Framing Your Art Work

FRAME OR NOT TO FRAME – that is the question?

I am always saying to students they should use ready made canvases with wrap around edges because then they don’t have to pay a premium for a frame. That still holds true but – there is always a but – a good frame though will turn a good painting into a great one. May seem simplistic to say but it is true.

I recently completed a small painting as a demonstration about editing and composition. I had previously taken it to my local art supply store to find a ready made frame that I felt enhanced it. So when I showed the painting to the class there were the usual oh’s and ah’s. I had not told them I was going to show it as a framed piece because I wanted them to experience the effect without any bias. So I turned my back and popped the painting into the ready made frame and then showed the framed piece to the students. The look on their faces was amazing. Their eyes popped! They were truly impressed with the framed effect. So what does that tell us? Yes, we do not have to frame every painting but when you have completed something you know is good – a good frame will make it even better.

What makes a good frame?

First of all, it should do just that – frame your piece, not take over. So in other words if your eye goes to the frame first then it is too over powering. You don’t want folks commenting on the frame. You want them noticing and commenting on your art.

For acrylics and or oils you should look for a nice neutral off white ‘linen’ liner that is 2” – 4 ” wide depending on the size of your painting. Then choose a moulding that is either a natural wood or a soft silver or gold. Most art supply stores will have ready made fames in standard sizes, so take your painting to the store and try them out.

For watercolours or soft pastels or anything on paper you will need to frame it behind glass. For this you will need to find a good framer. Be prepared though for this to cost you , on average for a small i.e. 14 x 20 about $250 – $400. It’s expensive! One of the reasons I stopped painting using soft pastels although it still is one of my favorite mediums to use.

Happy Painting



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