Posts Tagged ‘framing’

In Part 2, we will explore getting the air space depth we need to prevent oil pastel transfer, from the painting to the glass, by using a wooden framing liner. This is my favored way to frame oil pastels. I like the simplicity, and it gives them the look of a oil painting. Also by framing in this way, it keeps my larger size paintings, from getting even larger (and heavier) because of the additional size and weight of the matting.

Add A Barrier To The Liner

Shows a lined and unlined section of framing linerI always line the liner. (Hmmm, I wonder if there was a better way to say that?) I generally use a 4 ply rag barrier board, or occasionally 2 ply. This prevents the artwork from coming into contact, and being damaged by, the wood of the liner.

In this photo, the liner is face down on the counter to show how it gets lined. I attach the barrier board with 1/4″ ATG, which is essentially a double sided framing tape. A glue would also work, just be sure to allow for proper dry time.

Glazing Placement

Glass sits between liner and frameThe glass is cut to the frame size. It sits between the frame and the liner, well above the artwork. Finish with a barrier board behind the painting and fill with an acid free foamcore board. Then, back off the framing as usual. See How To Frame Oil Pastels – Part 1.

Finished Framing

How the final framing looksA simple classic look. I apologize for the lousy photo. I took it late in the day, when there was tons of glare coming through my front room windows. But you get the idea.

Part 3 will be sometime late next week. (hopefully) I am waiting on my matting for the demo piece to come in.

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Since oil pastel paintings don’t really ever dry, they need some accomodations when it comes to framing. Namely, a deeper air space between the glass and the painting to prevent the transfer of the pastel. I do this primarily in 3 different ways.

  1. Using matting
  2. Using a wooden liner
  3. Floating with a shadowbox

I will cover each way in its own post. Today we’ll start with creating depth using matting.

Creating Depth With Matting

Multiple Mats
Since I tend to work oil pastels by laying in thick coloring, I may use a minimum of a three mats, but most often I go with four. The multiple mats stacked up create the depth needed. This is pretty straight forward, so I won’t elaborate on it. However if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask me.

Spacing Mats Apart
I achieve the depth I need by putting an (acid free) AF spacer in between the matting. This is not one of my paintings, nor is it an oil pastel. I am using the same technique for it, that I would for an oil pastel painting, because it adds a certain drama and interest when framing other items as well.

    Note: This watercolor of a poppy was painted by a friend of mine, Arjes Youngblade. She has graciously allowed me to use her painting in this blog demonstration. Thank you Arjes.

Here is the artwork with bottom mat only, which was cut at 4 3/8 inches.

Here the AF foamcore spacer has been laid in place. It was cut at 3 inches. It needs to be well undercut from the topmost mat, so as not to be visible from any angle. In this instance, the spacer was cut 3/4″ less than the top mat.

Here the top most mat has been added. It was cut at 3 3/4 inches.

And now the frame and the glazing (glass) have been added. Because this project is an original watercolor, I am using Conservation Clear. (If you remember from my post on glazings, only clear glass should be used with anything that has depth to it.)

This is the back of the framing. A dust cover (brown kraft paper) is applied to help seal it from bugs and dust. The wire is set at 1/3 the distance down the frame. Bumpons are applied (the clear little knobbies on the bottom corners. They help to keep it hanging straight on the wall, as well as protect the wall from frame rub marks.) And lastly, a Conservation Clear label is applied to the back to explain the care of the glass.

Here is a cross section view of the layers, In this instance I used a black foamcore spacer to help differentiate it from the surrounding boards.

The layers from the top down are:
glazing (conservation clear)
top mat (C1607 Brite White)
AF foam core spacer
bottom mat (1607 Brite White)
barrier board (2 ply 100% cotton rag board)
AF foamcore backing board

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Framing Your Artwork Part 2

Frame SamplesHere I will provide a very brief overview on the different types of matboard and glazing (glass.) This is not all of the options available.


The purpose of matboard is to provide a decorative enhancement, as well as an airspace between the glass and the artwork. The airspace is important to retard mold growth.

Matboard comes in a variety of types, serving different functions. Matboard can be strictly decorative but eventually damage the artwork: be decorative and not damage the artwork: to actually absorb free radicals and help to preserve the artwork.

There are many companies that make matboard. Two of the more common companies (and the ones I carry) are Crescent and Bainbridge. Visit them for more complete information on the products they make.

Non-conservation grade – is as it sounds. It leaves the factory ph-neutral but almost immediately begins to decay. Acids and off-gasing from this type of matting will cause yellowing in both the matting as well as whatever it is framed with. I have not used this type of matboard in my gallery for over 10 years. Not only for the above reasons, but also because it fades and yellows quite quickly. The way I see it, if you are spending money to frame it, you want it to look the same for a few years at least.

White Core Mat – Have (and maintain) the very white core of the acid free archival matting, but are neither acid free nor archival. Not to be used on anything of value. Again not a matboard type I use.

Alpha Cellulose – Made from wood pulp and has additives which make it acid free. These boards remain archival and can be used to frame anything.

Matboard Samples

100% Cotton Rag – Made from cotton pulp. Is the highest level of quality for Museum Mounting of original work and fine art photography.


All of the glass types here are based on Tru Vue glass company, which is the brand that I and most frame shops carry. There are other types as well as acrylic options but these are the basic choices when it comes to framing your artwork.

Regular Clear blocks 47% UV (Ultra Violet) light. UV light is the main cause for fading and deterioration of artwork.

Regular Non-glare has a frosted etching on one side to cut down on glare but still only blocks 47% UV light. You should be aware that non-glare glazings should not be used in cases where more than 2 mats are used or any kind of deeper spacing occurs between the artwork and glass.

Conservation Clear has a coating on one side which blocks up to 97% UV light. Conservation Reflection Control (Non-glare) is the same as above. It has the frosted etching to cut down on glare but blocks the same amount of UV as Conservation Clear. Again should not be used in deeper air space situations.

Note: Conservation Clear is what I use on all of my original artwork. I am not fond of non-glare glass in general. This is just a personal preference.

AR Glass Reflection-Free offers the clear (unfrosted) glare-free viewing of Museum Glass. It blocks 78% UV light.

Museum Glass Is the best of all worlds. It is so clear and has virtually no glare that it looks like there is no glass at all. This is the most expensive option, but worth the money if you can afford it. It blocks 98% UV light.

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Framing Your Artwork Part 1

A 5 Part Series in 21 Installments
Just kidding. (kinda) When I started working on this concept for a blog post it started as a two part series and just kept growing. So framing Your Artwork will be in 2 posts. And since oil pastels have relatively special needs when it comes to framing, and a few people have been wondering what to do. I will address How To Frame Oil Pastels in the near future.

Proper framing is an important part of selling your artwork. So here are some things to consider when choosing your framing.

Use the best quality framing materials you can afford. I want to start by saying I use only archival and acid free materials when framing my original artwork. You should consider doing this for 2 reasons.

1.Why should a buyer be willing to invest money in your art if you aren’t? I can’t tell you how many times I have seen artists with cheapo framing of garage sale quality, that have their work priced like they think it is something special. If someone is art savvy enough to be willing to shell out big money for your artwork, poor framing may turn them off to buying. Framing quality is a reflection of your professionalism.

In a similar vein, be aware of damaged frames. I do many art fairs every year and the packing and unpacking is really hard on the artwork. I put extra effort in protecting the artwork for traveling, by wrapping each painting in foam and slipping into it’s own box. But if a frame gets beat up, I replace it.

2.Protection of artwork. There are several types of matboard (and glass) out there with various conservation properties. (These will be discussed in depth in part 2.) The framing should provide adequate protection of artwork, not assist in its destruction.

Match your frame style to your artwork style. Choose framing that is stylistically similar to the artwork you are producing. I think this is pretty self-explanatory.

Avoid too much extravagance. Proper framing provides a field in which to view the artwork undistracted. If the framing is too fancy with loads of specialty cuts, patterned matboard or exotic or stylistically inappropriate framing, the viewer may look more at the framing than at the work. However, good framing when done properly, can elevate a mediocre piece of art.

I will occasionally dress up my prints with specialty cuts (fancy cut outs or v-grooves) but I almost never put them on original work. I do use specialty matboards (like suedes or silks) on originals quite often, but I avoid harsh patterns that might distract. A good rule of thumb, if you are spending your time admiring the clever frame job, then its too much.

Always frame to enhance the artwork. I think this is the main difference between how interior decorators choose framing and how artists choose framing. But since you have no idea where the painting is going, or how trends will change in the future. You should choose framing to complement the work, not the current color palette of home decor (unless you get lucky enough that current trends also complement the work.)

Be aware of current trends. Umm, I know this sounds like I have just contradicted myself, but bear with me. The point of this is not to copy what is out there. But being informed of what is popular can only assist you when framing your work for resale. The best way to stay on top of trends is by getting trade magazines like Decor, Art Business News, or Art World News (to name a few.) You can also visit interior design or furniture stores.

Reframe a painting that doesn’t sell. If you have a painting that just isn’t selling you should first evaluate if the artwork is connecting with people. Does the painting in general evoke a positive response from people? Do you have people on the fence about purchasing it, but they just don’t commit?

If not, (however painful this may be to hear) it may be your artwork just isn’t connecting with people. This could be for many reasons other than quality. Like your genre is wrong for your location (are you doing seascapes in South Dakota?) Or perhaps a particular trend has ended. For example I do quite a bit of exotic wildlife, like big cats and zebras and such. We just passed through a hot faze where everyone had a safari room. (See, I told you there was a reason to know what current trends are.) My African wildlife went like hot cakes. That decorating trend has ended. And while I still paint exotics (I painted them before the trend, and will continue to do so.) I can expect the interest in this work to wane, despite the fact that I do them as well or better than before.

But if the painting is getting good attention and still not selling, perhaps you should consider reframing it. (I can hear the frustrated groans already. What! I already spent $$$ framing it the first time and now you want me to do it again!)

Again, I will site myself as an example. As mentioned previously, I do around 15-18 art events each year. The biggest benefit of doing these other than the $$$, is the instant feedback. I can see what thousands of people think of my work (this is not for the faint of heart) in a single day. So if I have a painting that is priced in range with my other work and it appears people respond well to it, or I am selling loads of prints of it, and yet the painting remains unsold. I reframe it and most often raise the price. (Yes, you read that right.) Not only does raising the price recoup your framing cost, but I think much like poor framing can turn off buyers, so can a painting priced too low.

Whenever I have reframed a painting, (and I have done so at least 4 times in the past 3 years.) The painting usually sells within 6 months. Often the very next time I am out. Every painting that I have reframed has sold since doing so.

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