How to prepare Hardboard for painting with Gesso



Masonite is a useful and cost effective alternative


Canvas is usually the surface of choice for artist for centuries. It accepts paint well and last a long time. Some artist save a little money stretching there own canvases. It also gives the artist a sense of pride that he/she is more involved in the process of painting. There is now a material that is more rigid and cheaper that canvas and is favored by many artist.
In the 1920’s , a new construction material was created from wood fibers heated by steam and pressed together. This material is called masonite or hardboard. It comes in two grades hardboard and MDF board. The MDF board is less dense and cheaper than the hardboard and has a resin binder. Masonite has usually comes in 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch thick forms and is fairly rigid. Artist often prefer it because it can hold up heavier coats of paint making 3D and textural painting possible on larger surfaces.

Cutting and preparing the masonite

Universal Disc Using a straight edge, measure and mark the masonite with a straight line. This line will be used as a guide for cutting the masonite. The tools that can be used are a circular saw, hand saw, or an angle. grinder. When using and angle grinder, you need an all purpose cutting disc.
Once the board is cut, then wipe the board down with a very slightly damp cloth to remove saw dust. The board is now ready for gesso.

Apply the gesso

Apply 3 coats of gesso Now we will apply the acrylic gesso. Acrylic gesso is an acrylic polymer emulsion like regular paint but has chalk and white titanium dioxide pigment to aid in hiding power and give a “tooth” for the for paint to grab on to.
Apply the gesso in one direction across the board as smoothly as possible trying to avoid brush strokes. After applying the first layer of gesso, allow to dry. When dry, apply the second coat in the other direction to create a cross htched pattern maximizing coverage. Allow the second coat to dry and use a heat gun on low setting to expedite if desired. When dry, lightly sand the surface with 220 grit sand paper or sanding block and remove dust with slightly damp cloth. Next apply a third coat in the original direction pattern and allow to dry overnight if need be.

Add Hangers

It should be mention that now would be a good time to add hanging hardware if you have not already done so. Start by finding the middle of the back of the panel near the top. Next take your picture hanging hardware and screw or nail it to the board. Note that if the nails to the hanger are longer than the MDF board is thick, you will have to apply pieces of wood shim stick the back where the hanger will go to thicken it enough to support the nails.

The Color Red in Art and Sculpture


What is it about red?


Red, one of the three primary colors, evokes intense emotion in the human mind. It can symbalize aggresion and anger, a dire warning, or raw passion. It is the color of love and St. Valentines day, a popular color for sports cars, as well as the color of blood. In clothing and related attire, it can denote power and authority. This is especially true when worn with black.As decor for home or office, the color red demands all the attention and it adds brightness to a space. Take the sculpture shown here . It is a midcentury inspired steel sculpture for both indoor and outdoor use.

In this article I will be discussing the color red in art and sculpture. This is much like the article I wrote art and sculpture in blue-green a little while ago.


A deeper shade of red

Red brazed nail panel It is funny hoe bright red can evoke danger, anger, and raw passion where the deeper shades are more quiet but very deep and rich. With silver and especially gold you get a feeling of royal sophistication. Take for instance this Red Brazed Nail Wall Panel, it has an almost oriental quality to it.

3 Hearts candle holder for a special gift

3 hearts Candle holder Do you have a special lady that you need a special hand made gift for? Then this 3 Heart candle holder would be a great choice! Think of the possibilities! It can be a gift for a birthday, anniversary, Valentines day, Mothers day, baby shower etc. It is hand made with love and given a carefully done paint ob consisting of several layers to give depth and one of a kind beauty.

Red is the color of rust

Rusted collage You may see an old abandoned car in a field, or an outdoor steel sculpture with one thing in common. They will be completely covered in a red brown corrosion called rust. Rust is a form of iron oxide and because of its various attractive hues of red brown to red orange, it is used as a decorative finish. But because it is crumbles away and exposes bare metal, rust finishes need to be sealed off from moisture to prevent total failure of the metal.

Red skies at night, sailors delight

Lady in Red This picture is a perfect example where the color red would be relaxing or be the picture of serenity. A seemingly attractive female fishing during sunset. This would be an ideal painting to have in a busy or hectic office as looking at it would calm the nerves. Needless to say, this painting brings back a song from the movie of the same title in 1986.

Arc Welding Metal Art


Arc Welding as it applies to metal art


Arc welding is the most common method of making metal art especially with ferrous metals. . This term covers MIG welding, flux core wire welding, stick welding, and TIG. I only have a flux core welder and a DC Stick welder. None the less, I am able to accomplish a lot with just these two machines.

Safety is paramount

“Before you start it’s important to consider all the safety aspects of the job. Arc welding involves extreme heat, very bright white light and exposure to UV radiation. It’s important to keep all of your skin covered up and pay particular attention to your eyes. Wear a good quality welding helmet with the right grade of visor. You should also have a jacket, thick gloves, an apron and rubber soled boots. All these items can be purchased from most hardware stores.”To quote a comment I received, safety is number one priority in arc welding

Arc welding is a very fast and efficient way to join metals. The heat from the arc is intense enough to instantly melt the filler metal. Even if torch welding is prefered, arc welding still hase application in tack welding pieces together.

Flux Core welders

Hobart Handler 125 EZ In this installment, I will be talking about flux core welders. These are machines that feed wire through a hose through a nozzle designed for the wire diamter being used. The wire is energized by the hot line of the welder while the ground clamp is connected to ground of coarse. There is a trigger on the handle that feeds the wire when power is on. If a conductive steel work piece is connected to ground then an arc should form between the work piece and the wire causing the wire to melt and weld the workpiece.Aside from the difficulty of loading the wire into the machine itself, this by far is the easiest method to join steel pieces together.


Stick welders

Longevity Stickweld140 Stick welders are very simple by design. They come in AC or DC modes. Some of the pricy ones have both modes. The AC ones are the classic
“buzz boxes” and have changed little for decades. These AC only models basically consist of a large step down tranformer with current adjustment and two leads. The DC output is drawn from a rectified AC.Recent developments in power supply technology have produced a new line of stick welders that have inverter technology. These units do not have the huge heavy transformers like buzzboxes. They use solidstate electronics to step down current and are a fraction of the weight and size of the traditional units. Inverters are only DC units though. The Longevity stick welder featured in the photo is what I use for stick welding. It works nicely and I even weld stainless steel to itself as well as other steel alloys!

Here are a couple of videos for arc welding metal art
I would check out both of these videos and subscribe to the channels as they have numerous videos catering to the metal artist.

Post Modern Metal Wall Clock


Post Modern Wall Clock

Just received the quartz clock movements I ordered from Klock it.  I have not made clocks in a while and was itching to do so.  I recently posted about metal art clocks and I showcased clocks from other artist.  So this time I will be showcasing one of my own.  I have had so many ideas run through my mind but I settled on the post modern clock pictured above.  It bears a slight resemblance to a popular post modern wall sculpture I sold 2 copies of before.

This clock is made from 3 triangular sections of 16 gauge steel painted in iridescent acrylics.  There are no numbers but they are overrated for abstract clocks anyhow.  The clock is 15 inches from top to bottom and 16 inches from left to right.  It stands a full 2 inches off the wall to allow for easy battery replacement.  Two holes are drilled in the red triangle 5 inches apart to be used for mounting.  This clock was recently uploaded into my Etsy shop.

Brazed Cut Nail Sculpture

Art from Square Cut Nails


During the 1950’s and 1960’s was the modern art era now affectionately referred to as midcentury. Becuase of the rise of technology and the excitement surrounding the space race. This gave rise to a more contemporrary art style with hard lines and geometric shapes. And with that movement we have art made from cut nails, or more commonly called, masonry nails. The wedge shape of these nails allows them to be welded
into countless arrangments. The most striking pieces are ones made by braze welding with a bronze brazing rod. This allows the natural contrast of the two metals steel and bronze to shine create a mood.

Adding Various Accents


Creating dimensional wall sculptures with cut nails does produce an eye catching work of art.  But then again, what could possibly be wrong with a little of embelishment.  Take for instance this Eames Era wall hanging.  It features some verticle accents made from braze welding RG45 rod together.  Also, There are three strategically placed hemispheric accents that are actually fence pipe weld termination ends.  They are painted in three different colored metallic paints to draw in the focus on the piece.

A seven frame sculpture

7 frames When I made this, I wanted to create something different than I had before. So I made these frames with a nail going diagonally through them. I also included 3 semipheracle pipe ends as accents.

Creating work of smaller modules

3 stars This is where I wanted to create a set of smaller units. This way ideas that come from smaller pieces can be considered. These 3 stars have an ancient appeal to them for sure. I hand brazed each one and they can be arrange anyway you wish. This gives flexibility for people with a discerning eye for efficient use of space. The art is available at this Etsy listing. Just click and see more details

High End Furnishings and Sculpture

Fine Art Contemporary Chairs and sculptures

While being social on Etsy, another artist informed me that her sister had a furniture and sculpture website where she made furniture and sculpture in styles simular to my own. Upon checking it out, I was quite impressed with the skillfull blend of industrial cast offs and flowing organic forms. This artist has truly found their calling. I present these items for your review. Check it out! You wont be disappointed!

About the artist

Tara Rochette Valure
I decided to let the artist statement give you a little back ground to the artist and her inspiration.”Tara Rochette Valure is a non traditional South Florida artist who left her career as a Mental Health Therapist to follow her dream to create art & use power tools. One day, her boss at the time, brought in Florida Design Magazine and Tara took immediate interest in a custom built table and when she realized that the piece was built at a local studio she took a lunch break and her life changed abruptly! She began working that night”

“Tara builds one of a kind utilitarian pieces including furniture & accessories. She also creates commissioned pieces for diverse commercial & private clients. Tara ‘s passion for self expression continually sparks her creativity & fuels her growth as an artist.Soho Chairs hold a special meaning for Tara . Chairs are her passion. Her influences in the field are Charles and Ray Eames, LeCorbusier, Verner Panton, Philippe Starck, Marc Newson, and so on… She hopes that her love for chairs is communicated in each piece. ”

Again this is just another example how someone on a completely different career path can “accidently” discover art and sculpture and it changes there life forever.



Giovenco This Charming chair would find a great home in any office or business setting but also in any modern den as well. The sleak geometric lines and the sophication of metallic accents are sure to embellish your office or home.

My Style

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I include this artwork to show how my artistic style is very simular to the artist featured. In the piece quadrant midcentury influeces are clearly seen yet this can function quite well in any contemporary decor.  The sunburst is 13 inches but the shiny metal ant the radiant arms will be eye catching on any wall.  On the upper right hand photo is a dimensional cut nail piece that I recently did.  If features several decorative accents in metallic colors to match any decor.

Cool Steel Plates I Snagged for Artistic Inspiration


Never Underestimate the Power of Scrap

The metal supplier I frequently obtain my raw materials most of the time has at least some drops or cast offs.  While going through the scrap bin, I found these 4 wonderful 1/8″ thick steel panels.  They appear to be for an instrument with perhaps a video screen or some kind of monitor.  They were probably discarded because errors in plasma cutting or wrong positioning of holes etc..  Never the less, I snagged them up already seeing their mid century appeal. 


My first project was this abstract mid century wall hanging with a decidingly southwestern color scheme.  I made this in early September when it was still 90 degrees with the idea of fall colors.  I used all oil based colors for this on the main body and water based gold acrylic on the “attenas”.  A nice lady from Phoenix purchased this from my Etsy shop last week. I made out OK.  Next panel I want a simular design but with a range of blue hues.  More later.