Never Get it Crooked!

Hanging a painting, photograph or drawing on a wall can be a challenge for the inexperienced. Here are a few pointers to make the task less daunting:

HEIGHT: Hang the center of the work at the eye level of a 5'6" person. Even if you're hanging various sizes, their centers will always line up.

SPACE: Always hang a work in a space in proportion to the work's size. A tiny work looks best in a tiny space; it gets lost alone on a huge wall. A large space requires a large work or a collection of smaller pieces grouped together with about 1-2" intervals between them. Large works do not belong in a hall. They need backing-up room so that you can see them in their entirety.

SUBSTRATE: What is the surface of the wall on which you'll be hanging this work? If it's sheetrock, then Monkey Hooks are the way to go. (Monkey Hooks can be purchased at any hardware store. They are located with the other picture hangers.) You don't have to worry about the location of studs. If it's wood, that's even easier since wood will take anything from a nail to a hanger (but not a Monkey Hook). I seldom use stud finders or levels, but I am a stickler for wire on the back of my works. Sawtooth hangers do not allow enough distance to hide the nail.

PROCESS:  On the back of the work, measure the distance from the top of the frame to the top of the taut wire (usually it's about 3").  Hold up the work on the wall where you want it to hang and mark the top center of the frame on the wall (lightly in pencil), then measure down the distance from step #1. Hammer in the hanger or drive in the Monkey Hook. (One nail/hook is plenty; two is a pain and unnecessary). If you're worried about the picture being crooked, you can always buy tiny rubber bumpers to place at the bottom two corners next to the wall (they have the added benefit of lessening any wall scratches).

That's it! Remember to change the works on your wall at least once a year so that you won't get numb to their beauty.

BONUS post: Artist's Thoughts are Always Random                                                                       

My sketchpad and pencil are ever close for fear of possible downtime. I preach "get over your fears," but I'm still tormented by my own. My inner voice is so loud sometimes that it steals a night's rest. 

I keep a small tablet beside my bed in case I get a 2:00 am brainstorm for a painting, but it remains empty as the minutes tick away, hoping that I'll drift back into a quiet sleep.  When I do write what I think is utter brilliance, I float into oblivion only to awaken to see my sporadic bedside Post-it-Note says something dumb like "laundry."

I guess my greatest challenge is fear of boredom, sad to say, since empty-headed moments can spark bursts of inspiration. I haven't given myself much chance to find out, however, as my every minute is booked.  Even now, I cannot sit comfortably without running my fingers across this keyboard.

Artists need creativity exercises to break their artist’s block like writing random words:

  • Endorsable, apathetic, mindless...(I think I already have dinner plans for Monday)
  • Sedentary, valuable, ridiculous...(The location for Tuesday's Board meeting was changed at the last minute)
  • Magical, disposable, comic..(So have I copied that evaluation form for Wednesday's art class yet?)

Comic. That's it: comic. That’s my Art Life.

Several years ago, I did some research on comic timing. Ok, I just read an interview with a standup comedian, but it was filled with great tips on how to keep an audience entertained, valuable information for any teacher.  If you can't make an idiot of yourself in front of apathetic faces, then don't become a teacher and bore your students to yawns.

I can't even remember his name, but the comedian said that all deliveries are broken into threes. If you talk about something once or twice, the audience may laugh initially, but your joke will not make a lasting impression. If you ramble on about the topic beyond three cracks, it's not funny anymore. Three is the magical number. Three and move on. Was it Billy Crystal? It doesn't matter. I just remember "three."

  • Apologetic, complacent, noisy...(Do I have a dental appointment Thursday afternoon?)
  • Bilingual, absorbent, significant...(Friday's massage is so far away)
  • Forgotten, creative, intrusive...(Where is my focus?)

This isn’t working. This can’t be the Three he was talking about. Why is fitting in Art so difficult for the average me? How can I justify to others the thought of taking time away from Life for Art when I’m having trouble justifying it to myself?