Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is This Why Your Art is Being Rejected?

Hi Everyone,
This is the piece that the curator used as a good example of framing.  "Pomegranates and Cranberries"
Are you enhancing or detracting from your art with your framing?   I just went to an art critique for an exhibition I'm in and the juror spent a good deal of time talking about framing.  This is the second critique I've been too where the juror spent a good portion of the talk about the difference between good framing and bad.    At this particular show she said some of the framing was so bad she could not help but have it be a factor when she was judging.  As an aside I will say that the curator of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art did comment that my painting was a perfect example of good framing, I was thrilled because I deliberated long and hard over my choice.

I always like to keep my framing simple, elegant and classic.  I normally default to a white mat, you just can't go wrong.  It always looks good.  I'm never happy when I choose a cream or an off-white mat, I think the whole painting looks dirty, it also really changes some of the colors of my painting.  I always try to make the painting stand out, after all of the hard work that goes into a painting I don't want to do anything to detract from it.

My Mom owns a custom framing business so I do my own framing.  Check out her shop here, she does ship in the U.S.  She has a beautiful selection and is running a special right now, so be sure to check out her site.  We no longer live in the same area so she now ships me the molding and I build the frames at my home. 
The routed molding

the peg is in place with glue to join the sides
Here is a picture of how the molding shows up.  It is pre-routed and all I have to do is glue in the pegs.
This is a different molding, it has 3 pegs holding it together.  It is now drying
After the frame is built I wait 24 hours for the frame to dry.

While I'm waiting I get my mat cut and glass or plexi cut.  I use plexi when I'm entering exhibits and glass otherwise.  I mount my watercolor in the mat with acid free mounting tape.  I only use acid free/archival mats, and foam core.

My framing point gun and the stacked points

It's important to shoot the points in at the corners and then several on each side, the larger the picture the more points I use.
Now it's time to put it all together.  It is important to make sure you have enough foam core to fill up the frame making sure the back is flush with the frame.  Once it's flush I can now shoot my framing points in to secure the whole thing.
ATG gun

I use a ruler and an X-Acto knife to cut off the excess paper. 
Once the points are in it's time for paper on the back.  I get out my trusty ATG (adhesive transfer gun) gun, it is holds a double sided tape that you run along the edge of the wood on the back of the frame.  You want to get this very close to the edge.
Here is the painting with the paper on the back and trimmed

My hardware and handy power screwdriver
The wire is secure.  I place it about 1/3 of the way down.
I use my ATG gun to affix my business card and a pocket on the back.  The pocket holds my artists bio and certificate of authenticity. 
Once the paper is trimmed it's time for the hardware, wire and finishing touches.  I think the artists bio and certificate of authenticity adds a very personal and professional touch.
"Crawfish on Newsprint" watercolor on paper 6x6 with a 12 x 12 frame BUY NOW

Here is the finished result.
"Spot of Tea" watercolor on paper 6x6 framed in a 12 x 12 frame BUY NOW
"Lavender Tulips" watercolor on paper 6x6 framed in a 12 x 12 BUY NOW
"Can It" watercolor on paper 6x6 framed 12 x 12 BUY NOW "Can It Too" watercolor on paper 6x6 framed 12 x 12 BUY NOW
Here are some more frames that I just finished.  These pieces are for sale.

Hope this information is useful.  What has been your experience with framing?  Do you have any insider tips?  Share with the class we would all love to know:)



  1. Thank you Carrie for this very informative post. I learned the hard way that "presentation" is very important! I love the frame you chose for Pomegranates & Cranberries as well as the matting. Honestly, your paintings would look good with any frame!!!

  2. Great post Carrie, and your paintings always look gorgeous with or without framed. But I do love the way Crawfish on Newsprint looks all framed up. :) I need to get me some of your tools. :)

  3. Carrie, I agree with hmuxo and Crystal: what a great informative post. I too need to get some of your tools! Thank you so much for sharing your process.

  4. You are a full-spectrum artist, Carrie, and your framing is perfect. A local artist whose art is a favorite of mine has a similar simple gold frame on his pieces. Love this look and the black with the crawfish is paired beautifully.

    Wonderful, informative post.


  5. Great post Carrie! Your work looks beautiful -- and I took a look at your mom's blog -- great idea with the mobile frame shop. I hope she's doing well - she has some really beautiful frames. Also, I don't know if you've ever used a dust cover trimmer, but I really love mine. In case you're interested, the one I use I bought here:

  6. In my early years, I was a failure in the framing department. It took a lot of people to say something before I took it seriously. Now I keep it simple and gold and I haven't heard bad comments on my framing in years. Good post. You're educating a lot of talented people out there. Your frames are lovely.

  7. Carrie, this is a most informative post on framing. Your framing is so professional-looking. I must check your mother's shop sitr. Thank you very much, Carrie.

  8. Great post. Your paintings all look so beautiful. all dressed up!

  9. Wonderful information Carrie, thanks so much. I tried to print out your blog but all I get is random lines.

  10. Ah Carrie, now I am getting why you make paintings in the frames. I am used to sell my paintings without frames as customers want to place them in their own framing. And it is easier for me to mail the paintings too. Just recently I've mail one to Spain and one to Canada.. I can imagine how much it would cost if I had them framed!O-la-la!
    Well, your painting look terrific without frames and with frames. I agree, the right frame make the painting glow. It compliments the painting and brings the additional charm to the interior of the room. I am taking Sculpture class and we were debating just yesterday what is the Sculpture; I made a suggestion that you can name anything a Sculpture if it is 3D and you can receive an idea from the artist's expression. Now I have this question open: is Framed Painting becomes some sort of Sculpture?!! :)

    Thanks for a great post!

  11. great post carrie! your work looks so elegant framed, just stunning! thanks for sharing this valuable information!

  12. Thanks everyone for stopping by:) I'm glad you are finding this information helpful!!

    Irina, I normally sell my works on-line without a frame. I know what you mean, I just mailed a painting to Spain and I wouldn't want to know what the shipping would cost. These paintings are for sale at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art. I'm also gearing up for a Holiday show.

  13. These all look absolutely superb! And the frame sets them off so beautifully! Thank you for such an informative post :0)

  14. WoNderfully informative post! Thanks for sharing your expertise!

  15. Wonderful informative post. Love the idea of the pocket with the bio in the back- what do you use for the pocket.
    I am a true believer of gorgeous frames that really make your art look as beautiful as it can:) Yours is all stunning!

  16. Wow, Carrie. Thanks for taking the time to do such a thorough post about framing. The link for Deb Ward's blog was great, too! BTW, your work is amazing, and I'm not talking about the framing this time!