Jun 30, 2013

Mt. Vesuvius II Start to Finish

I decided to revisit a piece I did a year ago.  I created these with layers of charcoal sprayed with matte medium. Last time I did this I just used a coarse spay with my fixative, so I did a few tests first to see if this would work.

Mt. Vesuvius II Studies II & I

The tests turned out very well and you can purchase them from my Etsy shop.

Mt Vesuvius Study I
Charcoal and Watercolor on Paper

Mt. Vesuvius Study II
Charcoal and Watercolor on Paper

This is the final piece.  

Mt. Vesuvius II
Charcoal and Watercolor on Paper

Jun 26, 2013

Something New, Something Old, Something Purple

After listening to a recent podcast on artfiarinsiders.com about two different artists who each did a series of daily paintings for a time, I have decided to do my own painting challenge. With my schedule there is no way I could do one painting every day, however, I should be able to do one a week.

Every Wednesday I will post a new painting, finished and available to purchase. I have been working on a series of women throughout history.  So we are going to be calling this Women's History Wednesday, or something like that anyway.  Along with a new piece of my artwork will be some information about the women.

Instead of just checking here every Wednesday, you can subscribe to this blog and get the blog post sent directly to your inbox. The button is over here ~~~~~~>

I will also be including these in my e-newsletters but once a week may be too often for that.  I will most likely lump a few together and do a monthly re-cap in the e-newsletter.  You can sign up for my e-newsletter here.

Let's get started with Empress Theodora.

Theodora Study
9x6 Inches
Wtercolor, Gouache, and Ink on paper

Theodora started off as an actress, a dancer, and well basically a high end prostitute. Eventually she bumped into Justinian I, who ruled Constantinople.  After seeing one of her performances, he ended up changing the laws so he could marry this beautiful woman.  Turns out, she was also very intelligent. He ended up making her co-regent which meant that they shared the throne.

One day a riot broke out at a sporting event at the hippodrome.  Justinian was ready to leave town in hopes of exile instead of death.  At the docks Theodora put her royal foot down.  She had worked her way up from actress to empress, she wasn't going anywhere.  She told Justinian and his crew that "purple makes a fine funeral shroud" and that she wasn't going anywhere.  Her speech convinced her hubby and crew to stay.  Justinian and Theodora survived and put Constantinople on the map.  They built buildings that still stand today, the most famous being the Hagia Sophia.

Jun 24, 2013

10 Tips from your Friendly Neigborhood Framer

I have been working at a custom framing shop for about a year now and I thought I would share some tips (or pet peeves).

1. Do not hang original artwork in your bathroom.  In fact,  do not hang anything in there that you do not mind throwing in the trash.  Here's the problem: humidity.  Heat and steam from your showers makes the bathroom high in humidity. Framing is not air tight, even if there is paper covering the back.  Moisture WILL get in there and ruin your artwork. If you really want to hang something in your bathroom, make a copy of it and hang that in there, hang the original somewhere else.  This goes for pieces wrapped around a canvas stretcher too.  Those stretchers are made out of wood, and they are not sealed with anything.

2. Use UV protective glass, always. I don't know how many times a week I hear people come into the frame shop with their old glass wanting to reuse it.  I explain that glass from a few years ago does not have the UV filter on it and will fade, badly and quickly.  Their response is always "Well we are going to hang it somewhere where it does not get much light".  If you can see the piece in the daytime with the lights off, it is getting sunlight, and being damaged.  UV protective glass is not expensive, a 8x10 piece costs around $3. Those frames that you buy from Walmart, Target, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, and so on, do not come with UV protective glass.  Unless it says that the glass has a UV filter, it doesn't.  Think of it like sunscreen.  You wouldn't go out into the sun without it, don't frame your artwork without it. Anywhere that does framing can cut you a piece of UV filtering glass on the spot.

3. Do not use saw tooth hangers, ever. They will give way, your piece will fall, your glass will break, your matting and/or artwork will be ruined.  I do not know how many pieces people bring into the shop in a week because the glass broke because it just fell off the wall.  Hang your piece with wire or D-Rings.

4.  Yes, you do need a mat, or glass space. The point of the mat is to keep your artwork from touching the glass.  If you do not do this your artwork will become stuck to the glass, forever.

5. Do not frame to match your decor.  If you frame a piece right, so it matches the artwork, not your couch, you will never have to frame it again.  Your wall colors change, furniture gets replaced but if you frame your piece right, it will outlast you.

6. Yes, you need glass. Works on canvas aside, you need glass. Besides all the protection from #2 up there, your piece will get dirty, dusty, and damaged.  If you have an canvas piece, ask the artist if the piece has been varnished.  This layer of varnish will protect the piece from UV damage and will give extra protection when dusting.

7. Make sure your frame is wood or metal.  Most of, if not all of the frames that are sold in the big box stores are made out of some sort of plastic resin.  They are cheep, light weight and if they chip or break you are out of luck.  Wood and metal frames can be re-sized and repaired, those resin frames cannot. I am not use how these resin frames are made, or what they are made of exactly, but I am guessing they are not of good quality, most are manufactured in China, who knows what is in there.

8. Use all acid free materials.  Do not use cardboard for backing or tape your photograph or artwork in with masking or office tape.  Have you seen masking tape that is just a few years old?  It is gross.  I do not know how but it gets 10x sticky-er and those chemicals that make the tape sticky are not coming off.  Use acid free tape or even better those Mylar corners.  You can get those in the scrap booking department.  For backing use acid free foam core or core plastic. Those mats that they sell at Hobby Lobby and Michael's are not acid free either.  I had to re-cut mats for EVERYTHING.

9. Don't fix it yourself.   Unless you are an expert, do not fix it yourself.  Accidentally poked a hole in your canvas?  Take it to the artist or someone for proper repair. The artist is not going to yell at you, they will be thankful that you are wanting to take care of their piece.  Some may even fix it for free.  Do not just stick it back on there with a band aid.

10. Hang your artwork where it will not receive direct sunlight. Even after all that UV Protective glass, it only filters 99.9% of UV damage.  Do not hang artwork in your sun room, or in that path of sunlight that moves across the room during the day.

Bottom line, don't be cheep and do your framing right.  Making a bad choice because you are trying to save $5 now is just going to cause you more hassle, and money, later on or it could ruin your piece entirely.

Jun 21, 2013

New to the Website and on Etsy

New Feature on my Website and New Etsy Listings

New to the Website


You can now purchase limited edition reproductions of some of my most popular pieces directly from my website using PayPal.  All prints come already mated in a white bevel cut mat with all acid free materials and are ready to pop into a standard 8x10 frame.  Shipping is included for orders placed in the US. www.bonniefillenwarth.com

New to Etsy

I have been adding some smaller framed pieces to my Etsy shop.  Some are limited edition reproductions and some are originals.  All pieces have been framed by me with all acid free materials and UV protective glass.  I will also be adding a few brand new small pieces in the next few days.  Make sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter to be the first to know about my newest pieces.  To see works in progress and other studio adventures follow me on Instagram.