Updated: Mar 20
Around July I was selected to exhibit a piece of work in New York (October 2019). I received an email saying congratulations etc but I never looked at it for about a week or two. Few weeks after I thought I would go back into my email and just double check. At first I thought it was spam. It was a portfolio review from an email I sent around a year ago and now they had taken me on with a 'Congratulations' on your portfolio review. The email wasn't spam.
So the plan started, how was I going to get one of my paintings out to New York let alone myself. I have been America however, not New York. This painting was around the 5 foot by 4, so on the large side. How was I going to get this piece out to New York? How was I & the painting getting there? What accommodation will I get? How will I get the painting to and from the Gallery and from my, not yet booked accommodation?
I have always wanted to export paintings, have fun exhibiting my work around the world so this was my chance and like always it comes at the worst timing. Charlotte my wife am sure didn't want me to go due to our new born, we were both flat out with our full time jobs and to top it all off, our daughter doesn't sleep.
Luckily enough Charlotte was really supportive and we agreed that I should go to New York. The plan really started. I remember booking flights around midnight lying in bed with only the laptop glow surrounding me. Booked & Confirmed. Booked myself onto a flight to the unknown. I automatically thought, Glenn you're crazy. Closed my laptop, went to sleep.
Next day I was buzzing. This is happening, this is actually happening. How do I even get around New York, usually am travelling with people and I would liaise with them, work it out together or even let them organise me :) but no, not on this trip. This trip its all on me.
This was the painting that was coming with me. I had decided that I was going to dismantle it, and pack it all into a ski bag, put it under 'sports equipment' with regards to the flight therefore sorted.
Ski bag idea failed. In theory it could've worked but I got the wrong Ski bag, it was far too small, width wise. Large but not large enough. This was a big frame and inner frame, 4 big chunky bits of wood and 4 inner pieces of wood that made up the inner frame and they couldn't get damaged at all, not one scratch or even dent on the frames. It could wreck the whole project/plan if the frame got damaged on the flight. So back to the drawing board with slight emerging under belly pulses of self doubt I could actually make this happen.
So my next move was to order up the frame, pick it up from my framer in Holywood (Art and Home) John frames all my artwork! He knew what I was up too and helped me out big time. 8 pieces of framework I picked up. I was driving home thinking, all 8 pieces that I have in the back of the car at the moment, plus another 4 pieces framework, plus another 7 small pieces of framework (the frame for the actual canvas the painting was painted on) not to mention that all the pieces of framework regarding the canvas, if they get damaged its check mate, the painting won't be able to go back onto its original frame. Wow OK this is quite a bit actually, then not to mention how I am going to roll up the canvas, how was I going to roll it up and give the oil paint enough air to breathe and not stick because it was newly varnished etc and oil paint takes months to years to dry properly.
Turned out a Golf bag just about worked and no more. I had to get a mini tool kit together that I could carry on the flight, dismantle this painting, put it all back together, build up the frame that I picked up, put that all altogether. Hang it. Then judge how good I was (my first ever attempt at framing, actually I wouldn't call it framing) and see if it would pass hanging in an exhibition in New York. These were some of the first pictures I took.
These 2 pictures was the start of it.
Some pictures of the mission I was on....
This was the Ski bag, you can see there was no protection etc, not only that the
painting wasn't even in that pic.
This was the frame of the canvas. All labelled up and small corner joints to allow me to screw them back together.
I put the canvas back onto the frame.
Then started to build my inner frame. The exciting bit.
When I had the inner frame completed, I then inserted the painting into the frame. This was a bit nerve racking because everything was off set now, but thankfully it was OK, sat in nicely.
Getting to this stage was very exciting, I could see it coming together although my corners weren't super tight. I left them 70% because I wanted the screws I was using to hit new wood therefore tighten up even more when the time comes. I knew my corners on the frame were not going to be the finished job like John but I had to get them smooth and tight as possible.
This was the Black frame with a gold trim. Its a gorgeous frame! OK so this is how I connected these together. Same way as the canvas frame.
Inner and outer frame built and fitted in once again nicely, it was a relief 100% !
And this was the finished product :) I wasn't finished though, I wanted to hang this on my wall to make sure it hung well and to see my corners under the light. And yes thankfully it was all OK.....then I wanted to have a beer straight away but I had to start dismantling it because packing this up and getting this into a golf bag was going to be another chapter.
So this is how I packed it all up, you can see wee bits of salmon up and down the framework, they're not bits of salmon but each bit is a bit of polystyrene because there were small square metal nails that held the screws in...and if I caught my hand on one of them it would have been a bleeder!
Golf bag :)
Now came the difficult bit, how was I going to pack up the oil painting. I got a large tube and an inner tube, the outer tube was to protect it and the inner tube was to make sure if my golf bag got flatten etc it would hopefully stay in tack but not allow the painting to fall to the bottom of the tube/golf bag and crinkle at the bottom when walking around the airport. If this happened either the right or left hand side of painting when hung would be showing crinkles down one side, and that just wasn't an option.
The painting was wrapped up with brown paper, hoping it wouldn't stick to it (it didn't) I tied it up in 3 bits....bottom, middle and top.....on the middle string I was able to use this to keep the painting a float inside my outer tube.
This is a picture showing how my painting would hang in the middle of the outer tube.
All ready to go to New York :)
See Chapter 2 :) coming soon!