Saturday, 26 April 2014

Framing a Painting

A quick post about my framing...

I'm often asked about my frames.  Do I frame the paintings myself?  Do I choose the frames?  Or are they framed by the gallery?

The answer is that all my frames are bespoke hand-made frames, made to my specifications, and the finish of each is carefully chosen to suit each individual painting.  They are made for me at Art Hire in Glasgow.


I use the same moulding for my oils, so that clients can have the confidence that paintings will not only match others of mine that they may already have in their collection, but that they are getting the highest quality of presentation and future conservation.  

Here's an example.


This painting is Montbretia by Stormy Sea (Oil, 10 x 10).  

The moulding is a  3” wide, mini Whistler style frame. It is chosen to give enough of a statement around the painting in order to present the piece to its best advantage, but not to be intrusive.  I am also mindful that frames have to suit a variety of homes.

The wooden moulding is cut and pinned, and then has 13 layers of gesso built up and sanded back on top of it, which covers the mitre joints and gives a slightly rounded look to the corners, as well as providing a suitable surface to receive the finish.  

It is then water gilded in (in this case) 13.5ct white gold leaf. I chose the silvery tone because it works well to make the cool blues of the sea and the warmth of the flowers really glow.

The smooth polished white gold leaf has then been cut back to give the frame a more distressed feel that works well with the lively, thick, impasto brushwork, while still retaining the attractive opulence that only a hand gilded frame can provide.  The gilding is finished off by sealing with a layer of shellac.  

To keep the impasto of the painting from touching the glazing, there is a slip.  This is also prepared by using layers of gesso built up and sanded down on top of the cut and pinned lengths of moulding.   

The artwork is then pinned into place, and a backing board applied, so that the painting is preserved within a sealed unit, free from any damaging dust or dirt, and protected by the glass from damaging UV light.  Glazing and backing board also protects against knocks and damage to the canvas.

The quality frames that I use certainly don't come cheap, as they use expensive materials and are very time-consuming in terms of labour. However, good frames are essential to help present and preserve a painting. 

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