UART Tip #40: “UART versatility” with Nancie King Mertz

“The Provider” is a large piece (45×33.5) painted on #400 UART, which is my usual grit, bought by the roll. This was painted as a childhood memory of “helping” my Dad on Saturdays at his grain elevator. His hard work provided a college education for we three kids and a wonderful home.

Typically, I dry-mount UART to 8-ply Rag board or Gatorboard using archival dry-mount tissue. Fortunately, I have a large dry-mount press, since I have a framing company. If you paint a lot, you may want to seek out a smaller used one to make your mounting much easier!

This project shows a different approach to mounting and the versatility of UART. My first step was to tear the UART using a deckled-edge ruler, which results in the raggedy look I was after. I wanted to experiment a bit with the mounting of the UART, so Frog tape was used at the edge of white Gatorboard to keep it clean as I worked. The paper was positioned carefully and dry-mounted, using archival heat-sensitive film that was slightly smaller than the UART sheet to allow the edge to be free from the mounting. The edge and a corner clearly show the ragged effect.

The board is larger than my press, so a few “bites” were required as I carefully turned the package to reach all areas of the UART to insure a good bond.

The image was quickly indicated with vine charcoal, which I call a “tick-mark-map” and then I began to apply the darks. Once they’re in place, I wash-in the darks with denatured alcohol to set them and then begin applying the mid-tone values.

It’s a struggle, but I force myself to wait for the lights–I consider them my dessert. Always using the side of the soft pastels, developing the light against the contrast of the dark values is such a reward. As I near the finish, I use the hard pastels to indicate a few finer details, and then–stop!

In my frame shop, I join the frame, cut the glass and add spacers, trim the Gatorboard to the correct size, and just before placing the painting in the frame, I remove the Frog tape to reveal the clean white mount. This one’s for Dad….

Nancie King Mertz

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