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Framing Ideas

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Expert thoughts on framing

A good frame completes a painting. In my studio I keep on hand many sizes of tester frames. Some didn’t start out as a tester frame but with handling and show dings they became that way. For testing, even an old ugly frame is better than no frame at all. Usually at about the 3/4 mark of a painting I will try it out in a frame to get a fresh perspective and often find I'm farther along than I thought. This helps me avoid overworking a piece.  Let's see what other tips the experts have…

Romain Moens(Manager of Swinton’s framing department)

Not every piece you create is spectacular but at each stage in your development you will have ones that are special. Those should be framed well. They're worth it.

Donna Swinton(Swinton’s Head Honcho)

Thin liner and wide moulding bring the eye into the painting without being overwhelming. Also, wider mouldings can make the small paintings look more significant. Remember the rule: 1/3 liner with 2/3 moulding, or vice versa. Don't make your moulding and liner the same width.

Holly McWilliams(Art instructor)

I like getting my work framed because it's like icing on the cake. It can make something mediocre seem more tasty. Be bold when framing. Undercutting your frame weakens the piece. Never cheap out on your art.

Carol Balazsi(Framer extraordinaire)

A good framer knows what the end result will look like. Trust them. If the combo makes you smile then the choice is right. Don’t overthink it. Usually in the end, the first choice was the right one.

Sue Contini(Art instructor)

Look at the sample in every corner to make sure it works with the whole composition not just one corner. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Milo Dlouhy(Encaustic instructor)

You're asking the wrong person. I once carved a frame for 160 hours for a painting that took 4. Trust me - go see Romain. He’s truly an expert.

Cameron MacEachran(Front end professional)

Don’t overwhelm the piece. Bold yes, but don’t go over the top or the art gets lost.

Lorretta Secord(Art instructor)

Come with an idea of what you want but remember the person behind the counter is the professional and is there to help you make your art the best it can be! You don’t have to spend a lot to make it look nice.

Robert Wood(Workshop instructor)

Spend the money for quality framing! Your art is a reflection of who your are. A nice frame says something about you as an artist. Cheap frames, that are often too small for a painting, only detract from the art. If you can, stay to the classics, they never go out of fashion.

Noel Dyer(Swinton's manager)

Framing… plant the blood on your ex-wife… oh… that kind of framing...

Paula Henchell(Art instructor)

If you love your painting, use the best frame you can afford and you will not regret it. Otherwise you will soon wonder why you didn't go that extra mile. It's going to cost a whole lot more to reframe it.

Erica Neumann(Art instructor)

Presentation is everything! Show the same painting in crappy frame, then good frame and see what a huge difference a good frame makes! There's framing for the painting, and framing for someone's decor - always try to frame for the piece.

Doug Swinton (Swinton's part owner and janitor) If the painting is busy, frame it in a simple frame. If it's a simple piece you can frame it in a more ornate frame. Also, I’ve noticed dark frames can make colours pop and lighter frames tend to subdue colours.

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