make sure your art lasts for years to come:

  • We use only conservation-grade acid-free mats and backer boards. If non-acid-free materials are used then over time they can cause “acid burn”, discoloring the artwork and shortening its life.
  • We use minimally-invasive, reversible mounting methods. Most of the time this involves hinge-mounting the artwork to the backer board with acid-free paper tape and a water-soluble adhesive. In other cases mechanical supports are used (such as mylar photo corners) that do not adhere to the artwork at all.
  • For especially delicate or valuable paper art, we may employ Mylar encapsulation, where a sheet of archival-grade Mylar is laid over the image and secured on all four sides. Only the Mylar touches the actual artwork. The material we use is approved by the Library of Congress for direct contact with the work.
  • We ensure that artwork never comes in direct contact with glass. Condensation can form on the inside of the glass surface, and artwork in contact with this can be damaged. In extreme cases the artwork can actually stick to the glass, making un-framing all but impossible. In some cases direct contact with acrylic glazing is acceptable, but we do this only in rare cases.
  • Needlework is either laced around or stitched to a backer board with compatible thread and a ball-end needle. This ensures that no fibers are severed and the stitching can be removed at a later date with no damage to the item.
This etching shows acid burn caused by a non-archival mat

This etching shows acid burn caused by a non-archival mat

When you bring your valuable artwork to Baldwin Hill Art & Framing you can be assured that it will receive the best possible treatment and that it will last for many years to come!

Visualization Takes The Guesswork Out Of Framing!

We’ve all seen it happen: you want to paint a room in your house, so you go down to the paint store and pick out a bunch of color chips. Then you get home, hold the chips up to the wall, and settle on a color. Later, when the paint job is done, sometimes you realize that the effect of a whole wall of a particular color is quite different than that of a small color chip!

A similar thing can happen in custom framing. The traditional frame design process involves selecting corner samples of mats and mouldings, placing them against the artwork, and trying to imagine what the finished result might look like. Most of the time this works fairly well, but sometimes the effect of a whole frame of a given pattern is different than you may have imagined from the corner sample.

Another thing that can happen is to be undecided between two or more design options: “Will this look better with the black frame or the gold frame?”. Again, it can be challenging to imagine the different options and come to a decision.

Baldwin Hill Art & Framing has a solution for the 21st century: Frame Design Visualization. Using modern computer technology we can now simulate what a complete frame design is going to look like before the frame is built!

Here’s how it works: a camera mounted over the design counter takes a picture of your artwork, along with mat and moulding samples under consideration. With a few clicks of the mouse, we pick out the mats and moulding we want to use.

The software then displays an image of the finished frame design. Changing mats, mouldings, mat borders, even opening shapes takes just a few clicks of the mouse. We can even show up to four designs side-by-side for you to choose from!

While this system is not perfect–lighting effects in the camera mean that this is not for choosing between shades of white, for example–it is great for other aspects of the decision.  Choice of frame colors or widths, mat border widths, and what color to put on top in a double mat can now be resolved with a simple side by side comparison.  This system makes for quicker decisions and more confidence in your final choice, especially for customers that have a hard time seeing it without seeing.

This system is also useful when designing frames for the long distance customer, or the busy but opinionated partner who is unable to come to the shop. We use the visualization system to mock up multiple candidate designs and then either email them or print them out for the customer to take home for further discussion and approval. The customer then either chooses the design they like or propose changes. Eventually we arrive at a design that we and the customer know they’re going to love!