Picture this: tips for framing art

Thought you all might enjoy a nosey through my recent framing choices. I've been trying out different kinds of finishes. So, it seems like a good time to share some new insights. Big shout out to the team at The Artworks for their expert advice, professional work and fantastic service.

Do I need to frame art?

It's entirely up to you. Framing is a good idea because it can certainly increase the longevity of art and, if it's behind glass, protect it from dust and light damage. I always recommend framing for works on paper.

You can easily hang a stretched canvas without framing it. If it's been varnished that should go some way towards protecting the artwork. Many creations will look even better finished within a floating frame. The more I frame my creations, the more I'm convinced that framing is best. 

Some paintings don't need framing and occasionally look better raw. I almost always paint the sides of the canvas so that you can hang it unframed if you wish. This also ensures that there's a bit of colour and depth on the sides within a floating frame.

Floating or with glass?

The textured nature of many of my creations means I often recommend and choose floating frames for creations on canvas. People often say that the intriguing texture of my work makes them want to touch the surface – so it makes sense to keep the work open. 

I recently opted to frame a semi-textured owl behind glass. The art glass means the textures still display really well. Plus, a double-mount ensures good depth (you don't want the glass resting on the artwork).

Framed painting of barn owl

The snooze 


Art glass  is it worth it?

Oh yeah. Now that I've tried it, I won't readily go back to regular glass. There is a visible difference. Art glass minimises reflections so the framed art will look infinitely better. Plus, for artists, this means we can easily get a good quality photograph of the framed artwork. Essential for entering professional quality images for gallery calls and your own website. And a bonus on social media too. 

Do I need a mount?

If you're buying ready-made frames, make sure that your frame includes a mount. The mount is there to protect the artwork so that it isn't too snug up against the glass. If you're working with a professional framer, they'll advise you on choosing single or double mounts. You can choose textured or smooth stocks for your mount. Mounts also come in a range of colours. The mount needs to work with the artwork and with the frame. There are warm and cool whites. It's important to consider which will suit the artwork best.

Framed painting of paved alleyway with red door in the rain

January, hope in the rain


How do I match the frame with the art?

You might prefer to match the frame with your home decor style rather than with the art. As I'm usually framing art to sell, I seek out frames that complement the artwork. However, I tend to opt for neutral colours rather than anything too bright, which might not suit the future buyer's taste. But if you're framing it to hang in your home or office, you can choose whatever you like. Some of my collectors have opted for bright frames and it often adds a different feel to a piece.

Back to neutrals, here's my take on the white, grey and brown frames that I've tried out recently.

White frames

Are my default but not my favourite. They tend to work well on seascapes and flower scenes. For example, in these creations framed for the Summer exhibition at the Open Gallery and the Botany exhibition at the Fronteer Gallery, the white frames complement the crests of the wave and the daisy petals.

Seascape painting framed with white floating frame


Framed painting of swirling daisies

Dancing at dusk



Grey frames

Still neutral enough to suit most decor but a little bit more interesting. Not as heavy as a dark wood or black frame so good for delicate creations like this bee and flower study. This frame has a bevelled edge, which also helps make the frame more suited to such a dainty painting. 

 Framed painting of bee hovering alongside agapanthus flower

Wings of summer


Grey similarly worked well as a floating frame for Summer breeze because the blue in the grey echoes the lavender colour palette.

Framed painting of lavender plant

Summer breeze


Brown frames

The floating frames chosen for my two Air, Water, Earth & Fire exhibition pieces are both dark brown with a darker, near-black inset. This works really well to add a bit more depth to the framed piece. This frame was initially chosen to complement the colour scheme of the Firebird.

Framed red painting of firebird ballerina



I hadn't expected it to work for Soar as well. I'd always imagined the blue and white dancers with a white floating frame. But the darker frame was distinctly more elegant when I compared the samples. 

Framed painting of stylised danseur mid leap



Choosing the right frame for The Snooze took a bit more deliberation than usual. Floating frames seemed too snug on him, he definitely need a mount. I was confident a wooden frame with visible texture would work well for this textured painting. I considered both a dark wood to bring out the branch and a lighter one to bring out his feathers. I ended up trusting framer Martin at The Artworks' preference. The lighter frame was slightly more textured and subtle.

Other tips

Don't forget to ask your framer to add D-hooks and picture wire to the back for you so that you can hang something when you get home. If you're framing something for an exhibition, always check the gallery or venue's requirements for hanging, as they might require mirror plates or particular kinds of hooks.

Framed painting of paved alleyway with red door in the rain

January, hope in the rain

If you're buying from me and need some framing advice, do get in touch. I typically sell paintings unframed to give you the freedom to choose how you'd like to frame a piece. But I am always happy to share recommendations.

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