Peter Cree – PURCHASE ART – click here
The skin of an acoustic instrument is one of the most difficult and important aspects of luthery. It serves to both protect the wood and allow the tops to vibrate freely ,imparting a special tone. A poorly applied finish will kill volume and tone where as a great finish will color the music and improve volume. History shows that most makers of great instruments kept their formulas and methods a highly held secret.
As a visual artist and musician, I always wondered why there are only a few variations available….gloss, matte, and to the great classical guitar makers, French Polish (hand applied shellac). Factory finishes tend to be around 10 mils in thickness. Necessary in a production venue to save time and labor. French Polish comes in around 1 mil but is very fragile.
In the past ten years , I’ve been working on a very different type of technique that allows a great acoustic sound along with an opportunity to create imagery. I call this , the Art of the Acoustic Finish. People ask , “why are you painting guitars?”…my answer is , “I’m not….I’m working the skin of the instrument “ Anyone can paint a guitar ignoring the relationship between the art and the function. Very few people can merge image and function in 2 mils of medium.
My technique mixes artists pigment in either lacquer or shellac. Very difficult to control since the brushstroke dries so quickly. Every stroke is like a layer of glass….each piece takes thousand of these brush strokes which must be sanded between layers to achieve a flat, monolithic surface. This is an intense labor of love taking an average of 100 hours per top.
These “Objects of Desire” are the outcome of process. They are a record of struggle… exploration with no map… this is my definition of art.
Just a few of Peter Cree’s pieces of wood music instrument art – please click thumbnails for a larger view.