Frames are in the Eye of the Beholder
Recently, I enjoyed helping a collector choose frames for paintings she purchased from me. I thought I would share about that experience and what I learned. There are many different kinds of frames to choose from when going to a frame shop and it is not an easy task. In this case there was no quick decision or “that’s the one” scenario. As the artist I don’t think about what my work will look like on the wall. That would be a big distraction unless it was a commission. I came to understand just how important the color of the wall is to the painting. Another way to say it is that some buy art to match the color scheme on the walls. Many of you will think, gee I knew that already but honestly, I never think about it when I’m painting.
In keeping this story thread moving along, the collector decided to take samples from the framer to her home along with the paintings. Two hours later we pretty much decided to frame each piece in a different frame even though they were to be together in a grouping of four on the wall. This was a different outcome than I expected. I was thinking the frame would be the same on all pieces but to the buyers credit she chose a different vision. The final decision came after letting the varied frames and paintings rest on the wall overnight. It was clear that after a tweak here and there, the group of paintings would look fantastic with a different frame around each on that darkish wall.
The frame protects and helps transition the work from wall to the painting. The choice of color, scale and ornament can enhance the work. For example, I have found that a darker frame on an otherwise grey toned painting can flatter the work. If cost isn’t an issue, there are many beautiful frames that look exquisite using a liner of gold, silver or a color that fits on the inside edge of the work.
The second photo is of a painting on stretched canvas that I sold. The 1-½ inch thick stretcher gives the painting structure and shape. Buyers sometimes prefer paintings on stretched canvas because they have the option of framing or not. In this case, the collector was quite happy to simply hang the stretcher bar over a nail making it easy to move the piece from one location to another. Panels are great for plein air painters because they travel well however you need to frame them so they can hang on the wall.
Frames are foremost about protecting a painting. In the end choosing a frame should be fun. Each person will prefer one to another. Only you can decide.