Thursday, October 29, 2009

Art theory

posted Sun, 31 Oct 2004

Now that I have repaired the plaster on the dining room wall and repainted it with the paint I found in the basement, it is time to re-hang the Panamanian molas floated in glass. I measure, mark and drill with my lovely cordless Ryobi, being sure to keep my eye on the level instead of the bit. I drill two holes, as the frame has hooks on both sides instead of one conveniently in the middle. When I hammer in the nails, I try very hard to make sure they are both level and extending the same distance from the wall. I hang mola #1 and it looks OK.

I measure for #2. I congratulate myself on my cleverness for this one: I have created plumb lines from # 1 (#2 is to be directly below #1) with string and two forks. I tie a string to each #1 nail and tie a fork to the end of each string. Then I hand mola #1 again and measure two inches from the bottom of it, marking at the intersection of the two inches and the string.

Then I drill at that point, hammer in the nails, and hang mola #2. Uh oh. Number two isn’t fitting. Remove #2. Measure. Rats. It’s not the same size as #1. Looks like it, but it’s actually ¼ inch narrower. Curses. I plaster the holes and drill new ones slightly lower, but this time, when I hammer the nails in, one goes in at a slight angle, so the picture hangs a little crooked. You can get away with that if there is just one picture, but when one is one top of the other, you can’t. (There is a third, larger mola to the side, so I can’t just put #1 and #2 next to each other in an apparently casual random pattern.)

I plaster those holes. By now, I have given up drilling. I am just going to hammer straight in. (Some of you have already figured out what I am doing wrong here, I know. My only excuse is that it was 4:20 in the morning. I couldn’t sleep so I thought I might as well do something and the paper wasn’t here yet. But to be honest, I am not sure I would have thought of the solution any earlier at another time of day. I have had these molas in frames since I lived in Miami and have had to hang them four times. Not once has the OBVIOUS occurred to me. In my defense, though, the place I had the molas framed could have included all the materials.)

I find a new space. Again, the picture is crooked. I mutter a few choice words (yes, with the same mouth I use to kiss my mother) and wonder how the arrangement would look with just big mola and mola #1.

It would not look good.

How on earth do other people DO this, I wonder? What is the big secret to getting the nails in at just the right angle, at exactly the right distance from the wall, at exactly the same height? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if there were just one hanging point instead of two? Why did the framing shop have to complicate my life so much?

And then it hits me: I am not supposed to hang the picture with two nails. I am supposed to tie a wire to the two hooks and hang the picture from one nail and the wire.

It’s a really good thing that sort of question was not on the college boards or I never would have been admitted.

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