Tuesday 21 January 2014

The Matting and Framing Challenge

For an artist, the work isn't over when the painting is finished. The art has to be framed or otherwise fixed for hanging. Some methods are easier than others.

A gallery wrapped canvas mostly just needs a dust cover for the back and a wire for hanging.
Spring Poppies & the Valley

Simply painting the sides of the canvas is all that is necessary. Of course, many people want a frame on their painting but that is something that can be left to the purchaser.

More complicated to frame are artworks done on paper. My primary medium is watercolor and watercolors need mats, glass and frame unless they are finished with a varnish sealer. An established artist displaying in a high end gallery might be able to leave the matting and framing to the gallery or to a professional framer but many of us can't afford that option and do our own framing. The challenge is in the matting. Do you pick an off white as many galleries prefer or do you choose something that matches the painting? Do you double mat or single mat? I will often double mat so I can kill two birds with one stone: an inner mat that I think works well with the painting and an outer mat in a white tone.
Solitary #1

   Does one choose for subtlety or drama? I don't think that a painting or the framing materials have to match the decor but I do think that a mat can make a painting POP or it can swallow it.

I think my biggest challenges in framing have been my mixed media pieces. Many of them are done on mat board and have additions that preclude framing behind glass. I have tried a number of methods: adding matting that has been sealed so no glass is needed, framing without matting, and attaching a mixed media painting to a painted gallery wrap canvas.
Paper Flowers in Purple

There are so many options and, of course, one never knows what will work best for potential buyers. I don't usually think too much about buyers when I am painting or when I am framing: I just do what I think works.

Autumn Colors #2
The finishing touch is the frame. I prefer thin frames, either metal or wood, that do not overwhelm the paintings. Others prefer ornate frames that make a statement.

Like so much in life it is really 'in the eye of the beholder' and in art there are few wrong choices.