Monday, June 18 , 2018, 9:30 pm | Fair 62º


Follow These Tips As a Frame of Reference and Your Artwork Will Never Look Better

With a little prep work, the overwhelming choices for your display case are simpler than you think

A basic rule of thumb is that a frame should enhance the art itself, and not distract the viewer. Click to view larger
A basic rule of thumb is that a frame should enhance the art itself, and not distract the viewer. (Universal Arquati photo)

Framing art intimidates a lot of people and it is easy to understand why. There are endless choices when it comes to framing and it can be overwhelming.

To embolden you to take on the task of framing artwork for your home, however, remember that everything looks better when framed — and that means everything.

It is not too far-fetched to say that when you put a frame around something, it suddenly becomes art. Better said, framing asks the viewer to consider what is in the frame as art, and that is half the battle right there.

Despite how it may appear at first, there are relatively few rules to framing.

The most important thing to understand is the nature of what you are framing. Some artwork, such as photographs or prints, work under glass, while others, such as oil paintings, do not.

To understand the needs of the artwork you want to frame, it is best to consult with an expert by heading to a framing store near you with your artwork in hand. The framer can be a small, independent framing store or a chain store such as a Michaels or an Aaron Brothers.

If the artwork you’re framing is valuable, be sure to choose a framing store that has a solid reputation and has done framing for artwork like yours before. It’s a good idea to call first and get references from galleries or other art resources.

After all, in addition to enhancing the look of your artwork, one of the main reasons it’s important to frame art is to protect it.

At the framer’s, think about all of your needs regarding the artwork. Do you need to protect the artwork from sun exposure? Is it fragile? Is it going to need to work with other artwork hung nearby?

Also important is your budget. Once you have explained your needs completely to your framer, a lot of your work is done for you. Your framer will steer you toward certain frames and framing techniques.

The next step involves your own sense of style. Certain artwork naturally lends itself to certain frames. Contemporary artwork and photographs often look great in simple, modern frames.

Artwork such as traditional oil paintings of still lifes or landscapes, lend themselves to more traditional, gilded or ornate frames.

One very basic rule of thumb is that the frame should enhance, not distract the viewer from the art itself. Still, there are no hard and fast rules. Framing is as much a chance for you to express your style as the art itself.

There also is some vocabulary to learn and a few framing options you should consider.

In addition to the color and nature of the frame itself, you should consider matting (often a paper or fabric that serves as a “frame within a frame”), fillets or slips (similar to molding and used to complement and, again, frame a painting inside the outermost frame), backing (often used to give an artwork a more solid structure), dust cover (to protect artwork from dust), and how the artwork is ultimately going to be hung, attached or displayed.

Deciding on the best matting and fillets can be achieved by trying different options alongside your artwork until you find what is most pleasing to your eye. The backing, hanging mechanism and dust cover are things any qualified framer should be able to advise you on.

If you can get past the feeling of being overwhelmed by the choices and put a little thought into your practical needs, you will quickly discover what a wonderfully fun and creative opportunity framing your artwork can be.

Noozhawk contributing writer Hilary Doubleday can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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