Tuesday, December 1, 2009

the kitties at Nelson Fine Art

Georgia and O'Keeffe send their heartfelt thanks for your patronage throughout the year.

Holiday framing sale

Here it is and it's simple: One item, 50% off the frame if you use one of our 200 instock mouldings.
Ends: December 10. (other components such as glass, mounting, labor, etc. not included in the discount)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Andy Warhol exhibit and framing

We just finished framing 64 Andy Warhol snapshots for an exhibit at East Tennessee State University that runs October 21-November 6 with a reception, Thursday November 5 at Slocumb Galleries while another at the Reece Museum runs till January 6, 2010. At first, handling of the Poloroids, we thought there was nothing notable, but it was the body of work that became so impressive and reminded me of the Pop culture nature of Warhol's style and vision. (I apologize for the sideways images. For the life of me, I cannot seem to rotate these images!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Framing Myths....

Since there is a relatively small number of people who have had something framed custom, there are probably a lot of myths that I don't even know about. I'll list some here and add to it over time. If you have a preconceived notion regarding custom framing, please send it to me and I'll address it here.
Myth #1: So and so has a coupon for 50% off framing. That must be a good deal! See my post on January 14th. My bust on that myth is, yea, and they run the same coupon every week. If a framer uses the same coupon week in and week out, then their so called 50% off is their regular price. If you are into comparing pricing, use their 50% off price against everyone elses regular price. Their half price is pretty close to everyone elses regular price (at least ours).
Myth #2: I have a friend who frames in his or her garage. He/she is as good as you are. Yea, well.... My bust here is the professional framer who has devoted his/her life and career to framing continues to learn about products and techniques. I've removed more corrugated cardboard and "regular" mats from home framers work. Now, in deference to my home framing friends, this post is about everyone but you.
Myth #3: Acid free means archival or conservation. Some mats are by definition acid free, but they don't necessarily stay that way. Just look at an "acid free" mat after 3 or 4 years. It will be discolored. If the mat is discolored, then your artwork is right behind (both literally and figuratively). For a mat or backing to be archival, it is either cotton rag or alpha cellulose. These materials have met standards of museums, conservationists and the Library of Congress as archival grade. Back to "acid free" mats, they are buffered with calcium carbonate which is the key ingredient in antacids. A question to you, when you take an antacid does it neutralize the acid in your stomach for the rest of your life? As my friend Winnie the Pooh says, nufsad.
Myth #4: This isn't worth the extra expense of UV glass. It's just my child's painting from first grade. Maybe as important as archival mats, is UV glass. Most artwork (excluding ceramics) will fade over time as it is exposed to light. Light is not just sunlight; fluorescent, incandescent, halogen all light fades artwork. If you expect to keep a picture for 5 years, use UV glass. It's about 25-50% more than regular glass(an extra $5-$10 on most average sized pictures), but worth the expense.
Myth #5: Non glare glass prevents fading. My bust on that one is simple. It doesn't. UV glass has an invisible film on one surface that filters out ultra violet light. Non glare glass is simply regular glass that has been etched on one side to wipe out the reflection. UV goes right through it.
Myth #6: I already spent $200 on the portrait. It will be fine in a ready frame from ____-Mart. I heard an art critic talking with a student artist a few years ago and his comment stuck with me. "Your art deserves to live forever. Treat it that way." I've always said a frame doesn't make the piece, but it sure can ruin it. If you get a nice portrait or piece of art, plan to treat it like you value it. Believe me, the cheap frame will make it look cheap.
Myth #7: All you have to do is.... Some folks think the process of custom framing is easy. Well, it certainly isn't what you would call rocket surgery, but there are techniques and processes that we learn through education and experience that you can't see from the finished product. Most of those T&P's protect your work in ways you may not appreciate for several years. Everything we do is to protect and enhance your artwork.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Facebook page...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

House Favourites

Opening First Friday, August 7 is "House Favourites" featuring a sampling of new art by Paul Bishop, Jamie Burns, Charlesey Charleton, Joan Elliott, Jerry Greer, Rick Jelovsek, Alex and Lisa LaPella, Val Lyle, Kate Pierce, Larry Thacker, and Blair White. These artists represent a broad range of media, so expect to see a wide array of art including drawing, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, and pottery. This group has had ties to Nelson Fine Art for many years in many ways. Paul and Jerry have had gallery spaces in this gallery for more than 7 years and have been in shows here for 8 years. Jamie worked here during the final semester of her BFA at Milligan College and then stayed on for another 2 years till she began her Masters. Charlesey Charleton has been part of several print making shows during her MFA at ETSU. Joan also was exhibited in several painting shows during her BFA career at ETSU as well holding an internship here during that time. Rick Jelovsek has been in several photography shows here over the past 5 years. Alex and Lisa LaPella are newcomers having only been in this gallery for a couple of months. Kate Pierce's photography has been exhibited here for the past 2 years, Val Lyle's pastels, oils, and sculptures have been shown here for 2 years but she is well represented in galleries and exhibits all over. Blair White has worked in this gallery for the past 3+ years and has been showing and selling his wearable jewelry art since his MFA several years ago. Come out from 7-9 p.m. we'll have wine, punch, as well as foods from Earth Fare.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What you don't see...

Custom framing is not an exact science, but things seem to go together best when you're careful. When you pick up a completed custom framed piece, aside from being aesthetically pleasing, it should be free of dust under the glass, corners should be pretty seamless, and the frame should be free of dings or bumps. What you don't see are the countless openings and closings to get that last speck of dust out, care to keep the frame from being bumped by other frames in the process, and time taken to doctor the corners to make them perfect. In the course of working on your framing, your framer may have to solve many problems to assure your satisfaction. Here is a sample of what happens in the process of "framing:"
  • Your framer pulls uncut moulding to make your frame. He (since your author is a he, I'll keep it simple and say "he") inspects it for flaws and other shop dings, cuts the frame and sets it on the nailing table.
  • Next, he prepares the corners for joining, inspects it again, joins the corners and hangs it for finishing. So, in this process, there are 3 opportunities for damage.
  • Next, he pulls matboard, inspects it for damage, cuts the mat opening to fit your artwork, cleans the bevel and inspects it for bad cuts, mounts your artwork in the mat and sets it aside for finishing. In the mat cutting process, there are in essence about 3 chances to damage a mat, although there are countless times when a mat can be damaged (e.g. a matboard cut on your finger is highly painful and blood does not come out of a mat).
  • Next, after inspecting it, he cuts the glass and puts the frame "package" into the frame. Glass either fits or it does not. If it does not, you cut another. It's a rare instance that you can cut just a little off a piece of glass. On one project, I went through an entire box of 4 sheets of glass before I succeeded in cutting one that fit the frame.
  • Now, the glass fits, blow out dust from the glass and mat, drop in the matted piece, pop in a couple of staples and inspect for dust and particles. If there are particles, you pull the staples, blow out the dust, staple again and inspect it again. If there are no dust particles, you proceed to the fully stapling part. If there is dust, you open it and blow it out again (I've found if you don't get the dust out in the first 2 tries, because of Murphy's Law, you can count on 4 or 5 tries).
  • Dust is out and you staple up the back, paper it, wire it, apply your label and bumpons in the corners. Rarely, are there failings in this part of the process.
  • Now, your framer inspects the corners and uses a corner filler to smooth out the seams where the corners come together.
  • Finally, he calls you to tell you it's time to pick up your work, puts it in a bin and waits for you to come get your masterpiece.
There you have a small sampling of the process of a framing project. As your framer, it's our job to measure accurately, cut accurately, treat your artwork with care and respect, and inspect, inspect, inspect.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Owning original Art

Have you ever gone to someones home and your senses were filled by their Art collection? Creating an Art collection is much different from decorating a house although your Art will eventually decorate your home. Your Art is much more personal than a mere decoration. Deciding to collect art is exactly that, a decision. And it comes from an appreciation of the creativity around us. Like any big project, you break it down into manageable steps (like the saying, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.) Step 1, say to yourself, "I'm going to build an Art Collection." Don't stress, step 1 is free. Step 2, identify what media you like or prefer (e.g. oil paintings, pastels, sculpture, printmaking, ceramic, etc. ) Step 3, decide you want to buy one piece of art each year. Or, I want to spend $300 (or $3000, etc.). It becomes a game. When you go to a gallery, you say to yourself, "is today the day?" Once you decide to enrich your world with Artwork it's a matter of narrowing down to the piece to buy. If you have a gallery or artist you like, visit regularly. If it's a gallery rather than an artist, learn about the artists they represent. If you like a particular artist's work, ask to meet him or her. Like I said earlier, owning Art is very personal. Attend openings. At Nelson Fine Art, we have an opening reception for artists every month on First Friday. If a piece of art at a reception seems interesting to you, ask the gallery owner to introduce you to the artist. Visiting with an artist can give you a better sense of what he or she was trying to accomplish. Just like that, you've added to the art experience. You can't do that with a vase or print you buy at a store. Step 4, buy! Now wasn't that simple? And in a few years you will have a collection of Art to be proud of. Benefits of buying original art? You own one of a kind pieces. If you met the artist, you have a better understanding of your piece. By buying original Art, you also encourage your artist to continue. And you keep the dollars local.

Friday, July 3, 2009

How to enjoy an economic downturn

You don't have to spend money. Have you ever been to a business website and been told that? Doubt it. What I'm trying to say is during these economic times in which we find ourselves sometimes it's important to find things to do that are free or cheap. Here, I'm talking free. Every month, Nelson Fine Art features 2 different groups of artists. Group #1 is presented on First Friday during our monthly art shows. Group #2 artists lease gallery space and are generally seen throughout the year. As a matter of fact, right now at NFA, we have 4 new artists in Group #2 to add to our mix of regulars. Between the 2 groups, you can usually see about 40-60 new pieces of art each month. No charge. Ever. I'm not saying we don't sell the art. We'd love for you to buy one original piece of art each year, but that's another post for another time. So, while you are concerned about the economy and your finances, try something free, come to Nelson Fine Art and expose yourself to art.

This public service announcement is brought to you by Nelson Fine Art, Tree House Custom Framing, and the Brew Plum Coffee Bar. (Here's the sales pitch) When the time comes that you or a friend needs custom picture framing, please use us and recommend us. Remember it's the framing that makes the rest of the gallery work. We'll work hard to earn and keep your business and trust.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


"Change is inevitable at NFA" has regularly been posted in various parts of Nelson Fine Art to prepare folks for the next iteration of gallery layout. Part of the natural evolution of a business is steady, regular change. Change forces you to get better or get out and it's a necessity. For the past 5 years, Artopia Art supply store has occupied a significant piece of real estate as well as being an important influence on the Nelson Fine Art business plan. In order for Artopia to evolve, owner, Becky Mallory has decided to move the store to its own store location, 316 E. Main Street, about 4 doors down the street from the Nelson. Official opening date is May 1 and will give Downtown Johnson City another art destination and Artopia a street front presence. Good luck Becky. We'll do all we can to help your continued success.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

P.A. Turner

I usually like to use this site to highlight the custom framing at Nelson Fine Art and Tree House Gallery, but this bears a post of it's own. We've handled P.A.'s work for several years. It tends toward "out there" status and is really fascinating work. If you are unfamiliar, follow this link and read her thoughts and see more of her work.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Customer Referrals!

Some businesses make customers out of friends. I'd like to think we make friends out of our customers. It makes for a pretty satisfying 18+ years that I've owned this gallery. And you know, we've made quite a few friends if I may say so. Every business owner has to balance his or her time between attracting new customers and maintaining the loyal returning folks. It is said that it costs less to keep a customer than to attract a new one. This post is dedicated to doing both. In reality, I don't know who (if anyone) reads this, but I'll present this idea anyway. If you refer a friend for custom framing, then we'll give them $10 off their framing and we'll give you the same break on your next framing. Of course, the key is your friend needs to tell us you referred them. We'll take care of the rest.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Brew Plum-coffee, tea, and atmosphere

About 5 years ago, my good friend, Duke, asked me if I'd ever thought about selling coffee inside Nelson Fine Art. My answer was, "about everyday." When he offered to lend me his coffee kiosk we were unsure what was ahead. Now, that little kiosk has evolved into a full line coffee bar. I'm really jumping the gun a little because it's yet to be evaluated by the Health Department, but construction-wise it's done. Brew Plum is the newest addition to the Nelson Fine Art Center. Kate Pierce with several years experience in the "coffee business," will be running the new endeavor. Until we are given the green light for the full line espresso drinks, Kate will be brewing and serving the richest coffees around. Some of the finest locally roasted (Maryville, that is), Vienna Coffee Company offers us the freshest, tastiest beans to be found. For the present, Brew Plum will be open 9 a.m. until 5, but Kate has plans to begin evening coffee times to include Mom's Knit Out, Poetry reads, writers groups, and book clubs. By the way, the sign above is a temporary one we made with our Wizard computerized mat cutter. The final product will be up soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tree House Gallery is here!

We've moved Tree House Gallery into Nelson Fine Art! The Art Center is now a full service facility. In addition to the rotating exhibits and gallery spaces dedicated to individual artists, you will find Artopia Art Supplies, Brew Plum Coffee Bar and Tree House Gallery custom picture framing. By adding Tree House to the family of Art resources, we now have more frame and mat choices and more years in business than any other frame shop around. Tree House has been in operation since 1981 and Nelson's (formerly Lady Bug Gallery) since 1972. If you go to a frame shop and they show only have 200-300 frame samples, then they are limiting your choices and their own creativity. We have about 1500 frames to choose from and as many mat samples. Expect a lot from your framer's creativity.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's worth what you pay for it

In a small town (like Johnson City, TN) the difference in price between one framer and another is pretty small. The key is to find someone you like and trust. From time to time we have a visitor who brings in something to "get a price" on. After we price framing, they either say, "I've got to go to the other places to get a price..." or "gee your price is a lot more/less than so-and-so." When you bring in your piece to be framed, we're going to give you our best creative advice based on information you give us. That may mean there will be a huge difference between what we suggest and what the next framer down the road gives you. If your only issue is price, then a white mat and a black metal frame is what we'll suggest. Don't expect our best suggestion if price is the only thing that matters. All that to say, you get what you pay for.