Whether you’re an artist who has just completed another piece or a collector who wants to frame a newly-acquired artwork, you may decide to frame. How do you choose the right frame? With so many styles and sizes available, it can be a challenge to determine the type of frame that will best feature the piece. It’s best to consider everything — from the style and width of the frame, to the painting’s medium as well as glass accessories. Before you dive into choosing a frame, take a look at this guide to narrow down your options and discover how to find a frame that complements and completes your art.
The color of your frame is a good starting point. If there are any key colors in the artwork that you want to highlight, your fine art frame can help. Whether it’s the red and white sails of a boat on the ocean or the golden eyes of a black cat, these can be excellent focal points to highlight the details of a piece and tie frame and artwork together.
You can also choose a completely neutral frame that complements without drawing attention away from the artwork itself. A dark wooden frame with a gold border may not reflect the colors in the painting, but they may be the perfect foil for brighter pieces.
The Painting’s Medium
As an artist, you know what medium you’ve used to draw or paint, but as a buyer this may not be obvious. To enhance the art’s medium, it’s a good idea to first determine whether the artist used watercolors, pastels, colored pencils, oils, or acrylics.
Drawing Mediums & Watercolor
When it comes to pastels, charcoal, pencil, ink, or other drawing mediums, these generally sit behind a mount card with an aperture that reveals the painting. Then, a glass sheet is laid on top. This style of framing protects the delicate watercolor, graphite, or pen on drawing paper. You don’t want anything to smudge the work as it hangs in your home.
With these mediums, the painting is often on board or canvas, and may be varnished for added protection. These paints are more robust and therefore protective glass may not be necessary. The painting substrate will often be fine sitting directly against the frame. Acrylic and oil paintings tend to have a larger surface area, and in this case a thicker frame will add greater balance.
Traditional or Modern
If you’re deciding between the clean, minimalist lines of a modern frame or the textured opulence of a traditional frame, first take a look at the subject matter of your artwork. Is it a contemporary style piece? Or does it have more of a vintage feel? Perhaps you created something in a classical style. Matching the frame to the piece allows you to marry modern with modern or traditional with traditional.
You should also reconsider whether the artwork requires framing at all. Some canvas pieces stand best on their own without anything to distract from the art itself. At other times, you may want to transform a smaller work into a different type of keepsake.
If you’ve decided that the artwork requires protective glass, you have even more options to consider. There is non-reflective glass, picture glass, and UV protective glass. Each serves a different purpose and may be preferable for certain pieces of art.
A non-reflective glass has been etched to ensure that it disperses light and reduces reflections. It’s one of the less expensive glasses, but there can be a slight loss of sharpness from the artwork. Hair, skin texture, and other tiny details won’t be as clear. Non-reflective glass also cannot be used with a shadow box frame.
Plain picture glass is generally the most affordable option for your artwork; it’s also known as basic glass, float glass, or standard glass. This is the style you find in most ready-made frames, and its lower grade casts a slight tint on the image and reflects any lighting in a way that may make it hard to see the work.
UV Protected Glass
If you’re considering framing a very expensive piece, UV glass is your best option. It protects the paint or drawing medium from UV damage that can fade it. This glass has added silica-based materials that absorb or reflect light from the UV spectrum. The downside of this type of glass is that it is much more expensive and casts a slightly warmer tone on the color of the artwork.
With these points in mind, it will be much easier to choose the perfect frame for your latest piece. Explore the colors, style, and medium of painting first, and you’ll have a frame picked out in no time at all!
All Images Credit: FrameStore
About the Author
Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about art, travel, and decorating trends, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, real estate, and investing.