Shan Bryan-Hanson

Dutch Floral Paintings

Shan Bryan-HansonComment

This past year I've been diving into a study of 18th c. Dutch floral paintings.  The detailed imagery and artificiality of these paintings is so compelling. 

This past year I visited two Dutch floral paintings at the National Gallery and the Detroit Institute of Arts. The first is this painting by Jan van Huysum at the National Gallery:

Jan van Huysum Still Life with Flowers and Fruit c. 1715 Painting, National Gallery of Art

Jan van Huysum
Still Life with Flowers and Fruit
c. 1715
Painting, National Gallery of Art

This image above is courtesy of the National Gallery but I also took some detail photos at the museum:

The insects that show up in these paintings are fantastic reminders that this state of bloom is temporary and fleeting. 

The decadent use of color and value creates a rich contrast between the realism of the paintings and the artificiality of the scene.  Living in Wisconsin, with our long winters, I understand why these paintings would have been desired; they provided a much needed glimpse of vibrant color during winter.

At the DIA I visited this painting by Rachel Ruysch:

Rachel Ruysch Flowers in a Glass Vase c. 1704 Painting, Detroit Institute of Arts

Rachel Ruysch
Flowers in a Glass Vase
c. 1704
Painting, Detroit Institute of Arts

You can find the museum photo and description of the piece here

Inspiration often comes from art that is, on the surface, quite different from my own. Though I work in abstraction, my recent work has been influenced by the movement, color and energy of these paintings as well as their emphasis on the inevitability of change. 

Framing a Large Work of Art

Shan Bryan-Hanson
Excess paper is being torn from the edges of the drawing in progress.

Excess paper is being torn from the edges of the drawing in progress.

Linen tape is used to adhere the drawing to the backing board. 

Linen tape is used to adhere the drawing to the backing board. 

I recently completed a large-scale drawing.  Since I usually work with paint on stretched canvas or cradled panels, I was surprised by a few of the challenges I bumped into when framing the work and would like to share the solutions here. The drawing is 46” x 46” and framed in a 48” x 48” frame.   

Step 1:  Mount the drawing to supportive board

The first challenge was figuring out how to back the drawing. Oversized mat board is sold in 40” x 60” sheets--not large enough.  After scouring frame and art supply vendors for larger stock I ended up using a 48” x 48” sheet of white gator board which worked well.

The drawing is mounted with a series of folded hinges made of archival linen tape. This allows the work to be mounted to the board with no visible tape showing.  To make these mounts, fold a piece of linen tape in half, sticky side out.  One side sticks to the drawing and the other side sticks to the board it’s mounted on.  Place another strip of tape, sticky side facing down, over the bottom layer of the hinge to reinforce it.  

Linen tape hinges

Linen tape hinges

Step 2:  Prepare glazing

The acrylic glazing was purchased at a local glass shop.  48” width is the largest plexi sold locally so I’ll be sure to keep future drawings under that width. Acrylic plexi was chosen over glass because of the size of the drawing.  Plexiglass is much easier to transport. 

Protective paper coating being removed from the plexiglass. 

Protective paper coating being removed from the plexiglass. 

Step 3:  Assemble Frame Moulding

The frame moulding is from Westfall Framing, a company I’ve purchased from in the past.  The  moulding can be ordered with pre-drilled holes and plastic inserts, their “Max” system, which makes assembling the frame easy.  With the max system, wood glue is the only additional item needed to assemble the frame. I also ordered spacer bars which are placed between the glazing and the art.  This is a great way to allow art to float in the frame while also keeping the glazing off the art.

Glue sets for 24 hours after frame is assembled. 

Glue sets for 24 hours after frame is assembled. 

              Layers of moulding and spacer bar

              Layers of moulding and spacer bar

The "Max" system in the corner

The "Max" system in the corner

Along with Westfall Framing, both Metroframe and the Artist's Guild provided great advice during this process.  The Artist’s Guild is our amazing local art supply store and Metroframe sells beautiful frames which I’ve had good results with in the past.

Step 4: Add drawing and secure back. 

The mounted drawing goes in last and is secured with picture framing tool that operates much like a staple gun. 

In this image you can see how the spacer bars provide distance between the drawing and plexiglass. 

In this image you can see how the spacer bars provide distance between the drawing and plexiglass. 

Final piece, framed and ready to go. 

Final piece, framed and ready to go. 

Finally, hanging wire is secured to the back of the piece and it is ready for display!