No, I don’t use windows to make my paintings look like you’re looking out a window at a giant flower. Although, how cool would that be in real life? To wake up in the morning, look out the window, and be engulfed in the petals of an enormous dahlia would be a magical start to the day. Talking about it has inspired me to eventually do a landscape painting in that manner, but until that day, there are several other reasons I prefer using old windows instead of traditional canvas frames.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time on the job with my dad who is a contractor that specializes in older buildings and historic preservation. One of my favorite things about his projects is that he always finds a way to reuse materials. He has used older windows in several of his projects and I guess I just fell in love with them at a young age. Whereas he will use the windows as room dividers, I use them as canvas frames. I’m a total “daddy’s girl,” so naturally I got inspiration from him.
If I were to build a canvas from scratch, I’d have to build a frame first. My theory is why build a frame when I can use one that is already intact and has decades of character? Getting a window ready to have canvas stretched into it requires a hefty amount of elbow grease but I believe it’s worth it. I just pop out the glass, sand the frame, and then scrub it with bleach water to clean it up.
There is something to be said about the contradiction of the older windows with floral subjects as well. Some of the windows I have are almost 100 years old! They have weathered the storms and are still in great shape. When I pair an old window with a flower, it’s a contradiction of lifelines. Flowers are seasonal, at least in the Inland Northwest where I live. They bloom in the spring and are gone by the fall. So here we have a frame that is decades old holding a flower that has a life span of sometimes just weeks; I think that is a beautiful pairing.
I want to thank everyone that has been so generous in gifting me windows to use. My collection has grown and grown, and now it is starting to take over the basement of the warehouse my art studio is in! Some of my favorites are from the Spokane Courthouse and one of the buildings at Riverfront Park that got demolished recently for the park’s remodel. I’m excited to get painting with them and find them the perfect home.
Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog post! You are awesome.