Saturday, December 1, 2012

Framing the Subject

As if an artist doesn't have enough to worry about, like creating a piece of art on a canvas, when he is finished, or at least thinks he is, there is the frame to consider (though some might say worry about). A frame should be a simple thing, right? Any casual visit to Aaron Brothers, Michael's and a host of other frame shops might cause you to disagree. Simply put, it isn't simple in any way.

I can't even begin to believe just how many frames there are out there. And, if you take your artwork to any of these places you will find out just how wrong the majority of them can be.

While a frame is often a personal thing, the artist and the "owner" will most likely have very different tastes. The owner has to hang the piece in his home or office. The dictates there are often color and style of the furnishings. And while the color of the painting might work, any old frame will not.

I have gotten into the (bad) habit of framing my paintings. Even in my own home we have a very different perspective of what we think is the "right" frame. As the samples show on the left, each of these paintings has a different frame. Is it the right one? I don't know. They seemed right at the time.

It is a rare artist who can paint where one style of frame fits all. I have seen that with photographs and while I am sure a black frame around every photo is considered sheik, I don't find it that way at all. Frames though, like everything else have a style, a personality and after a few years, that style will have gone out of date. Think bell bottom pants, and crushed velvet.

The adobe home in the upper left has a dark frame with a linen mat that separates the painting from the frame. Is it the best frame? I don't know. It seems to work because I rarely look at the frame. Its in my green bathroom so there isn't much to compete with and I look at the painting itself! The upper right frame is a semi-ornate frame that houses colorful fruit painted in an impressionistic style. The colors are bright as is the gold frame. Again, too bright? Does the frame detract? The bottom right has a lake scene with an antiqued gold but simple, almost plain frame. It doesn't add or subtract from the painting in any way. The other scenic has a simple cherry stained wood frame that has no mat, nothing to separate the painting from its border...the frame. I have considered other frames over the years but end up liking this frame because it too adds or subtracts nothing from the painting within.

Frames are very personal items. Never buy one without the object that it is to house. Trust me, I have learned the hard way. The frame should always compliment (to you at least) the painting, print, photo, etc. It is a way to define its place in your home and showcase the artwork it protects. A frame can be the perfect finishing touch to your masterpiece!

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