One of the most difficult parts of the process of creating a lasting and quality piece of artwork is the final step of choosing the right frame! Why does the right frame matter so much? Below I outline a few of the most important reasons the right frame is vital to your overall satisfaction of your piece of artwork:
1. The right frame sets the tone for the entire piece!
I’ve found that graphite pencil artwork can be some of the most challenging artwork to frame because there is obviously no color in the image to pull from. Colored pencil artwork is different - but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Graphite pencil artwork is very similar to black and white photography. Your mind can pick out what colors it wants to be in the image, but the colors remain hidden. Often I’ve found that a simple compliment to the graphite is muted grays, blacks, or charcoal to allow the viewer’s imagination to run with the image. Other times, I’ve incorporated subtle (but not overbearing) colors that I can see in the image itself. (See my example photo - the colors in the framing are colors I can see in my mind’s eye of this magnificent elk. The lighter colored mat pulls on his coat, and the darker frame helps pull on his mane and antlers.) This helps round out the image and gives the imagination something to work with! The key I’ve found is to not make the framing ‘heavy’ - meaning that the frame could out-display the artwork. You don’t want people to see the frame first - the frame should pull your eye into the image.
Make sure not to “under-frame” as well - the frame and matting combination needs to balance the overall image. In rare cases, a bold frame could compliment the artwork - but usually only when the image is bold itself.
Colored pencil drawings behave more like a painting when you frame it. I find it’s important to not make the matting too ‘thick’ - meaning, don’t make the matting the focus. Keep the focus on the image. Whatever colors you choose for the matting will convert the mood and feel of the artwork. Make sure that’s the color and mood you want to experience every time you enjoy your artwork.
2. Frame for the image first - NOT your decor!
Let me qualify that statement. Decor is important. You don’t want your artwork to clash with your room. However, I’ve seen time and time again that someone will frame an art piece to their room and the image itself is completely washed out or looks odd. Make sure the first priority is the compliment to the artwork. Then consider where you will hang it. Remember, you will want to display the art piece for years to come and it may display in other rooms in the future. Make sure the frame makes the artwork look great as your first priority!
3. Weight the bottom of your frame
While this is not always mandatory, I have personally found that weighting the mat on the bottom of the image really makes it display nice on the wall. What do I mean by ‘weighting’ the mat? Most art pieces I frame will have an extra 1/2” on the bottom of the image. You usually don’t notice it - but when it’s on the wall and you are looking up at an image, there is an optical illusion that takes place. To the eye, the weighted bottom usually appeals to the display more than non-weighted. Looking close at my originals, you’ll find every one of them includes a little extra on the bottom of the frame. (This also comes in handy should you want to put a plaque on the mat as well!)
4. The right frame is mounted and sealed professionally
This means it will hold up to the rigors of moving. The backing won’t fall out during transport because the pins gave way. When it it sealed, it will most likely have a wire hanger which is much more sturdy than other hangers, and it gives you the ability to level the piece with greater ease. The sealed frame prevents dirt and debris from afflicting your art piece.
5. The right frame protects your art piece so it will stand the test of time
If you choose not to frame your artwork (original or reproduction), you run the risk of stains, dust, bent edges, and fading. Many frame shops offer the option of UV protected glass which will prevent fading over time.
6. The right frame preserves your art piece for the next generation
Artwork will likely be passed to the next generation or be gifted to someone later on down the line. The frame you choose will ensure this art piece moves into the next hands in beautiful presentation condition.
Did you know...?
I offer many of my Limited Edition Prints already framed to take the guess work out of your art buying process! If you don’t see something you like, I would love to discuss a special framing option for you. Keep in mind custom framing can be expensive, but it is sure worth the investment!
My custom commissions come already framed - if you hire me to draw a special pet or an image of some kind, the price includes the process of me having it framed for you. When you take delivery, it is ready to hang on the wall!
Let me know if you’ve found other great reasons the right frame matters so much! If ever you need input on a frame you’re working on, don’t hesitate to ask. I’d love to be helpful!