View Full Version : Colored mats
11-06-2004, 08:06 AM
Hi - I am a newby, but would really appreciate some input! What are your opinions about multiple colored mats next to the piece (with largest white mat next to frame)? I have two concerns. (1) Do we need to be concerned about the acid content in colored papers....are de-acidifying sprays good/ necessary? (2) Is there any rule of thumb about matt values? "Dark mats must always be closest to the piece", etc. :confused: Thanks!
11-06-2004, 10:32 AM
Hi Barbs, welcome to WC!
I love doublematting! All my framed pastels are double matted. I have a favorite off white marbley textured wide mat on top. And inside, next to the painting, I choose a colored mat in a color that will compliment the painting. I like the beveled edges on both mats. It just looks very nice! (actually, the very first pastel I framed, I used only one mat, and that one never did look as cool as the rest of them). Triple mats are nice too!
Even with your colored mats, be sure you get the archival quality of mats. It's the right thing to do for your customers, and the right thing to do for your reputation. If you are going to invest in framing your work, then go for the best with your mats.
I never believe in hard and fast "rules" as far as art is concerned. I wouldn't let somebody tell me that I HAVE to have the dark mat next to the painting. Do what looks best to YOUR eye. For me, I love the look of the lighter wide mat, with the colored one that picks up the colors of the painting to be right next to the work. However, I remember on one rather dark pastel that I did on black paper (a sunflower).. I did a darker, more somber outer mat, with a bright inner mat. For THAT piece, it just looked terrific. Choose your colors according to the paintings themselves. Choose what look good to you!
11-06-2004, 08:39 PM
I'll be interested to hear what people have to say about this as I'm sure there would be a wide range of opinions on what's good/bad/best.
11-07-2004, 08:49 PM
atapaz, I'm glad to hear you say use archival only mats. this is so important. There are several mat companies out there and they will all claim to have acid free mats. But, they are not all created equal. I use primarily Bainbridge and Cresent mat companies and both companies have a regular mat line and a conservation / rag mat line. Choose conservation and 100% cotton rag mats. The regular mat lines have only a paper shield that touches the art work that is acid free. The rest of the board is not acid free, and acid will migrate. Conservation and 100% rag mats are acid free through and through. Above all do not use cardboard behind your artwork. This is the biggest mistake that is made. Use another piece of acid free mat board or acid free foam core. Okay, off that soap box.
This is gonna go long folks.
There are many shades of whites and many colors available. Your whites can be cool or warm, lean to yellows, blues, greys, ect. Your choice should be influeced by the white of your paper (speaking of watercolor) or the lightest value in your art, (speaking of other supports). The free specifer chips that you can get limit you to correctly choose the proper mats. It is best to hold a corner sample over the piece to choose the correct white. If you cannot afford to purchase a set of corner samples to choose your colors by then shop for a framer who you can trust to give you the conservation framing you need and who has a good eye for complimenting your art with mat selections.
I am a professional framer and as a framer it is up to me to determine my customers needs. Are they artists who will be entering thier work in competions or in a gallery to sell? If so, I lean to the white top mat, and one or two colors and values for the under mats to accent the art. But this is not a hard and fast rule.
If my customer is wanting to match to thier decor, I try to bring a balance to doing that without sacrificing enhancing the art work. I am more likely to use special ehancements to the matting choices and style in this area. Enhancing the art or print is the most important thing.
I firmly believe and have proven over and over again that a beautiful work of art can be brought down with the wrong choices and a mediochre can become truly special with the right choices.
I tend to use fabric mats with fillets on my own works. I feel this high end matting choice brings warrented richness to an original work of art.
Framing is expensive and all artist face this and tend to short cut thier work with the framing because of it. But do not short cut where conservation is concerned or by choosing ready made colored mats. As an artist you know "not all blues work together". Your art work deserves better. If you have made the chose of using professional pigments, papers, and products why would you chose anything less in the presentation of it? :D :wave:
11-08-2004, 11:33 AM
Terrific post, Debee!
That is SO true about all the different whites. Choose the wrong one, and it will look completely wrong.
When I frame I HAVE to bring in my artwork (to my wonderful framer) and it takes me AGES while I try various mats and various frames until I get the perfect set for each individual painting. The first time I did it, I'd brought my hubby with me, and I rushed through it. Never happy with those at all. Now if he comes, he sits in the car with his book, because he knows that I'm going to take as long as I need to make it right.
I won't even LOOK at the mats that are not the conservation line. It's simply not an option.
I'm so naughty.. while I'm at the framers, I also get involved in helping other people in their choices. :evil:
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