Thursday, 4 September 2014

A Framing Faux pas?

My first foray into the world of mounts and framing was a somewhat terrifying experience. Some of you may have read my post on the subject last year, see 'What Colour do You Call That?' where I got a little lost in the terminology and choice. Well, times have moved on.    

A couple of months ago I read a really informative post on framing. Billy Showell, who some of you will know, is one of the leading artists in the field of contemporary botanical art, gave a great summary of some of her favourite, (and not so favourite) framing choices at this year's SBA exhibition. Having just completed a couple of nice little pieces, I wanted to change my style of framing a bit, so decided to take her views on board.

My old style of frame and mount.

A natural wood frame with a cream driftwood finish and cream mount board.

It's quite nice but also quite safe, and somewhat 'pedestrian'.
(my terms for okay, but you're not wowing me darling)

In other words, if it doesn't light my fire, how will I expect it to light up anyone else.
A little framing faux pas methinks.

In her post June Pinterest and Framing, Billy suggested that paying attention to the latest trends and choices made by art buyers was probably a good starting point, as they are the ones hanging our work on their walls. A good framer, who frames lots of different styles will also have their finger on the pulse and will be able to advise. Selecting frames and mounts for your own home is very different, and at the end of the day, you want your work to sell. Friends and fellow artists can be good sounding boards too. They will really tell you if something looks awful. 

Clean and polished presentation was another important point to note, as quality always shows and adds real value to a piece, (remember, the price of your work should reflect this). Poorly cut mounts and damaged frames do not go down well, so again getting a good framer is a must.

Whites, creams and neutrals are all popular just now, and looking at some of Billy's own selection from the exhibition this would certainly seem to back this up. Box mounts, slips and double mounting all made an appearance, so there is plenty to choose from out there, to make your work ooze glamour.

So first up, is the moulding.

The classic whites and creams.

And then the mount boards.

whites and creams, (again)

The sheer volume of choice of mount board colours is truly extraordinary. Here I have got my hands on a full set of Arqadia conservation grade mount boards, and in the whites and creams alone there are over 30 colours to choose from. With names that again appear to have come straight from the minds of those folk at Farrow and Ball, you can choose from the exquisitely named Rain Shimmer, Minuet, Alabaster and my favourite, the delicious Chocolate Sunrise. There are all manner of whites too, including Cloud, Snow and Star White. 

And if these aren't quite your thing...

... you've got the rest of the range to choose from

 So, how do they look then?

The Iris seed pods with Star White 

And again with Rain Shimmer (1400 micron)

Some of the boards have a lovely shimmery texture to them
that gives a nice contrast 

A shortlist of some of my favourites.
All 1400 micron

To demonstrate that all whites are not quite the same, I put some of my favourites together and it really showed up just how much of a contrast there can be between them. Oh my, I love them all.

'About Turn'
With Minuet and Star White

Trying out some of the simple mouldings.

The one on the right has a gentle slope and a white washed finish.
A silver slip or deeper, double mount might go well too.

So, thanks to Billy for a very informative post and for getting us all talking about framing. Expect glamorous and gorgeous frames in the exhibition next year then. Let's hope so, I know I have a few surprises left up my sleeve.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

When you go to see mine at Florum, note that the mats are all in Hayseed by Arquadia. Very neutral cream white laid board.

Think also about the colours you tend to work with you might think you can swop mounts around whereas some work better with some colours than others

Katherine Tyrrell said...

The other things I forgot to mention is that there are an awful lot of fuddy duddy framers out there so don't take their word for anything unless their frameshop looks like a smart gallery with artwork which will walk off the walls!

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

The Arqadia boards are lovely and there are some great, subtle tones that I really like. The purple I have been working with looks lovely with some of the whites and Minuet is great with loads of my pieces. Hayseed is a lovely choice too.

You're so right Katherine, I think I made a mistake with my first framer. He isn't forthcoming with advice and that can be so important.

Janene said...

Thanks for bringing up the topic of framing again--I re-read Billy's post and found it even more helpful the second time around so I was glad to get a reminder about it. It looks like you are making some wonderful choices with your mats and frames. I tried an 8-ply mat this year and really like the depth that it gives.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Janene. I found it so insightful to take a more critical view of this topic and to really pick over my choices.

Taking more control and not being led, according to how easy you will make things for the framer is certainly refreshing.

Anonymous said...

I am fairly new to framing and the task of choosing seems HUGE! The last problem I came unstuck on was the lighting. At the framers the light was different to outside and different again at my home. When the painting was hung for exhibition it did not have that WOW factor. Very disappointing. How do I get round that one?

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Hi Chris. Yes, that one can be really problematic. When choosing mounts and mouldings, I take samples outside to see how they look in daylight before choosing.

They can look so different in daylight, and this gives a better idea of how they might look with a bright light on them in exhibition. It can be so hit and miss, but I also tend to steer away from creams that are too yellow as these can be insipid in artificial light.