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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

To Frame or not to Frame, That is the Question?

And all that Jazz

I belong to a network called LinkedIn and participate in various discussions with other art professionals. Most of the chit chat is ongoing, and artist’s type in their opinions, links, and advice which is viewed and shared by all.

One recent discussion involved framing. Should artwork be framed before showing? There were as many different opinions as artists. Some felt that it was imperative to frame, not only to protect your work, but to present it in its best light. Others, from their own experience, found that customers often prefer to select their own frames and often discard the one the artist has so carefully chosen.

Lucky Lady

Mixed opinions circulated on wrapped canvases. Traditionalists thought wrap around art was tacky; younger more “edgy” artists thought it perfectly acceptable, and that it was preferred by their buyers because it made the artwork more affordable. Apparently, purist attitudes have gone the way of the economy.

I have done both. 50% of my artwork is framed and 50% is unframed; but more and more, I’m leaning toward painting the edges, and allowing the client to choose whether they want it framed or unframed. If the choice is framed, I help them in their selection if they wish and I point out that the painting would cost anywhere from $100 to $200 more (depending on the cost of the frame) if a frame were included. I’ve found this actually helps clinch the sale.

Shimmy Shake

The matter of fragile watercolors and pastels was discussed. If you’re going to show them, they must as a matter of necessity be framed, and properly. A mat that allows breathing room (space between the glass and the painting) is needed. Transporting these fragile works from show to show requires the utmost care.

Vamp on a Ramp

I enjoy doing pastels, but I seldom frame them. I follow in the footsteps of another pastel artist who folds newspaper sheets around each fragile pastel and stores it flat. Apparently, the news print from modern presses does not rub off on the painting. My images are also stored and displayed online. If a buyer chooses to purchase an original, I would price it to include the matting, framing, and shipping.

Each artist has his or her own specific preferences learned from their own personal experience. As in most creative work, there is never a right way and a wrong way. There is a unique perception and a preferred way of working for each artist. We shouldn’t be so opinionated that we can’t learn a thing or two from others. I prefer to have an open mind so I may weigh and evaluate my options and then choose accordingly.

Yes, Sir that's my Baby!

I work best when I’m not limited by the opinions and decisions of others. I feel hand-cuffed when all the parameters are rigid and demanding. Teachers and professors in long standing sometimes get in a rut. They teach as if there is only one way to approach a problem or to execute artwork – their way!

No wonder we as artists find it difficult to have a fresh idea or style? No wonder we find it difficult to stay “loose” when what we’ve learned comes back at us in memory replay over and over again. Every artist should listen to their own voice and build confidence in their own abilities. Trust your instincts! Let your own muse guide your hand and imagination. Let your own unique style emerge. Let “Jack out of the box!”

The mixed media paintings on this blog are available unframed or in colorful red, black, and gray boxed frames. See Etsy link in right-hand column.