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How To Frame A Watercolor Painting


Learn how to frame Watercolor Painting.
It does not matter if the children gave the painting to you, if you painted it, or you purchased it.

It is important to know How To Frame Watercolor Painting properly.

Whether the value of your painting is monetary or sentimental be sure to protect and preserve it properly.

The the biggest mistake made in purchasing an original work of art is....not speaking to the artist or not asking the seller some very important questions.

So what questions should I ask, Jim!  Here's what you need to know. Type of paper used in the painting, and the quality of the paint used in the painting.

Let's supposed it had been painted on low quality paper, wood pulp for example (don't think my dear reader that this does not happen). It will just yellow like old newspaper does with age.

If you don't know the quality of the paint used, fading of the paint could be a problem. Excellent color like genuine Vermilion could turn black if exposed to smoky atmospheres. Chrome yellows and reds can change to dull ochres and browns.

Try to know the materials in your painting.

You need to know how to frame a Watercolor Painting also how to mount Watercolor Paintings.





Trust me I have seen this countless times, viewers will walk by a wonderful piece of art that's ruined by the frame.
Rule of thumb; if the frame "fits" the work, the frame becomes invisible.

Strive to match a picture with a frame that's of the same PERIOD. This is what curators and collectors call a genuine picture in a genuine frame.

Example a severe modernist work should not show up a Louix IV frame. Conversely is also true a frothy 18th century work will look odd in an austere frame. Imagine a Jackson Pollock in an elaborate frame. Just use common sense.

There will be times when a reproduction of a historical frame can enhance a contemporary work.

" OVER-FRAMING" . Some art galleries will do this, you have seen it, a giant gilded frame around a small painting. The thinking is the bigger the overall size the bigger the selling price. ARTIST'S however should resist that commercial pressure, so beware of over-framing.
The frame should not compete with the work. You want the frame to make a statement, but you want the viewers eye to go into the painting, not the frame.
Frame to the work, and not the setting. Meaning forget about the color of the sofa, and the way the other works already on the wall are framed. Fit the frame to the work.

"MATS" Best tips, are keep the mat as neutral as possible. No bright white or colored mats. Try off white, light tinted mats, do not use too many layers of mats, a classy simple framing job is best and......since you don't know who is going to buy the work or where it will be hung, play it safe.

Mats must be acid free, yes I know the other mats are cheaper, but don't be tempted. Everything must be Archival, the mat, glass, adhesive tape, backing (no cardboard). Good framing job is a must. People who buy art are savvy. They can tell a slipshod framing job, plus it reflects on the Artist. It's all about you creating an image in the public's eye.

Try getting the mat cut a little wider at the bottom, compared to the sides and top. It will look a lot better. Don't choose or cut a mat that's equal on all four sides. Same size top and sides OK, increase size of bottom.

Should you stay with to-days fashion, what's in vogue, or stick with what has been timeless. This I know, trends come and go. Todays vogue (2008) opulent wood frames, carved, inlaid, gilded.

Colors up and down, a few years ago gold, then silver, then warm silver. This year bronze, coppery tones in classical shapes and designs are in.

But what seems to stay strong are simple classics that highlight and turn the eye into the painting. Nothing heavily carved, nothing too modern. A wide panel frame which is flat and smooth with grooves but no fancy carving looks great in contemporary and traditional spaces.



You have at least three choices.

1) Complete job by Professional Frame Shop

2) Buy equipment and buy all materials and build


3) Buy frame from catalog, Hobby Craft Store

and then finish the framing.

No discussion need here if you go for choice number one.

CHOICE 2 or 3

My opinion, buy a ready made frame, the rest is fairly easy. But cutting angles and making a frame is NOT.



Glass can be partially non-reflective or just plain.

Some exhibits or shows require plastic - no glass allowed.

Glass or Plastice must not touch the painting, raised-off by a mat or a lining of plastic "spacers" - shadowboxing, stacking two moldings with the glass in between and various other methods.

If the paper (or other media) were to touch the glass directly, any condensation inside the glass would be absorbed directly into the art, having no room to evaporate. This is harmful.

Mat Board normally comes in 40" x 30" sheets (you must have a mat cutter)

Again you can buy ready made mats, glass or plastic all cut to fit your standard size frame. Some of the standard sizes of frames, mat and glass are:-

8"x10"    9"x12"    11"x14"    16"x20"    18"x24"    20"x24".

So you have purchased the frame - Now What?

Clean glass, watch you don't leave finger prints. Place in frame.

Pre-cut mat is next, since they are typically thin about 1/16" they can be cut to stack inside the frame allowing for double, triple or quadruple matting. Can be all colors of the rainbow.

Surface could be plain paper, linen, silk, even leather, rice paper, can be textured and patterned.

Most mats are only available with a white core (the tiny part that shows when a bevel opening is cut). But a handful of mats do come with black core, green, red and yellow.

A common form of decoration on non cloth mats is the "French Line" or "French Panel".

These are lines drawn in ink or paint forming a rectangle around the opening. Could have several lines.

It is best to buy Acid Free mats. An acidic mat will fade and leak into the art work, causing "mat burn", light brown marks.

If you have mats on existing art work, look carefully at the white core, if it has turned brownish or yellowed its acidic, replace, before it damages the work.

So you have the matt, now attach picture with non acid tape to the mat. Place on glass.

Next foam board, hold in place with framing points (look like small metal arrows).

Turn over, look at art work before inserting point in frame and across top of the foam board. (no cardboard backing), foam board.

Paper back attached to back of frame covering top to bottom, side to side (called dust cover).

Drive in fastners into back of frame, about 1/3rd down from top. String wire between fastners.

You have just finished.



Do your watercolor paintings look a bit "amateurish"?

Would you like to learn how to make your watercolor paintings look more "Professional"? In just six simple steps, you can create professional looking watercolor paintings!




Watercolor Basics

One of the biggest reasons that students fail in painting Watercolor is................. JUDGING YOUR EARLY ARTISTIC EFFORTS.



Watercolor for Beginners

Learn the basics of watercolor painting... from choosing the right paper and brushes to learning basic techniques of glazing and how to frame your work.



Watercolor Techniques

Learn just a few of the various techniques used most often by professional watercolorists to bring interest, texture and "life" to their watercolor paintings.

Each technique is fully demonstrated.


Painting Trees

Although trees are made up of many parts and endless textures don't let them become overwhelming, you cannot fall out of these painted trees. I know you can paint good looking trees with a little help. So lets see how you are going to do this without getting bent out of shape, irritated or what-ever you do when those Green Balls on sticks appear.......been there...done that.

Painting Landscapes

I am going to present to you a "non encyclopedia" approach and give you a no fuss, logical way to paint a watercolor landscape and have fun doing it. Before we start, get comfortable maybe a favorite beverage would be in order.Make your mistakes, goofs and failures work to help you in painting a watercolor landscape.

  • Four Seasons
  • Working With Fresh Transparent Glazes
  • Watercolor Painting in the Great Outdoors
  • Painting Clouds in Watercolor
  • Step by step Demonstration on Watercolor Winter Scenes
  • Demonstration of Painting Trees Trunks
  • Demonstration of Rocks and Sea
  • Demonstration of Watercolor Skies
  • Watercolor Landscape Painting Tips

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