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Old 11-11-2017, 10:44 AM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Show in April: frames vs gallery-wrap? Frames with mats?

Hi all,

I have a two-day show scheduled for April 2018, and I'm already thinking about how to display everything. I worry that framing costs will outpace whatever sales I make. By way of background, my work is traditional representational art -- a mix of landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. (Website link in sig.)

I already have several dozen small oil paintings on panels, 6" x 6" up to 11" x 14." I plan to frame these, but I'm not sure how much to spend on framing. Friends suggest using a local do-it-yourself place that sells you materials and lets you use their facilities to frame. Some urge me to get big frames with built-in mats for each piece; others advocate cheaper thinner frames. Any thoughts on this?

In addition, I'll have some medium and large oil paintings on canvas. Some are completed; some in progress; most are in the planning phase. My question is mostly about whether to choose gallery-wrapped canvas with wide (say 1-3/8" or larger) stretcher bars, paint the sides, and hang without frames, saving money. Or instead should I choose canvases with more standard 3/4-inch stretchers and then frame them?

Thanks in advance for any advice!
- Geoff.
My website and blog: https://www.geoffwatsonart.com/
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Old 11-12-2017, 12:09 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
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Re: Show in April: frames vs gallery-wrap? Frames with mats?

Choosing a frame is one of the most difficult decisions for me as painter.

Not because I can't pick a frame that I like to go with a particular painting, but because I am literally picking the frame for the potential "unknown" buyer. Choose the wrong frame and I stand the chance of turning away possible buyers. It is like buying glasses or underwear for someone you have never met!

Fortunately oil paintings are the easiest for me of all artwork to frame. You don't need glass or a mat, spacers or backing boards, as long as your paintings are on rigid panels or stretched canvas. Just pop the painting into the frame and secure it with a point driver or metal retainers then add a good D -Ring wire to the back plus some wall bumpers on the bottom corners. If you want to get really archival put some protective tape in the rabbit so your painting doesn't touch the wood in the frame.

My personal framing thoughts follow. This could be VERY bad advice for you, so take it with a grain of salt, or titanium oxide pigment if you will.
  • More traditional looking representational paintings feel better in traditional frames.
  • Less traditional pieces seem more at home in gallery wrap presentations or more minimal framing techniques.
  • Smaller paintings stand out better in larger frames. I tend to go with at least a 2 1/2" preferably a 3" wide frame for small paintings.
  • The larger the painting the greater the chance of it looking OK as a gallery wrap or with a very minimal / thin frame on it such as metal or thin hardwood strips tacked to the stretcher bars. I must add that I think gallery wrapped canvas presentations look very dated and cheap, and I never used them but some people do like the presentation. It certainly is more inexpensive than adding a frame.
  • My favorite unframed presentation is a 2" deep basswood cradled Baltic birch panel with the basswood flats sanded smooth, stained and clear varnished or just clear varnished. I have yet to do any subject matter on one of those that did not look better to me than any gallery wrapped canvas. The cradled panels are also significantly more durable than a stretched canvas.
  • Don't go too cheap on frames. A Wal Mart or Target frame is going to scream CHEAP. Even most of the frames at Michael's look pretty cheap. Stay far away from plastic and MDF frames if you can. I would suggest you buy readymade solid wood frames from Dick Blick, Cheap Joes etc. Some of their higher end frames look almost as nice and sometimes better than a custom frame from a framing shop.
  • Work in sizes that fit the readymade frames at the source you choose. That way if a painting doesn't sell, put another piece in that frame.
  • Go look at what others are using for frames and try to find something that isn't exactly the same was what everyone else is using.
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:08 AM
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Lpaint22 Lpaint22 is offline
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Re: Show in April: frames vs gallery-wrap? Frames with mats?

I paint on 1 1/2 inch gallery wrap canvas and I never frame my pieces. I paint the edges in a grey acrylic (I paint in oil but use the acrylic to paint the edge). My pieces are large and are pretty expensive. The buyer often times does not frame them but some do. The type of frame is left up to them. I prefer my canvases without a frame or a very simple floating frame.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:55 AM
Harold Roth Harold Roth is offline
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Re: Show in April: frames vs gallery-wrap? Frames with mats?

I agree with contumacious about traditional art looks better in traditional frames. I have used gallery wrap for a long while, but I personally do not like it because I don't like painting the edges. I have used a 1.5" profile for canvas or panels for a long time but recently switched to a traditional .75" because I want to frame my stuff in more traditional frames and not deal with the edges.

I have found good places for frames to be either americanframe.com or pictureframes.com. You have to be careful to make sure the frame is actually wood and don't choose the more ornate frames, because IMO they look like crap. But their plain frames are pretty nice and often they have sales.

Contumacious, what is the protective tape you use on the rabbets?
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Old 01-16-2018, 05:50 PM
Colorado_Ed Colorado_Ed is offline
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Re: Show in April: frames vs gallery-wrap? Frames with mats?

I'm of the "let the buyer frame it themselves" camp myself, mostly because i'm lazy, but also because the frame seems to be more of a "will it match the decor" kind of question.
"The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you." Neil deGrasse Tyson

My blog: http://ejsherman.blogspot.com/
Instagram: edward_sherman
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