How to Choose the Right Frame for Your Artwork

There are thousands of combinations of colors, styles, and materials to choose from when framing your artwork. The right frame should complement and flatter the artwork. The wrong frame can distract from the art or clash with its aesthetic features. You may need to experiment with several choices to find the right frame for a particular piece.

The Size of the Painting

The size of the painting itself can influence your choice of frame. A small painting can have a thin, sleek frame. It’s customary for larger paintings to have wider moldings, and these can benefit from having wider frames with a greater profile. However, if you’re an artist who is preparing for a gallery show, you should consider your space constraints. A large frame can add seven to 12 inches to the dimensions. It may be best to leave large paintings gallery-wrapped. Gallery wrap is the wrapping of the canvas around thick stretcher bars. The canvas is then secured to the back, and no frame is used. You may leave the sides neutral or paint around them.

The Style of the Painting

Consider the style of the painting before choosing a frame. Is it a period painting? Does it bring to mind the Old Masters? Does it feature classical subject matter? These styles of paintings are right at home in an elegant and ornate, gold-leafed frame. In contrast, abstract artwork looks better in sleek, monochromatic frames with a low profile.

The Use of Mats

Artwork on paper, rather than canvas, should be mounted on a mat board within the frame. Always choose an archival-quality mat, as the acidity of cheaper mats will cause the paper to yellow fairly quickly. Generally, the smaller the painting, the larger the mat should be.

The Western Art Association & Goodey Gallery is a haven for artists and art lovers. Here, regional artists can present rotating shows. You can call their location in Ellensburg, WA at (509) 962-2934.