Experts Guide to Choosing the Right Frame For Your Artwork

Protection is probably the most common reason why we frame art. But the truth is, there are more beyond its borders.

Frames focus the attention of the viewer to the artwork, separating it from the environment and encourages an undisturbed contemplation.


The Art of Framing

Putting your artwork in a frame is a finishing touch; it unites the details so that it is ready for presentation. Framing is an art itself, which means the right frame will enhance your work.


Which Frame?


There are no concrete rules in frame selection. Many artists and collectors prefer to base it mainly on the artwork. For example, paintings of 18th century sceneries are often kept in intricate, gold-leafed frames or in handsome walnut frames. Light or abstract paintings suit sleekier frames made of glass or steel.

When the artwork and the frame complement each other, you can display them anywhere. A period painting in a traditional frame will do just fine in a contemporary setting.


Choose a colour that doesn’t compete with the artwork’s colours. Also, avoid intricate frames if the artwork has many details. Always think of how the structure will present the art.

For Illustrations and Drawings

Find out what medium was used for the illustration or drawing. Most often, these are made using charcoal, pastel, or graphite, all of which are organic materials. Artworks made of these tend to be more delicate, so you have to use a mount or a “mat”.

Mats maintain a distance between the glass and the artwork, protecting the fragile nature of the latter. For example, if the graphite rubs against the glass, it could create condensation that would encourage mould and mildew growth.

For Prints

DAR Photo Specialist, Karina Wolfin says,” Prints are popular wall décor because they are accessible and affordable. When choosing a frame, study the spectrum of colours in the printed art first. Follow the most dominant colour. The same way with photographs.”

Black and white artworks should be accompanied by black or white frames as well.


For Oil Paintings

Oil paintings require more caution. Unlike watercolour or acrylic, they don’t dry as the water components evaporate. You have to give them time to oxidise. While a painting might seem dry after a few days, it could take months to years before it becomes completely dry. Thicker layers need more drying time and are more prone to cracking.

There’s more flexibility in choosing a frame for an oil painting. You may base it on the dominant colours or any colour within the picture. To maintain the classical vibe, artists and collectors opt for bulky wooden frames with highly-detailed mouldings. Of course, you still have to consider the content of the artwork, its weight, and your space.

Some artists and collectors prefer not to cover oil paintings with glass in fear that it might trap air and moisture and cause rotting.

For Mixed Media

Mixed media can work with almost any frame. Take into consideration all the mediums present in the artwork when choosing a frame. But if you want to allow your artistic spirit to roam, choose any of your likings.


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