Green Summer Zen Maple Tree

Green Summer Zen

Another take on a famous maple tree. I always thought that the prime of this tree is its fall red state before it goes to sleep for the winter. And there is a good reason for that. It really does look good. But having made this print for a customer I may revisit my convictions as it does have a certain charm in its summer zen green dress.

summer-zen-tree

summer-zen-tree-complete

green-summer-zen

I can bet this green maple tree will look amazing in the nice premium wood frame.

green-summer-zen-framed

I was always telling my customers who were asking if the print will be reacting to the light intensity that usually prints with lots of red hues are the best for that. That is until I saw this green summer zen print. Green pigment seems to amplify the luminescent properties of the metallic paper and offers a very attractive glow when properly lit.

How to Print like Peter Lik

Can you produce a print in Peter Lik’s style?

There is a lot of interest among photography enthusiasts around the way Peter Lik finishes his prints. Lots of landscape photographers set this style as a benchmark of the ultimate print style. I have done lots of prints in this technique and think its time to share some of the lessons learned.

print like peter lik

If you look up the subject you are most likely to run onto the video made by Lee Morris on YouTube, where he sets the print into a mirror frame purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond in an attempt to obtain a Peter Lik styled piece on a budget. This, of course, is an extreme attempt to minimize expenses and to get more or less comparable results you’ll need to focus on learning the process and get your hands on some specialized equipment.

The process

The technique Peter Lik uses for his prints is called acrylic face-mounting. It involves three main steps. Print production, acrylic face-mounting, and framing. Each step is important to obtain the desired result and here I will try to explain some approaches and walkarounds of each stage.

acrylic-face-mount

The print production.

Here, depending on size and your intentions to continue along this road you may want to look into investing in a photo printer or use the services of a commercial print shop. If it will be a one-off project to mount one print, it makes perfect sense to seek the services of a professional print shop. Many shops these days offer direct-on-acrylic prints as well as face-mounted prints. Direct-on-acrylic prints lack that luminosity that you may be after and the only choice, in this case, is to order a metallic print that will be then mounted on acrylic.

print like peter lik

Paper Options

Peter Lik produces prints using a traditional chemical process with silver halide papers.  Such as Fuji Crystal which is also known as C-Type prints. This technology may not be readily available everywhere and if you’d like to use this technology your choice is limited to a select few print shops which offer this service. The second option that offers very much comparable results is the inkjet on metallic media that is more widely available. The modern inkjet produces nearly indistinguishable results to the C-type technique at a fraction of cost. More on comparison between C-Type vs Inkjet prints can be found in my article on this subject.

If you’re tight on budget but want to continue making acrylic mounted prints it may be best to purchase a desktop inkjet capable of producing 17″ wide prints.

inkjet-printer

This way after an initial investment you can produce a sufficient number of prints to experiment with at a lower cost than it would be if you involve a commercial print lab. The cost for the printer would be in the range of $1000 to $2000. Of course, this machine won’t get you to the large format but you need to start somewhere before going bigger.

Recommended media for face mount application is any glossy photo paper. And if you’re really after that classy Peter Lik style, look into metallic glossy media.

Acrylic face-mounting

This is the most difficult part of the process which requires a specialized adhesive, acrylic sheet material, and a roll laminator. Acrylic sheets can be found in hardware stores like Home Depot in the plastic section. Depending on the cut and thickness the piece of acrylic may cost from $20 to $150. Make sure to buy acrylic and not polycarbonate. Although they look the same, polycarbonate will yellow with time while acrylic will not.

The problem with the face-mount adhesive is the cost. You can’t buy it in small quantities and you may have to invest in a $500 roll of 100 feet of adhesive film.

The process involves running the print on a sled into a laminator while applying an adhesive on its face.  There are plenty of informational videos online and you can familiarize yourself with them before diving in. Even though the process itself is straightforward it is quite easy to mess things up if you don’t apply the correct pressure, overlook a dust particle or skew the adhesive film during the application.

acrylic-facemount

 

The cost of a simple laminator varies in a wide range. From $300 for a manual drive contraption to several thousand for a proper electrically driven unit. I would recommend staying away from manual laminators. It’s a good idea to have all hands on deck during the process to take care of feeding material and keeping the dust away.

You can use a similar technique to adhere the backing to your acrylic print. You may want to use a less expensive pressure-sensitive adhesive. There is a wide range of options when it comes to the backing. You may use another sheet of acrylic, composite panels, or Comatex (Sintra) board.

Adding the hanging hardware

Once your sandwich is complete you will need to clean the edges and add some mounting hardware to be able to hang it on the wall. Commercial facilities use CNC equipment to rout the edges. In a small DIY operation you may use a hand router and a straight edge to achieve the same objective.

Frameless acrylic print

Having completed the panel you will need to add an offset frame to the back. Or set the print into a proper liner and a frame. There are multiple options for the offset frame. Options may vary from the wooden or MDF profile to plastic and aluminum.

acrylic-facemount-backing

You can use any industrial adhesive to attach a back frame to the artwork from silicone to contact cement. Industry-standard though is an industrial VHB tape.

Framing

the custom frame is arguably one of the most important aspects of the visual impact the artwork will have on the viewer. Frame material selection shall match well with the room interior and the image color palette.  One of the signature elements of Peter Lik’s framing style is a wide linen-wrapped liner.

Custom Linen liner

If you’d like to tackle liner production from scratch you will need to have medium-level carpentry skills. Production starts from manufacturing a beveled profile like the one shown below.

Linen-liner

You can relatively easily produce this profile on a consumer table saw. If you’re looking to use them in larger quantities then a local woodworking shop will be happy to help you with manufacturing.

Liner wrapping

Once the profile is ready to will need to wrap it with the black fabric. Fabric selection is only limited by your imagination and available stock in your local fabric shop. You can apply fabric with water-based glues or spray adhesives. White school glue for example will work perfectly well. Here some trial and error is, unfortunately, a necessary thing before you figure out proportions and timing.

Alex Gubski limited edition prints

To set the print into a liner you’ll need a tab gun. Either manual or pneumatic will work equally well.

Once you assemble the liner it’s time to look into framing options. Peter Lik often uses Italian-made ROMA Tabacchino frames. These are quite expensive and you can usually find them through ROMA distributors. Prepare yourself for the price shock if you’d like to get authentic molding.  If you’re on a budget there are plenty of other options that may work equally well.

Frame assembly will once again call to test your carpentry skill. Consumer miter saw will be adequate for 45-degree miter cuts. To join the frame you will need either a specialized underpinner or a v-nail gun.

Alex Gubski Custom Framing

This is pretty much it. Once you went through the process you will be looking at a gorgeous acrylic-mounted print set in a custom frame and ready to go on display.

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ROMA Moulding Framed Photography

Luxury Fine Art ROMA Moulding Custom Frames

One of my favorite styles of framing is using beautiful natural wood moldings from ROMA Moulding. The rich texture and natural colors accentuate the beauty of the photo and compliment the style for an exclusive rich look. I personally build every frame and a liner for a 100% artisan product. All moldings I use are Italian Imports.

ROMA Moulding custom frame

ROMA Tabacchino Collection

This collection comes in 5 different tones from light brown to near black. I find myself most often using 3 of them. Those are Tobacco Leaf, Cigar Leaf, and Dark Ash.

ROMA Tabacchino Frames

A four-inch wide frame combined with a custom seamless linen-wrapped liner creates an amazing combination. It draws focus tho the photo and provides plenty of separation from the display environment.

ROMA Moulding Tabacchino Frames

ROMA Moulding Tabacchino custom frame

One of the popular combinations is with a 2.5″ wide scooped liner.

ROMA Tabacchino

Spirit of the Earth ROMA Tabacchino

ROMA Tabacchino Dark Ash

ROMA Moulding Tabacchino Dark Ash

ROMA Moulding Tabacchino Cigar Leaf

Custom Framed Photography Fine Art

Matching a frame to an image and making sure it blends well with the room interior is an important step in the production of an artwork. The subject of the photograph must pair well with the color and texture of the frame to create visual harmony. In my daily routine, I often ask my customers to share photos of their homes to understand the environment where the artwork will be displayed. To be thorough, I take into an account wall color, style of furnishing, and amount of natural light.

I also offer a variety of high-quality moldings from other manufacturers. Some of the examples include Italian Olive Frames that rival ROMA Moulding in quality and feel.

Italian-Olive-Frames

These frames have a deeper rabbet cut than ROMA Tabachino and work very nice with scooped liners.

Italian Olive Light

Custom Framed Fine Art

Italian Olive Frame

Italian Olive Frame

Italian Olive Frame

Italian Olive Frame

Italian Olive Dark Ash

Linen Wrapped Liners

Why use a liner? There is a tradition when framing visual art to provide separation of the artwork from the external environment. There are no special rules and many artists make a point in displaying their art in minimalistic frames or entirely frameless. I believe a well matching frame adds a lot to the piece of art and while being an important visual part of the whole art piece it requires some spacing from the picture.

black linen wrapped liner

If there is the room I love wide beveled liners that provide maximum separation at no expense to the size of the print. In situations where adding a wide liner to the piece will come at an expense of the print size, I offer narrower liner options. Those liners nevertheless create an amazing depth contrast between the planes of the frame and the print itself.

scooped linen wrapped liner

Many framing shops offer chopped prewrapped liners they buy from wholesale framing manufacturers. It is much cheaper and doesn’t require as much effort. These liners exhibit a characteristic seam at the joint corner.

roma-framed-lumachrome-trulife-acrylic-fine-art-print

While this is fine for scooped liners, leaving a seam while using a flat beveled liner looks sloppy in my opinion. Liner cleaning may involve dusting or brushing and with time it will loosen the thread at the joining making it even more unsightly.

That’s why I only offer hand-wrapped seamless liners. I build my own beveled liners from dry poplar stock. Those are carefully primed and built to accept the acrylic mounted print. Only then I hand-wrap them with a single piece of black canvas. The process is long and labor-intensive but it yields the most uniform and premium look.

roma-framed-lumachrome-trulife-acrylic-fine-art-print