Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Art of Framing Paintings--New Look for Cypress Swamp Painting

In a few days I will share one more post from our visit to New Orleans. Today, I wanted to show you the frame I found for the 8" x10" Cypress Swamp painting. I do most of my work on gallery-wrapped canvas with the painting wrapping around to the sides, top, and bottom. These can be hung without a frame for a nice, contemporary look, or clients can frame them if they prefer.
However, for small studies, like this painting of a cypress swamp scene near Punta Gorda, Florida (more information, in earlier posts), I sometimes use canvas-covered boards. These are best framed (so that they don't warp, as well as for appearance), but I don't feel confident choosing frames on my own and seek advice, either from my husband, who has a great eye for the best frame or from a framing expert in a shop.
Our local art supply store, Reddi Arts, which is a treasure trove of lovely, unique gifts as well as a bonanza of well-priced supplies for all types of artists and crafters, has the best framers around. They also have an extensive supply of ready-made frames in all price ranges. When I frame a piece that will be for sale, like this one, I do not want to invest in an expensive custom framing job. This would add too much to the price of the piece--and may not even be to the client's taste (many art buyers replace the frame a work comes in to suit their taste and decor). On the other hand, I want the piece to look as nice as possible and not to cheapen it with a shabby or poorly chosen frame.
At Reddi Arts, the staff is as careful and helpful assisting a customer seeking a $20 - $25 frame as when someone brings in a large piece for expensive custom framing. This particular painting is a bit tricky because the prevailing cool tones don't look right with most wood finishes or metallics--yet a plain black frame didn't add much either. The framer there walked through the entire department with me and found this attractive frame, which looks terrific--better than I seem to be able to show you in a photo--sorry about that. The finish has both muted silvery and gold touches on a neutral wood tone that picked up the touches of brown in the cypress roots perfectly. The right side of the photo is not true to the color of the frame; it's less brown and cooler toned than it looks on that side. I was pleased--AND the frame was only $23, a very good price for the look of quality it has. So, the total price of the painting can stay reasonable (about $150). Unlike some artists, I do not try to make money on frames--just pass on the basic cost.
Question of the day: What guides you in choosing frames for art work?


  1. I think it looks beautiful, Mary. The frame is the perfect color for picking up some of the tones in the tree bark.

    I love picking both frames and mats for a piece. Generally it is color that guides me, price plays a role too. Also, style of the frame comes into play. I would never choose a super ornate frame for a piece that was more simple and vice versa. I also do not care for the minimal frames. Just personal taste guides me, I guess is what it boils down to...

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Sherry (and for your kind compliment). It sounds as though you are better at choosing frames than I am, but I think I will be able to learn more as I go along. Your list of considerations in the framing decision is a good guide.

  3. love the cypress painting - it would seem to be a difficult subject and it turned out nicely. You're right - the frame suits the cypress very well. And so enjoyed your tour of New Orleans. Keep travelin'! And painting!

  4. Thank you, Robin--I appreciate your comments on the painting and the tour. I will definitely keep on travelin' and painting as long as I can; both add so much joy to life.