Friday, November 30, 2012
Featured Artist Karl Coughtry
Originally from upstate New York, now living in Minden, Nevada near Carson City, Karl Coughtry has been practicing photography for twenty years. With an emphasis on what can be achieved with natural light, he deliberately shies away from trendy techniques and subjects, preferring to keep the focus on his own innovations and innate passions. Drawn to nature and still lifes, after digital photography became available Coughtry realized he had a unique perspective on color and composition and became particularly interested in supersaturated colors. Technically, he prefers diffusers to break down bright sunlight and avoids use of a star filter. Extended shutter time accounts for the intriguing suggestion of nighttime stars in some of his work.
The featured piece is “Pinpoint Radiance,” an otherworldly photograph of a very terrestrial flower transformed through the photographer’s clever manipulation of light. Coughtry began with a dark room, allowing only a very bright, concentrated sunlight in via strategic use of poster board. Combined with a kind of overexposure and a tight focus on the forefront flower, the technique gives rise to the deliberately blurred color abstractions in the background as well as the intense, glowing center of the main flower, its base and stem lying entirely in shadow.
Five years ago, when he found American Frame, Coughtry realized we were a resource for more than frames. “American Frame is like the Amazon of art. Prints, art supplies, framing tools, frames, mats, and a place to showcase my own work. It’s a one-stop shop.”
When he frames for sale, Coughtry chooses dark, simple mouldings and off-white mats. “People like to reframe, so I use a simple black metal Standard or a plain wood profile in a dark stain along with an off-white mat. Bright white contrasts too much with the dark backgrounds my images often feature.”
To show off what else you can do with Coughtry’s challenging work, we took the opposite approach: an off-white frame and a dark mat. This technique works so well because we used three mats and a unique frame from our Shabby Chic family, a collection of mouldings that updates the country look. Its French white finish echoes the whites of the photograph while the narrow profile offers modernist lines, a perfect marriage when framing a contemporary floral like “Pinpoint Radiance.”
The three mats are proportioned in a typical way to create a sense of depth, but their colors are quite deliberately modern. The dominant, top mat in off-black echoes the photograph’s dark background in a more muted shade, thereby softening it. The deep sage middle mat has a very slim reveal that is barely noticeable, but serves both as a transition to the lighter bottom mat and a reflection of the greens in the image. The bottom mat is soft white and acts as a clean break, or border. Without it, the two dark mats would be overwhelmed by the dramatic contrasts in the image itself.
This framing treatment is a great example of why using American Frame’s online mock-up tool is so fun and rewarding: until you see it, you won’t believe the gorgeous effects achieved with less traditional framing choices.
Print “Pinpoint Radiance” (28” x 22 3/8”) $20.00, Frame Shabby Chic-French White 12596 (34 ¾” x 29 3/8”) $89.59, Bottom Mat-Pure White 8655 (34 ¾” x 29 3/8”) top and side borders 3 ½”, bottom border 3 ¾” $38.74, Middle Mat-Deep Sage 8ply 8673 (34 ¾” x 29 3/8”) top and side borders 2 7/8”, bottom border 3 1/8” $69.10, Top Mat-Natural Black 8ply 8663 (34 ¾” x 29 3/8”) top and side borders 2 ½“, bottom border 2 ¾“ $69.10, Paper Hot Press Bright DPHPB (28” x 22 3/8”) $48.40, Non-Glare Acrylic AANG (34 ¾” x 29 3/8”) $51.12, Mounting Board-Artcare Restore MTBAR (34 ¾” x 29 3/8”) $18.66, Dry Mounting Service (34 ¾” x 29 3/8”) $9.80 TOTAL: $414.51