Merion Art Blog
Summer is here, and even if you’re not taking a vacation, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to something nice. Summer is our reward for getting through an interminable winter and a weird, wet Spring. Take some time out to reflect on your artwork, and take advantage of our Summer sales to try some top-shelf, high quality art supplies. Instead of skimping, now’s the time to splurge on the professional-grade products you and your art really deserve!
Here are some amazing artist-quality products you should consider upgrading to this Summer! The Summer Sale starts June 21st, so make yourself a wish-list and get creating!
Black Velvet Brushes
Quality brushes are one of the best investments a serious painter can make: it’s hard to make good art with substandard tools! If you’re a water colorist, silk painter, gouache aficionado, or ink artist, Black Velvet Brushes by Silver Brush are the perfect addition to upgrade your artistic toolbox. They blend natural squirrel hair -for superior flow control and high volume color hold- with black synthetic fibers to increase longevity, resist wear, and offer a great snap and spring.
Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors
Starting as a one-man-operation in the 80’s, Williamsburg grew to be a by-word for quality oil paint. You’ll feel the difference when using these fabulous paints. They are made in small batches (no more than 5 gallons at a time) and carefully ground to varying textures chosen to enhance specific qualities for specific paint colors. For example: “Our Cerulean Blue will have a beautiful velvet, light-absorbing surface with an extremely strong covering power; our Sienna’s will often be chunky or gritty to allow light to travel through the vehicle, exposing rich golden or mahogany undertones instead of just heavy, dull browns.” Many of the colors are modeled after the paints used historically by artists such as Monet, Matisse, and Cézanne. Pick up some Williamsburg oils to treat yourself this summer, and you’ll feel like you could go toe-to-toe with the Old Masters.
If you think all substrates are created equal, it’s time to try some Masterpiece canvas. Masterpiece has been making high quality canvas for fine artists since 1965, and their experience shows. Their Vincent Pro and Monet Pro canvases offer an exceptional surface, even priming, excellent tension, and extremely sturdy stretcher bars. No warping, great “bounce,” and high quality through and through, these canvases will ensure the longevity of your artwork. Sturdiness and quality get more and more important the larger your artwork is, so if you’re planning to paint big this summer, this is an upgrade you definitely want to make! The bracing on large scale Masterpiece canvases is intense! Start your artwork on an artist-grade substrate, and you’ll get better results, and superior durability.
Golden Acrylics and Mediums
Golden acrylics and mediums are a great affordable treat for acrylic or mixed media artists. For starters, Golden Artist Colors is a company that is wonderfully nerdy about their paint products: their artist colors are subject to rigorous testing and they are constantly doing research to improve the durability and quality of their products. You can trust that you won’t pick up a lemon of an art supply if it carried the Golden label. Their line of mediums has something for everyone. If you’re looking for new ways to mix your media, or just looking for inspiration, try picking up one of their mediums. Their molding paste and pastel ground both allow dry media like pastels, graphite, or colored pencil to be mixed with acrylic paint in heretofore impossible ways. Their crackle paste, fiber paste, and tar gel can add unique textures to paintings. Their line of GAC products allow for chemical barriers that prevent degeneration, as well as allowing for different ways to mix and layer paint. In short, they’re an excellent company that makes excellent products, and this Summer is a great time to try out something new and interesting!
Guerrilla Pochade Boxes
Guerrilla Products makes a fantastic array of high-quality painting accessories, many specifically designed for plein air painting. Along with tripods, portable chairs, umbrellas, and brush rolls, their pochade boxes are beautifully designed and amazingly efficient. Their worth is evident through the thoughtful design and construction.
The CigarBox has a hinged lid that can accommodate two 8″x10″ panels, and the palette slides out to reveal space for paints and accessories. The ThumBox kit has a designated space to hold two wet 6×8 panels in the lid, and comes with 4 short handled brushes, a brush washer, a composition finder, a detachable palette, AND a bag to carry it all together! These boxes are designed for hardworking artists by someone who is listening intently to what artists need and want. Picking up one of these pochade boxes for yourself will feel like Christmas came early!
A good easel is an excellent investment in your professional artistic future- especially if you’re the kind of artist who tends to stand their painting-in-progress up on any vertical surface that’s handy (this blogger is guilty of doing this). A professional easel will help you to produce more professional work. If you are in the market for a good easel, and you’d like to buy one you will never have to replace, look for a MABEF easel. A good easel is a quality piece of furniture, which won’t wear out and never goes out of style. MABEF easels are constructed using solid beech wood (see their website for an in depth explanation of why, using words like “grain”, “consistency”, and “tannin”) and MABEF specializes in making easels with “unparalleled function and aesthetic qualities.” Beautiful and useful: how could you go wrong with that combo? When you get your easel, be sure to take a few moments to register it online, to take advantage of MABEF’s amazing lifetime warranty. Bottom line on MABEF’s durability: “Properly cared for, your MABEF easel will last a lifetime, reducing the overall cost of ownership.” Great warranty, great deal, great product.
Daniel Smith Watercolors
Daniel Smith’s Extra Fine Watercolors have been a leading force in the watercolor market for 25 years now. Their unique colors deliver high performance, excellent lightfastness, and permanence. This is always an important quality for watercolors, as they can be notoriously fugitive. Their pigments are made from high quality minerals, including some you’re used to seeing in the form of semi-precious stones, such as amethyst and hematite. To learn more about their process and the science that backs it up, check their website, where you’ll find an absolute wealth of details about their milling process, chemical makeup of their pigments, and information about paint granulation. Aside from sheer quality, DS Watercolors deliver an impressive array of one-of-a-kind colors, allowing artists to find precisely the right hue for the job. For artists looking for an upgrade, their luxe Luminescent colors give a “sparkle, sheen, or reflective glow” and really add a sumptuous touch to any watercolor painting.
Come and join us for Merion Art Adventure: an afternoon of creativity and fun, presented by Merion Art, and First Friday Mainline. From 1-4pm on Saturday, June 9th, come check out live art demos, view original artwork by local artists, try some tasty food and drinks, and generally enjoy yourself on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Ardmore!
Our creative company of local artists will be out in the warm air, demonstrating their artwork, painting and drawing live for your viewing pleasure, and answering questions about their work and the materials they use. You can even try out all the different mediums, and make some art to take home! Below, you can check out our guest list of artistic demonstrators, and explore their work!
Oil Painting- Justine Babcock has been working as an illustrator and fine artist in Ardmore for over a decade. Her personal work reflects her intense interest in all things fantastical and ghoulish, drawing aesthetic influence from the rich tradition of golden age illustration. You can find more of her work online at justinebabcock.com. Justine will be demonstrating the oil paints she uses to bring her whimsical visions to life.
Intricate Paper-Cutting– Since graduation, six years ago from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s BFA program, Melissa Kenney (@kenneykutouts) has been producing and showing work in Philadelphia. Departing from her earlier works made primarily with charcoal and pastel, she began experimenting with cutting cardstock to create layered, intricate works. This new direction jump started her business Kenney Kut-Outs & Illustrations. Melissa’s work can be found online at www.etsy.com/shop/kenneykutouts and at Art shows throughout the Philadelphia area. Melissa will be demonstrating her cut-paper artwork and techniques.
Devin Marshall creates jewelry, miniature food models and fantasy decorations out of epoxy resin, silicone, molds, acrylic paint and air-dry clay. Through the name “CuteAndWonder,” they seek to combat darkness in the world by creating things that bring out a child-like sense of awe and wonder. Bright colors and shiny, glittery magic may evoke the sense of a time long past, but Marshall plans to cultivate this feeling and turn it into a sense of renewed hope. The Northern California native now seeks inspiration around the Philadelphia area. They’ll be demonstrating their clay miniatures at Art Adventure!
Acrylic Painting – Ya-Meer is a self-taught, South-West-Philadelphia-based acrylic painter. His paintings are often portraits of prominent black cultural icons and historical figures. He defines their faces using abstract areas of color playing off lines and fields of black paint. Known for his “drippy” Acrylic portraits, melting color blends and Futurist ideas, Ya-Meer creates bold, stimulating visual experiences. Check out his amazing artwork on his website www.rawartists.org/hades21 and on Instagram @hades_blue_phi
Oil Pastels- Jen is a mixed-media artist from Long Island with a degree in Art and Art History from Drew University in NJ. She incorporates oil pastels, the written word, traditional acrylic painting, metallic paints, decoupage, and Golden mediums into colorful multilayered works on panel. She thinks of herself as an artistic Swiss-army knife, as she has experience with art materials retail, custom framing, graphic design, and computer art as well as traditional fine art mediums. She incorporates these diverse experiences into her artwork through the use of handwriting, printed images and text, and the merging of her handmade and computer-made artwork. This Saturday, she’ll be demonstrating oil pastels, exploring different oil pastel brands, techniques, and applications. Her work can be viewed or purchased on her etsy shop, StrangeFamiliars.
Mixed Media and Acrylic Paint– J is a fine artist originally from Philadelphia, PA, specializing in mixed media pieces on both wood and canvas, in addition to classic oil paintings. He studied painting and graphic design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, as well as the Art Institute of Philadelphia and has exhibited many times in Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. His work makes use of bright, often metallic colors with a variety of media to create a psychedelic ‘fabric’ of sorts with a variety of subject matter. He’ll be demonstrating his mixed media acrylic painting style at Art Adventure this weekend.
Watercolor– Vessna is an artist based in Philadelphia, PA. She says of her work, “Through my art, I reclaim who I am, what I have to say, and how I want to say it. Art, has always been my space of freedom. Art allows me to be as big, loud and powerful as I want to be- to encourage others to live boldly, challenge structures, and create experiences that connect across boundaries. Freedom in art for me involves learning to recognize disenfranchisement, detaching its weight from my shoulders, to let it be carried by collective struggle. I am inspired by stories of resilience and revolution, in particular by Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, James Baldwin, Gabrielle Union and Angela Davis…Using a combination of watercolors on wood, watercolor on Dura-lar, poetry, beats, movement and voice, I orchestrate performances where we may challenge our fears, craft our freedom and nurture our empowerment.” Check out more of her work online at www.vessnascheff.com. At Merion Art Adventure, Vessna will be demonstrating the techniques she uses for her beautiful watercolor portraiture.
Handmade Jewelry– Local craftsman April says “I’ve been obsessed with making things for as long as I could remember. When I realized that I could make things that I could wear and show off, I was hooked! I’ve been passionate about jewelry-making ever since. I also had a love for crocheting ever since I taught myself at 12 years old. Through the years I’ve strived to combine my loves of fibers, crocheting and metalworking. After I graduated from the University of the Arts in 2011, I started getting serious about making my own line of work and selling. I make a broad range of work, from the elaborate one-of-a-kind pieces shown in art galleries, to simple earrings and stacking rings for everyday wear. I hope you enjoy wearing my creations as much as I loved creating them!” You can view and buy some of April’s jewelry here, at www.aprilmade.com. She’ll be selling her handmade creations at Art Adventure, answering questions about her techniques, and demonstrating wire weaving!
Abstract Art- Jeremy Petrachonis is an American painter from Hazleton, PA, who is known for his unique abstract style, and specializes in color, as well as black and white compositions. He is also a sculptor, as well as an actor, musician, and merchandiser, with a BA degree from Penn State in the Drawing/Painting field. He has already exhibited in many places around the United States, including art scene staples such as New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, with plans of exhibiting internationally. Along with his rise to artistic fame, he always loves to expand his artistic vision in ways that many people thought would never be possible! Jeremy will be demonstrating abstract art at Art Adventure.
Wall d’ Art Interactive Art Guides
Linda and Alice will be the artist guides for the Wall d’Art program sponsored by First Friday Mainline. Participants will be invited to make 3×3 inch small pieces of original artwork, with the help of our interactive art guides, which will hang in the custom made Wall d’Art structures, which will be displayed locally after the event. All ages are welcome to take part in creating quick, interactive artwork using paints, india ink, crayon resist, watercolor, markers, and other mediums and techniques!
Alice Dustin is an oil painter who delights in color and is known for her impressionistic style, a natural result of alla prima painting. She appreciates the understated and ultimately finds harmony in simple themes. Dustin’s themes range from still life to land or cityscape and include the figure and the animal world.
Alice Dustin’s professional career began with languages and teaching. She holds an MAT from Harvard and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the mother of two grown children and when they no longer needed her time, she began painting in and out of class. She studied with several Philadelphia artists and now teaches oil painting with Main Line School Night. Alice shows with galleries in the Philadelphia area as well as in NY, DE, and MA. To see more of her artwork, check out her website.
Linda Giovagnoli is a retired high school teacher and local artist. She settled in Malvern, PA and is the mother of two grown children. Linda loves her two dogs, is passionate about nature, lives simply, and strives to be a positive presence. Artistically, she is free spirited, and likes to have fun with colors and mixed media painting.
At Merion Art, our staff is full of creative people- artists, designers, and more. Creative people are always looking at things as they are and trying to improve them. They have a spirit of progress and change. So it’s no surprise that over the last year, and especially in the last couple of weeks, we’ve been making some big changes to the store and its layout, all to make the store look and work better for our customers and our staff.
Our aim is to continue to provide the service and knowledge that has kept us going for 47 years, combined with creative innovation that brings the store up to date from 1971 to 2018 and beyond. Here are some of the changes we’ve made and why we’ve made them, as well as some future plans for moving forward!
Store Remodel- The new floor layout is now just about a year old, but we’re still getting long-time customers noticing it for the first time. We rearranged the whole store to make aisles wider and more comfortable, and make items easier to locate. It also gives our remodeled front counter a better view of the store and both entrances, allowing us to see the whole store and assist customers more easily.
Custom Framing Area Remodel– We moved a pre-existing half-wall perpendicular to where it had been, and rotated the whole framing area by 90 degrees, opening up the space and improving flow. We also split the counter, making it easier for two framing designers to work with customers at the same time. The framing counter has been in the same area for over 15 years, but after we moved the half-wall, we’ve been getting customers noticing it for the first time!
Front Classroom Remodel-We know that the thing that sets small businesses apart from big box stores and online shopping is personal connection. We wanted to make it easier for artists and teachers in our store to connect with interested students and beginners. We’ve been doing small art demos for many years, but we’ve never had a great space for larger, more in-depth demos and classes on site. We wanted to make a space in our store where we could run quality programming like workshops, demonstrations, classes, and more. We did some major rearranging and found the space right in the front of our store. This week, we’ve laid a new floor (for easier cleanup), and opened up the front window for better lighting. We’ll start having demos in the new space this weekend!
Repainting- Everyone knows nothing improves the look of a room like a fresh coat of paint. We’ll be touching up and repainting starting today. Swapping the old mustard and purple-grey paint out for a basic white should make the whole place feel cleaner and brighter! Look for some murals to start popping up in the not-too-distant future too- artists can’t look at blank fields of white wall without our fingers itching to pick up our brushes!
Repro Remodel– Our Repro department has evolved from producing Whiteprints for architects in 1971 to what it is today- a full service graphic design and printing department. The next remodel on the agenda is to make a design consulting space so our talented graphic designers can work directly with clients and show off all the amazing stuff they can do. This will involve shrinking the Repro area slightly and moving our designers to a more accessible space across the aisle, where customers can talk with designers directly and see examples right on their computer screens.
Now that you’ve seen our Done-list and our To-Do List of changes, what kinds of changes would you like to see at Merion Art? What things do you want us to never change?
Spring is FINALLY here! (Okay, so far it’s been more like summer, but it’s better than The-Winter-That-Would-Not-End) It’s finally time to get outside for some Plein air painting! We’re having a plein-air-centric Spring Sale to celebrate the lovely weather and encourage everyone to get out there and paint! This sale continues ’til June 21st, so there’s time to try all kinds of different plein air techniques and materials. Here are some details on what products are on sale, and why you should get excited:
Daniel Smith Watercolors 30% Off-
Daniel Smith has been making their Extra Fine Watercolors for 25 years. They specifically focus on producing unique colors with high performance as to lightfastness and permanence. This is an especially important quality for watercolors, as they can be notoriously fugitive. Their pigments come from high quality minerals including some you’re used to seeing in the form of semi-precious stones, such as amethyst and hematite. Fun fact, “Daniel Smith was the first manufacturer to use the high-performance Quinacridone pigments for artists paints,” so if you have a love for a good Quin Rose, thank them! To learn more about their process and the science that backs it up, check their website, where you’ll find a wealth of details about their milling process, chemical makeup of their pigments, and information about paint granulation. Plein air painters can always benefit from DS’s many one-of-a-kind colors, including their PrimaTek paints and Luminescent watercolors, which give a “sparkle, sheen, or reflective glow” and can kick your paintings into high gear.
Koi Watercolor Sets 20% off, (& Free Pack of Fluid Paper With 30, 36, or 48 Set)
Koi Watercolor sets are an amazing one-stop-shop sort of product for those looking to paint on the go. The larger sets have 30, 36, or 48 half-pan high pigment watercolors in a convenient plastic case, with a detachable palette and a snap-shut lid that doubles as a teeny easel. The case is around 6″x10″ which is easy to slip into a medium sized bag and take anywhere, and only weighs about a pound. Each kit includes Koi brand water brushes, so you don’t even need to worry about where to store your water cup. The case even has a little pull down ring on the bottom for easy gripping! We’re selling them this Spring for 20% off, PLUS you get a free sample pack of the full line of Fluid watercolor papers. Speaking of which…
Fluid 100 Watercolor Paper 20% Off
This is the professional quality line of Fluid Watercolor papers. Fluid 100 is a 100% cotton premium archival paper, “made with a combination of traditional papermaking techniques and modern technology.” Sized with gelatin, these papers are an excellent value for any plein air painter. They come in 140lb and 300lb cold press, and 140lb hot press. Fluid’s “Easy Block” system is a godsend for plein air painters. Easy Blocks are glued on the two long edges, allowing for the structure of a block with much easier paper removal. Fluid 100 comes in a wider selection of dimensions than your average watercolor pad- opening up your painting possibilities. Easy Blocks go all the way down to the pocket-sized 4×6, and larger sizes include square options. Regular Fluid watercolor pads include pads at 4×8, 16×16 and 6×18, among many others. These dimensions allow plein air painters to do panorama paintings or small scale studies with ease. If you’re a longtime Arches or Strathmore user, give these a try!
Jack Richeson Soft Pastels 20% Off
If you’re not big on wet media for plein air, pastels offer an opportunity for portable “painting” without worrying about solvents or rinse water. With pastels, there’s no worrying about dry time, or having the right brush, leaving the artist free to concentrate on light, color, and content. This Spring, we’ve got all our open stock soft pastels on sale, including 20% off Jack Richeson Handmade Soft Pastels. Richeson Soft Pastels are “versatile, vibrant, and well-made,” offering a gorgeous velvety finish. These soft pastels offer “Superior lightfastness, professional quality” and a selection of 120 colors. Unlike some crumbly softer pastels, these offer consistent application without breaking apart, and hold up well to travel, making them perfect plein-air companions.
Guerrilla Products 30% Off
When you’re ready to get serious about plein air painting, you’re ready to look at Guerrilla products. Their series of high quality plein air accessories are amazing- they range from pochade boxes, to tripods, to portable chairs and umbrellas! Their BestBuddy Plus is a combination carryall, shade, and folding travel chair that even includes a pillow for lumbar support. It also includes a shade umbrella to keep the sun from melting your creative brain! It allows you to pack everything you need for a good art outing, and wheel it to wherever your heart desires. Their pochade boxes are amazingly efficient- the CigarBox has a hinged lid that can accommodate two 8″x10″ panels, and the pallette slides out to reveal space for paints. The ThumBox kit can hold two wet 6×8 panels in the lid, and comes with 4 short handled brushes, a brush washer, a composition finder, a detachable pallette, and a bag to hold it all together. The price tag can feel like a commitment, but their worth shows through in the thoughtful design and construction. Grab them while they’re on sale for a great value!
Back in the day, in the 1970s and 80s, computers were not ubiquitous. Designers needed ways to control colors and gradients in their artwork, without the aid of Adobe programs. This is where Pantone Paper came in. According to commenter Mike Shoaf on forgottenartsupplies.com “This was like a very expensive pre-historic version of vector art for us. Coupled with a #11 X-Acto, you could do cut-paper illustrations that would envy the Adobe Illustrator (and Aldus FreeHand) work a few years later.”
Merion Art has been selling art supplies since 1971, and we used to sell Pantone Papers as a matter of course. When computers rose to prominence, art stores (including us) were often left with a huge stock of Pantone papers: adhesive and non adhesive, coated, uncoated, solid color and graduated.
They are beautiful, useful, interesting, and historical, and we’d love to get some of these papers into the hands of an adoring public again. We are selling them at the unheard-of price of $1 per sheet (back in the 1980’s they would go for as much as $15 per sheet- that would be like $40 a sheet today!). Here are some suggestions for what to do with these awesome Pantone vintage papers.
Use them as colored paper-
Treat them the same as you would colored Canson Mi-Tientes or Fabriano paper- use pen and ink, charcoal, pastel, graphite and colored pencil on these saturated smooth sheets. Find unusual shades for an interesting background for your next dry media masterpiece. These papers would be great base layers for screen or block printing!
Use them like handmade paper-
You can use these Pantone Sheets just like beautiful handmade papers- fold them into origami, cover textbooks or binders in them, tear them up for decoupage. The vintage test-print text and images on top would be a cool addition to any mixed media piece. You can use them to wrap gifts, cover windows, or line bulletin boards.
Frame a few choice colors to create a low-cost wall installation with a lot of visual impact. Choose a smooth mid-century modern style frame to pay homage to the Pantone papers roots, or go nuts with ornate frames to contrast with the smooth color fields! Or choose a cheap frame and pair it with a wet erase marker for an instant colorful message-board: write right on the glass and wipe off with a damp cloth to clear.
Make your own stickers-
Some of these Pantone papers are adhesive backed. This means that each of those sheets is one big sticker. Some are even translucent or graduated (graduated meaning there is a gradient and the color gradually changes from clear to blue, for example). Cut them into whatever shape and size you need! Use them to personalize old furniture, create mixed media art pieces, create decals for all kinds of objects, or use them exactly as they were meant to be used, for old school design work.
We’re shining a spotlight on some of our store’s unsung heroes: the Framing Department. Our framers do most of their hard work out of sight, in the frame shop, and we want to let everyone know how good they are! All of our skilled framers have the training and the talent to preserve and display your artwork, memorabilia, textiles, and documents to their best effect. Each frame that leaves Merion Art gets their personal attention and care. Below, you’ll find their biographies, as well as a special framed piece by each of our talented custom framers. Check out our front window this month to see their frames in person, and make sure to stop in and see our newly renovated framing counter!
Elaine is an artist, designer, crafts person, and creative problem solver. She received a BA from Moore College of Art and Design with a Major in Illustration. She has been custom framing professionally since 2012 and has been with Merion Art and Repro for three years, with two of those years as Framing Manager. Her favorite part of framing is getting to see so many different works of art, heirlooms, photos, and significant historical pieces throughout her day. She loves the creative process of working with her clients, listening to their needs and helping them create a truly unique and memorable design. She also specializes in preservation: not only will your art look great, it’ll be enjoyed for many years to come!
For her specialty piece Elaine chose to use a mirror in an unconventional way. She says “I came across the print I chose for the framing window during Women’s Month and enjoyed its simple sentiment of each day doing what you set yourself out to do. I always wanted to make a combo mirror and print frame and thought an inspirational quote would be perfect for that. I pictured a frame like this going in a women’s dorm, office, or in my own studio, and wanted the overall look to be playful, colorful, and just generally fun to look at. I chose two frames that picked up different the colors in the print that I thought complimented each other best. The small light blue inside moulding reflects the floral design around the print’s text, and the larger outside frame pops the bright green highlights in the print while adding it’s own fluidity and funky look with it’s wavy design. To make the print center focus and separate these two very different and special frames. I used a simple mirror to go in-between the mouldings and act as a matting, but the mirror is also a tool used to reflect the place it’s located and the person who’s reading the quote at the time. ”
Rebecca brings 40 years of combined framing and art experience to Merion, and has been with us for 6 years. She is a graduate from Drexel University with B.S. in graphic design and studied illustration at Hussian School of art. She has worked in custom framing for many years, constantly learning new techniques because it is something she truly loves to do. In her spare time, she does mixed media assemblage art, illustration, woodworking and is currently experimenting in costume design. A Francophone by birth, as her parents were born and raised in France, she has knowledge of European art coupled with the skill to design and frame high end works of art. She is more than happy to help you design, preserve and display your most treasured works.
From Rebecca: “Having been in the framing industry for many years, I have been fortunate to see many trends come and go, and come back again, which is the reason I chose the owl etching to frame. Owls were popular in the 70’s and seem to have made a comeback on Pinterest and in other sites. Even the bright colors of the 60’s and 70’s are popular again, so I really wanted to merge some traditional elements, like the wood frame into some of our newer brighter mats. A filet also always adds elegance to any design as well. We used the clearest non reflective glass available, which is museum glass, and since it is an older print, I wanted to use the highest quality acid free mats and backing material available.”
Rory is the newest framer to enter into the Merion Art Family. He has been framing for close to three years, and has learned a lot going into this career path. His framing style makes sure to factor in the style of the piece and the opinions of the client, and he always seeks to inject a little bit of something into the design to make each piece feel unique and one of a kind.
About his specialty piece, Rory says “I chose the mat combination to mirror the forest environment. The bottom dark green for the foliage of the trees, the more moss colored green for Yoda’s skin and the grass, the gray and brown mat was to bring out the bark of the trees, and the top mat was to bring out the light in the back of the forest and to break up all the colors I used. The bamboo frame was used to make the style more Japanese (with Yoda being a samurai) and to unify the bark-looking mat and the trees in the picture. Call it cheesy, but the mats and frame I chose puts a smile on my face for how well the combination ties together. And the museum glass that is used truly helps the colors pop.”
Andrew is a landscape and wildlife photographer from the Main Line area in Pennsylvania and holds a BA from the Tyler School of Art. He has been involved in custom framing for about 5 years. He loves to travel and always brings his camera with him, wherever he goes. He truly believes that nature is art and in his work he has trained his eye to find it and bring the viewer an ethereal experience. He loves color, patterns, textures, and reflections, and tries to incorporate all of these into his framing.
Andrew says, “This particular composition depicts a sunny autumn morning in the forest and was taken at Hawk Mountain near Kutztown. I chose a nice smoky gray mat to accent the sun’s rays through the trees with a marigold underneath to pick up the brilliant colors on the leaves. The dark bronze-colored fillet and distressed wood frame really bring home the natural, organic atmosphere of the piece”.
Susan has over thirteen years of experience as a custom picture framer. Starting as a salesperson, she worked her way through all aspects of production and management before leaving full-time employment at Merion to pursue interior design. She works at Merion on Saturdays or Sundays and spends her weekdays as owner and interior designer at Susan Rains Design. Her favorite things about custom framing are the fantastic customers who brighten her day with beautiful art and excellent conversation. In the studio, she enjoys working with her hands to build and assemble the framing. When she’s not designing, she loves spending time in the outdoors with her husband and son. You can reach her at 267-606-0408. Visit her on the web at susanrainsdesign.com
When asked how she designed her piece, she said “To decide how I should frame this collection of pictures and fabric samples from a recent family room project, I revisited my design concept. When designing the room, my goal was to find harmony between his preference for contemporary lines and her love of traditional styles. The frame I chose has a midcentury modern feel with a gold accent to recall the buffet, hardware, and light fixture in the room. The matting is velvet, calling to mind the richness of traditional upholstery and drapes. The rough textured fillet was chosen to become an organic detail, much like the rooms details that were intended to bring nature inside.“
Michael, an artist and certified framer/designer, has worked for Merion Art and Repro for more than 11 years. With attention to detail gained from a diverse background of international architectural and engineering experience, he brings form and composition to customers’ framed artwork. His expertise in calligraphy and gold-leaf applications adds another dimension to this talented individual.
For his piece, Michael says “My twin grandsons, Sam and Luke, celebrated their Bar Mitzvah with the theme “SNL- Saturday Night Live”. Sam’s invitation color was green and Luke’s blue; I alternated the colors for the “Double Trouble” signature drink sign. The frame color, I chose to match the contents of the drink.”