I'm not an experienced framer. Are there any rules that should be followed when you are choosing frame and mat styles and colors? Should the mat or frame be of a lighter or darker value than of the art work? Does the frame/mat have to contain any colors that are in the art work? I would like to break out of my "default gold" choice of frame. Gold always looks good to me.
Yep....framing can make or break a painting.
One thing I have found to help me make decisions is to consider the weight
of the art. Example... if it is a light and airy watercolor, you would not choose a heavy ornate gold leaf museum type frame.
Frame should be in keeping with the theme of the picture. Example...don't use a rugged barn frame on elegant portrait.
Paintings that are warm in coloration should be framed with a warm frame such as gold, tan, or brown.
Snow scenes, seascapes, or any painting that appears cool in temperature should be framed with slivers or types of gray.
Then there are the paintings that just can't be put into a category then just run down the check list and see where it best fits.
When you find the frame conflicts with the painting and you can not make a choice that pleases you, then consider using a liner. Using a liner can stop the eye from including the frame with your painting.
Pay special attention to other art work that has already been framed and you consider successful. Chances are, if your work is similar, then the framing will work for you as well.
Try not to consider the decor of a room when selecting your frame. The perfect frame for any painting is one that can be hung anywhere.
Don't get locked into framing all your pieces to suit your environment.
The smaller the picture, the bigger the frame or the bigger the mat.
The bigger the painting, the smaller the frame.
Watercolors look best with mats that match the background color. Example: Use white mat if your watercolor has lots of white paper showing through. If your watercolor is dark or has vibrant colors with little white…then choose a color mat that will fade into the background colors of your painting. If you don't …then the mat will get the attention and will make your painting look out of place.
Last thought: Always ask three people what they think about a particular frame. You can be the tie breaker.