Art comes alive and gets a personality of its own when it is framed beautifully. Artists have a hard time deciding on how to frame their paintings. Good frames do not come cheap, and when you have several beautiful pieces of art to frame then cost will definitely prove to be a serious impediment.
When you are an artist by profession your primary aim is to get your paintings to sell. If you are selling a watercolor for $400, the best price you can afford to spend on a frame is $30-$40. There are artists spending as much as 15% of the retail price on frames, and there are some who put cheap assembly-line made-in-China frames on their artworks.
So it all boils down to economics in the end. If you want your art to stand out and be spotted in an art gallery, it is necessary you put the best frames on your painting. The frame should complement the art and enhance its visual effect, importance and perceived value.
Here are a few tips for artists regarding how they should be framing their work.
The Viewer Can Spot a Good Frame
You cannot expect an average buyer to tell the difference between a museum quality custom frame and an assembly-line one. But they can definitely see and sense something ‘different’ in a quality-framed piece.
It is quite the same thing as with a ‘designer’ outfit and a ‘rip-off’. Any fashion-conscious lady will be able to spot the ‘difference’.
Also a discerning buyer will not like it when he realizes that his $3,000 painting has a cheap $30 frame on it. And in the world of art buying reputation and goodwill matters a lot. So do your best to keep customers happy.
Framing Works for Better Safety of Art
Presentation really matters when you are displaying art for sale.
A great frame includes the mat, the frame and the glass you put over it.
According to experts the use of quality materials will ensure the best safety and protection to the artwork.
Acid-free and archival mat board, backing and hinges prevent damage to the art in the long run. You should also ensure you use quality art supplies.
Acids present in mats and backing boards leach on to the painting over the course of time and result in yellowing and fading of color pigments. Acids also cause the breakdown of paper resulting in permanent damage.
You can avoid all this if you use archival quality framing and mounting processes for your artwork. UV-resistant and anti-reflective Plexiglass or acrylic glass is a good option especially because several galleries do not allow glass.
Frame Helps the Art Take Center Stage
An apt frame will be able to draw the attention of the viewer on to the art and also ensures the theme or the idea that the art strives to reflect comes across in all its glory.
A frame helps demarcate a painting from its surroundings and establishes a boundary with the external world. A suitable frame will help the viewer to stay with your art for a longer time and not get distracted by the ‘goings-on’ outside.
To a prospective buyer a framed painting looks much sturdier and has a ‘finished look’ which unframed artworks do not have. They will find it easier to envision it hanging on their walls and will be able to picture the overall effect it will have.
The average buyer looking for something to lift up their interiors will always prefer a framed painting that will go with their furnishings and decor.
If you are primarily aiming for this buyer segment, you will do well keeping abreast of popular interior designing trends and reigning color trends. Respected and established magazines and online stores also will help you get an idea of what people are prepping to splurge on.
This does not mean that you sell off your creative spirit for money but a few pieces for the market will always bring you the financial freedom that is so essential for all of us.
Framed Paintings Do Sell for More
A beautifully and professionally framed painting does sell for more in galleries and at stores. If the buyer is a homemaker shopping for her new home, she may in all probability change the frame to suit the decor, but the initial perceived value of the art in her eyes is greater if you have put a quality frame on it.
Discerning art collectors also value quality frames. The frame is a subtle clue about the quality of your artwork, and people who want the best will not be willing to buy your painting if you have a cheap frame that sends out the wrong message.
The frame makes up a part of the design element and is very much a part of the overall creative process. Most artists choose to add more than the actual cost of the frame to the retail price. This will help you recover your cost and make up for the time and effort you put into designing the frame.
You Can Go All out or Make Frames of Your Own
As stated earlier, frames can be terribly expensive. They range from $30 to $10,000 and beyond. And framing all of your precious artwork can also mean a big investment from your part. But there are options you can consider.
Standard Nielsen metal frames or IKEA frames are suitable options. You can also DIY the framing. It is possible to buy mats, frames and other stuff in bulk and go about creating the frame of your choice.
There are many Sydney picture framing shops that offer specialized services to artists. If you have a good working relationship with your framer it is possible to work out an arrangement that is economically viable and convenient for both of you.
Plain frames available in standard sizes are best if you are a professional artist. Also, keep the molding options limited to three or four, and ensure the corners are seamless for a professional and expensive look.
Do your research and zero in on the best framer in your locality. If he has an artistic eye and can contribute in the frame designing process, you will see that he can also turn out to be a solid adviser and partner in your art endeavor.
Frames do enhance and accentuate your art. A beautiful frame also indicates the value and worth you assign to your art. It affects the buyer psychology and increases its perceived value thereby resulting in a better retail price. So do brush up your framing skills to help sell your art better and for more.
A watercolor is unique in that it has a special blend of beauty and charm that is not achieved on any other art work. Watercolor paintings are delicate and are easily damaged, buckled and discolored, and can even crumple if not cared for properly.
Watercolors attract art lovers for their beautiful soft hues, subtle blending effects, varying degrees of transparency and even application. Watercolor-inspired home décor continues to trend this season too, and this is quite the apt time to bring a lovely watercolor painting home.
The color pigments used in watercolors are finely ground and combined with a water-soluble binder like gum Arabic. Artists mix the colors with water and paint them over absorbent surfaces like textured paper. When the water evaporates the color pigments stay on the surface bound by the gum Arabic.
If you have brought a lovely painting home and are wondering how you should take care of it, here are a few helpful tips for you.
1. Watercolors Need to Be Framed
Watercolors are best off when you frame them under glass, and there are compelling reasons to do so.
Watercolors are usually done on paper which will deteriorate very fast if left in the open. Also, the paper is never given a water-resistant coating prior to being painted upon because it will make application of colors difficult. Most artists refrain from applying any protective varnish over their completed work which makes the paintings quite vulnerable to environment damage.
Watercolors get reconstituted when they come into contact with moisture. Colors may shift, run or break, thereby ruining the painting. A glass front will protect the painting from dust and moisture damage.
You might not like the idea of putting your pretty watercolor behind glass but even dust has the potential to damage the painting permanently. The paper on which watercolors are done is a very delicate surface and will be easily damaged when you dust is. A glass protective panel will protect your art from dust and moisture as well as from insects, mold and mildew.
Ensure the glass your framer uses is glazed. UV-coated Plexiglass or Denglass is quite apt for the job.
There, now you see why framing a watercolor under glass is recommended by experts.
2. Archival Framing Techniques Are Essential
Archival framing assures the looks, life and quality of your art for decades to come. A well-preserved art work will outlast almost every other item you have used to spruce up your interiors including your favorite rug and sofa.
So what exactly is archival framing?
Archival framing involves using materials that do not affect the painting adversely in any manner. The mat, the backing and the hinges used for attaching the painting to the mat are all 100% acid-free.
The mat board should be made from cotton or linen rags. This is completely free of damaging acids and is considered to be of the highest quality.
Use of adhesives like glue is a complete no-no as far as quality framing is considered. Paper tapes or Japanese paper hinges are great for attaching the artwork to the mat board. They are of archival quality and do not leave any permanent effect on the painting.
Archival framing essentially is a fully reversible process and does not physically alter the original artwork in any way.
3, Quality of Frame Matters
When you go for archival framing, you cannot have too many options for the color. We often use colorful mats to help the art really pop but when it comes to archival framing the choice you have is a bit limited. Archival mats are usually used in neutral tones.
If you really want an ornamented art display you can consider going for customized and decorative frames. They will provide the right combination of glamour and functionality to your art work. Our Sydney custom picture framing services will meet all your framing needs.
If you are using a non-archival frame, you will have to line the insides of the frame where it touches the art with pH-neutral substance.
4. Hang the Painting Away from Light
Paintings in watercolor are particularly vulnerable to the effect of external factors like light and humidity.
Never hang your painting opposite a window or on a wall where it is exposed to full sunlight for most part of the day. This will cause colors to fade and the paper to become brittle.
The color pigments in watercolors are extremely sensitive and will quickly fade when exposed to the ultra-violet rays in sunlight. You will also be dismayed to see the paper drying out, turning brittle, bleaching out and taking on an ugly yellow hue.
Fluorescent light is also as bad as sunlight for watercolors, so you will have to keep your art work away from it as well. Your gallery expert will tell you that the UV concentration in fluorescent light is the same as in sunlight.
You should ideally hang the painting in a room with halogen or incandescent lighting. A low-emission ceiling spotlight is the best to highlight the painting.
5. Do Not Hang in Wrong Places
All places in your home are not suitable to hang art. Keep the watercolor away from heat, oils, odors and moisture in the kitchen. Also do not hang them near heaters or other heat-emitting appliances because that will damage the color pigments permanently.
The best tip from experts is to rotate the paintings periodically to protect them from over-exposure.
6. No Dramatic Changes in the Environment
Dramatic fluctuations in the environment can also damage the painting. You feel colder in museums and art galleries because their temperatures are set below 20 degree Celsius and the humidity is maintained between 50%-65%.
You need not fret too much unless you have a 100-year-old watercolor to preserve. The filtration system of your home HVAC will do the job quite well for other artworks.
Ensure there are no dramatic fluctuations in temperature or humidity levels in your home. This will be harmful to all your fine art possessions.
Watercolors are luminescent and add a soothing, and serene charm to your home. By keeping in mind the above points you can assure they remain beautiful, and preserve them for posterity.
How you choose to present your artwork, whether it is a water-colour, a photograph, a print or a drawing, affects its overall aesthetic appeal.
Mounting and framing your artwork will not only enhance its visual effect but also help protect your art from environmental damage and aging. Proper mounting will help you display the art in the most appropriate, safe and appealing manner.
If you are an artist you know that mounting choices should be determined by the importance and value of the art, its physical specifications (whether print, original, a photograph or a 3-D work) and the display requirements.
If you are a homemaker with an enviable art collection your first priority is probably how well the art enhances your home decor.
But whatever your concern, custom mounting your art will help you meet and exceed all the above expectations.
What Are the Different Aspects of Art Display?
All art forms do not require to be mounted. Gallery-wrapped or box-stretched paintings do not require to be framed. But other paintings, pictures and photographs will enjoy a better display if they are mounted and framed beautifully.
A frame helps draw a boundary between the art and its surroundings. It helps the viewer focus on the art and not get distracted by what lies outside.
A beautiful frame also adds to the beauty of the painting or the photograph. It was not for nothing that the early masters invested as much thought in getting the right frame as in getting the perfect brush strokes.
Another aspect to consider is the space where you want to display the art. If you put up a small painting on a huge wall, it will not get the deserving visual weight. The painting will look unbalanced and awkward with the large empty space surrounding it.
But if you mount the painting on a mounting board of suitable size then it can be slipped into a much bigger frame which makes both the art as well the display space look great.
Similarly large-size paintings can also be mounted appropriately to suit smaller display spaces.
Mounting gives a solid basis for display to various forms of artwork by attaching them to solid backings.
Where display of art is concerned mounting and framing are two distinct and separate steps which if employed together will give the best display and protection to your artwork.
If you have prints of photographs that are not of archival value like those of the last family holiday, then you can choose not to have a frame. These photographs can be mounted for display and hung on your wall.
What Is Custom Mounting?
With advances in technology, new and improved custom mounting techniques have found popularity and preference with artists and art lovers alike.
As stated above the type of mounting technique you use is determined by several factors.
Ordinary mounting techniques do not use archival materials or techniques. If you have prints or paintings that are not of great value and which you will replace after some time you can go for ordinary mounting methods.
But if you have an expensive art work or work of an upcoming artist that you expect to appreciate in value over time then it is recommended you go in for custom mounting procedures. Custom mounting is also referred to as museum mounting.
With custom mounting you get to pick and choose the quality of the mounting materials like mount board, adhesives and hinges. You also size the board to suit your preference.
Types of Mounting Techniques
Here are two of the popular mounting techniques which you can go for to give the best display for your art.
Dry mounting adheres the artwork to a rigid or semi-rigid surface. The mounting process is carried out by applying a heat press which attaches the photograph, painting or print to the backing board. However if you are worried the heat will damage the artwork, a vacuum press can also be used to the same effect.
Dry mounting will help keep photos, inexpensive prints, posters and water-sensitive works from cockling and crinkling, and gives them a great display.
The biggest disadvantage of this technique is that it is non-reversible. You are permanently altering the physical structure of the art by sticking it to the mount board. Dry-mounting is a strict no-no if you have a valuable painting or artwork. Dry-mounted art has virtually no resale value.
Wet-mounting is an alternative which can be used if you want to avoid the heat. Here wet glue is used to paste the painting or photograph to the mount board. This is also a non-archival method suitable for less expensive artworks.
2. Conservation Mounting
Conservation mounting makes use of acid-free and archival quality mounting materials. The backing board, hinges, adhesives or tapes, and corners used in the process are all of archival quality.
Archival-quality materials do not allow any environmental damage to affect the art work. They are also 100% acid-free and are designed to keep your artwork free from the harmful effects of leaching acids.
Conservation mounting is recommended for all valuable art. They will protect the art and you can hang it on your walls for extended periods of time. Another benefit of conservation mounting is that it is suitable for a wide array of art forms. They can be used in shadow boxes also which are normally used for framing 3-D artworks.
Conservation mounting is expensive and time consuming, but is well worth all the trouble because of the protection and longevity it offers your precious art. It is also completely reversible and leaves no trace on the artwork when removed.
You Can Go for Store-Bought Mounting Kits Too
Pre-made frames and mounting boards, and mats cut to fit can be got from professional framers. Custom mounting services are offered by all reputed framers. You can also go for separate purchases for the frames and conservation-quality mounting materials.
If you are an avid DIY-er you can take on as much mounting job as you like and order for fitting custom-made frames. You can also buy cheaper standard-size frames and DIY the mounting process to fit your art into the frames comfortably.
Custom mounting your art opens a plethora of possibilities as to how you can display and exhibit the beautiful creations. Consult your local frame shop and decide what your choices and preferences are.