Setting Up Taming Wild
Setting up the saddle still life was going to be difficult, and the more I thought about what was involved, the more daunting it became. I’d been looking at the saddle on our banister in Brooklyn for a couple of weeks and made the decision to hang it: for a better view of my favorite parts, a more visually interesting angle, and a more interesting statement — the horizontal profile would have been the easier choice.
I needed an adaptation to the 14’, timber-frame ceiling above my table to hang the saddle securely, and it is almost too heavy for me to lift. So, how to get up a ladder carrying it, and positioning it, was an issue. Not only that, but placement related to my drawing board has to be exactly right for me to work comfortably. If it’s too high, my neck and right shoulder will be become a work stopper!
Another issue was how to work on a 40” vertical image that exceeds my arm’s length — small details are more difficult to paint with the arm fully extended, and working like that would become a problem. I was eager to get started, but still hadn’t figured these things out when Scott Miscione, architect/designer/builder extraordinaire, decided to get it done. It wasn’t the least bit daunting for him, but it did take an entire day to do it. Architects work with large scale paper too, and have a commercial solution to the problems that entails: it’s a tube that attaches to the end of the drawing board and the paper rolls up inside of the tube, so that the part being worked is always ergonomically placed on the board. I couldn’t use one of those, because my watercolor paper is too thick to roll into a tube, but Scott made a large curved end for my paper to make the turn without creasing by cutting a 6” PVC pipe in half and attaching it to the end of my table. He built a shelf underneath the table to catch the paper and keep it laying flat. It works perfectly and there’s still plenty of room for my knees. I am grateful for these solutions and love the helpmate.