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   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.


Friday, October 31, 2008
  thoughts on framing



I have painted for a long time using Ampersand panels, and their nice 2" cradles create a clean presentation of the work without the need for a frame. But when I returned from the Centre D'Art I Natura early this month with over 30 small mixed-media paintings on paper, I needed to consider framing issues for the first time in years. The photos above show the presentation that I settled upon. The painting is mounted on a foam core pedestal and surrounded by a floating mat, in what is referred to as an "island float" (I know, it sounds like one of those syrupy drinks with an umbrella stuck in it.) The frame itself is maple with a clear lacquer finish.

It seemed a rather daunting task to narrow down the options and find a solution that I could use consistently for whichever pieces I chose to frame from this series. No doubt there are other solutions that would have worked fine, or better than this. But I'm pleased with this look, which won out over other considerations.

When I first decided to paint on paper during my residency, my plan was to bring the work home and mount it onto Ampersand panels, and that these panels would become components in larger, multiple panel paintings. But from the beginning these paintings done at CAN seemed distinctive and separate from my other body of work, and the idea of mounting them onto panels no longer seemed right to me once I got home.

What works best for presentation and framing a particular piece seems elusive and mysterious to me. I'm not sure why...after all, I deal in subtle shifts and gradations all the time in my painting, and that's essentially the issue. But some people have such an eye for this--knowing that a quarter inch in the width of a frame or a particular off-white mat works better than another, similar choice. Many thanks to Sara at AllExperts.com for her help and to others who offered advice.

So far, I have only framed these two paintings, both of which I took to Grace Chosy Gallery in Madison, WI last week. I hope to frame the rest few at a time over the next several months. And for now, I am offering the CAN series for sale unframed, with framing upon request. (Please inquire for prices on these, which range from $100-$650 unframed...email crowellart@yahoo.com.)
 
Comments:
Your framing looks wonderful and is quite appropriate for the artwork.

Exposing the edges of the artwork gives the pieces such life.

I don't think it could have been done better.
 
Having worked in a gallery/frame shop I was always amazed at how many artists and art owners would fall in love with a piece and then put it is a frame that completely took the light away from the piece. You have put together a lovely and perfect presentation! I'm so happy to see that some people still get the less os better idea.
 
Thank you Kim and Michelle--I needed a lot of advice and input to arrive at this solution, so I don't really take credit for it. But it's nice when the input is there and it works!
 
Great work. I have been taking lots of photos of walls recently and they seem to have the same feel. Wonderful colours.
 
Thanks Philip, and I guess those would be Spanish walls?
 
Funny coincidence: I was out looking online this morning for tips on how to "island float" a series of my own small works-on-paper, and ran across a very helpful post on allexperts.com. I got to the part of the post where you included the link to your work, clicked it without really noticing names, then said to myself "hmm... these paintings look really familiar." Took me a second to realize that I'd been following your trail without realizing it! ;) Thanks for asking the kind of good question that resulted in a good answer.

That's a beautiful framing job for some beautiful work... where did you get the frames themselves?
 
Hi Anthony! The frames were made by the same person who bolts my panels together--a very meticulous craftsman with a small woodshop/studio.

I heard the advice recently that you can often find a local woodworker or cabinet maker who is willing and able to make a wood frame for a reasonable price--that it will likely be far less than a frame shop would charge. True in this case--the frames were $40 each.
 
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