Framing recent fine art purchases and redoing old.

Over my tenure as a Fine Artist, I found that I loved working in many different areas.  I also was married young and had three children very close in age.  I graduated with my undergraduate fine art and teaching degree at 20 and my Master of Arts at 23.

The tools I started out with in art were an amazing imagination, no fear of new materials, strong craftsmanship, good work ethic, and a supportive husband.

I started doing all my own framing and to this day I continue to do all my own matting and framing.  I also work with a number of designers and have art representatives.  With the designers, not only using my work, I also was able to suggest and do much of their framing.  So being multifaceted really helped to pay the bills.  I taught k-12 as long as I could, but went to private and semi private instruction which worked better with my small children.  Then went to college teaching for 34 years, but adjunct because I could name my classes and times.  Still I painted or worked in the arts every day.

Family, husband, children all being happy and working together.  That's it pretty much in a nut shell.  And to this day all my children are happy and have successful careers.  None went into the Fine arts, but all have creative approaches in their fields; Chemical engineer, Teacher, and a Plastic surgeon.

What I find is that framing fine art, whether under glass or not, changes, and will totally change the look of the piece.  Fine art pieces you purchased 20 years ago, are definitely in need of a make over in presentation.  Today we see many thicker canvases hung unframed on the walls.   These present very well , but can also be framed.  I just never like to see the canvas stretcher not be covered by the frame, if framing is your choice.  So the rabbet has to be deep, use a floater frame or just an edge frame.  But even with these choices there are many other ideas that can be implemented.

If you are going to purchase a frame with a framer.  Don't buy the frame molding you LOVE, but what works for the piece.  That can be difficult because you are pulled to what you love or find attractive.  Also, get all the prices written down, so there are no surprises when you pick up your piece.  I have heard of shockers, or people just saying this is what I want , just do it.  And the bill is over $2,000.00 for one piece.  Purchase for the piece.

Now back again, styles change and tastes change, but before you place that painting you loved 20 plus years ago in storage.  Remove the piece from the frame, it might have not even been framed archival.  It needs to be cleaned up.  Possibly you did colored mats and a heavy frame, check what this would look like in a neutral or white mat and nickle frame.  Possibly you could reuse that heavy frame by painting it or placing a very small figure sketch or architectural rendering.  Today we are seeing golds making a strong comeback.

I am on two on-line sites that both offer framing of prints.  On Saatchi they only offer three choices, white, black and neutral.  You can take the piece you are thinking about purchasing and just looking at what it would look like in one of these presentations.  On artspan, they offer framing for prints, but offer a greater range in style of frames and mats.  So even though you are looking at the prints, and possibly you only want to purchase the original this will give you plenty of ideas.  Artspan also allows you to change the color of the wall paint.  That can be helpful.  None of these services cost you anything unless you decide to purchase a print and frame it and the costs are right upfront.

Double matting is great, but I can't always get the sizes I want on the sites.  Generally frame shops put a 1/4" reveal of the inside mat showing.  I prefer a smaller slice, the 1/4" can draw my eye to it.  I do 1/8" inside mat  So I might pull a color out of the piece or just a ash gray to create an edge or line look.  I am not a real fan of achieving that look with a black core mat,  I enjoy the double mat, but only a thin slice.  Also I will build up the mat so the piece does not rest under the mat.  Also you don't need to mat at all, but your fine are piece, if it requires glass, cannot touch the glass, spacer is required.

I hope some of this information has been helpful.  But when redecorating your space or a new space,  lay out all the paintings/drawings etc that you already own.  Plan your color reference and redo.  Pieces should be opened up occasionally and checked and cleaned inside, even though they seem to be sealed.  Fine art should never be in direct sunlight or near a source of heat.

But fine art should be enjoyed.  If you aren't sure how to change the look of a piece, email the image and size to me,  and I will come up with suggestions.

One other comment, is that I like a heavier bottom mat.  That means the measurement of the matting at the top and sides are the same, but the bottom is a 1/2" - 1" larger.  Most frame places don't do this unless asked.  This is proper framing, but for framing operations cutting the mat the same all the way around is the easiest for them.  By having a wider portion of mat on the bottom it creates visual weight.  You probably won't even tell that is is larger, but visually the painting will seem to hang more firmly on the wall.  I can tell immediately when pieces are the same on all sides and really find it bothersome.  Or some to get the piece to fit into an existing frame my do all weird dimensions, you will be happier keeping top and side measurements the same and the bottom just a bit wider.

Enjoy, the choices are limitless,  but get the final price.


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