Choosing a Frame

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Most works on paper require mounting (matting) with acid-free mount board and then framing in order to protect them.

As an artist or collector you will probably already have a strong eye for the right kind of colour but it’s always worth checking the little things. Will the colour of your mount lead the eye to centres of interest in the painting, focus the eye only on areas of shadow or negative space, or point out things you would never have considered, even adding a new dimension to the whole piece? The mount can be considered an extension of the painting’s background so ensure the colour is it subtle enough and of the same palette and warmth as the painting. All good mount suppliers will send samples on request. This makes it easier to see the colour relationships, and can save you a lot of time (and money) but for a rough guide some online stores will show your image superimposed on various mounts and frames. This can be quite a fun way of trying out different scenarios and stumbling on fantastic results you wouldn’t have dared to try otherwise.

The colours in my drawings are quite earthy. I wanted a mount of a much lighter shade than the grey paper but found the bright whites would give my picture a ‘dirtiness’ and compete for attention. I settled for a shade called ‘Snow White’ by Coltswold Mounts. It has a very slight pink tinge and feels as though it’s from the same palette as the earthy red pastel I draw with. The eye is now drawn straight to the picture and it receives all the attention it deserves. A mount’s (and frame’s) job is to present the work – if the first thing you notice is the mount then something is wrong.

Framing is far easier (actually cheaper) if the work is mounted with a standard size frame in mind. Mine allow for a 50 by 60cm size frame. I don’t frame the drawings myself because I find customers far prefer to choose their own.

The most common question, however, is – Should I match a frame to the picture or to my décor? And then the next question – Is it possible to do both?

Firstly, we should consider the style of frame and how the type of frame suits the art. Vibrant or abstract art will often fit best in a plain geometric frame of a black or bold colour.

picture frame

Traditional genres, such as portrait or landscape benefit from a more ornate frame. possibly with some gilt or scrollwork. But, it’s always important to consider the level of detail in the painting – don’t overpower your delicate watercolor with a huge scroll-carved frame.

Also, you will want to consider the style of décor in the home. A dark, classical style will suit the more lavish dark frames, but if the painting itself is rather too delicate for this then perhaps consider an understated dark wood frame.

Something like a drawing or sketch can often be framed in a neutral colour or pale wood and fits well in either contemporary or traditional setting.

So, is it possible to fit the frame to both your art and your décor? With a little careful planning, most definitely, yes!

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