How To Choose The Best Frame For Your Artwork
Framing your artwork has the same importance as creating or buying it. It’s a complete process that when done perfectly, the two elements form a single seamless and beautiful object which speaks louder than the sum of its parts. Indeed, many of the most legendary names in the art world took great care in choosing a frame for their work, with late British painter Howard Hodgkin pointing out that the frame is “where the picture stops and the world begins”.
Of course, the frame you end up settling on will always depend on the artwork itself, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. We cannot say that all classical oil paintings must be framed in an ornate frame, or that all black and white photography should be in a typical black frame — it is a lot more subtle than that. We offer a range of frames to choose from, ensuring that all forms of artwork and prints have the frame to match. But with such a choice available, we understand that it can be hard to know where to start. Read on for our guide on finding the right frame for your work.
What factors should I consider when choosing a frame?
There are two general rules of thumb to remember when deciding which kind of frame to use for any particular artwork. The first is to pick a frame for the piece, not the room in which it is going to be hung. This will help you ensure that your artwork looks stunning, no matter where it is displayed — after all, if you choose to change the room it’s in, or even move house, you won’t have to recreate the old room’s design for your framed art to look great.
The second is that the frame should enhance the art, so that both art and frame become, as mentioned, a single entity. This means that the frame must neither overshadow the art, nor diminish it, which is harder to do than it sounds. A cheap, poorly matched frame may get as much attention from visitors as a flashy over-the-top frame. That said, even following these two rules allows for some great leeway in the types of frame that can work with a particular piece, and your choice will ultimately depend on your personal taste. However, there are a couple of other considerations which could make your decision easier:
As an artist, you’ll know better than most which frame colours will help bring out the elements of your artwork that you want viewers to notice — a no-frills black frame may be gallery standard, but it’s not going to be for everyone.
Frames can be made from a range of materials, principally wood and aluminium. Aluminium is coated either with paint or anodised to protect them from corrosion. Wooden frames, however, are often finished with a selection of waxes and oils which both enhance the grain and defend them from atmospheric pollutants.
You may not think of it, but the size of your artwork will go some ways to dictating what type of frame you need. There is a full spectrum of frame dimensions to choose from and this will partially be determined by the framing style you opt for. Artists who produce smaller-sized works, either photographs, screenprints, or original works in oil or acrylic, often prefer to mount their work in larger, more elaborate frames. While bigger works can be best served by more slender frame profiles.
Should I mount my artwork?
Mounting is simply the addition of another layer around the edges of your work before it is framed. It isn’t strictly a requirement when framing your picture, but it does give your art a little more room to breathe when it’s being exhibited, helping it to be seen as its own creative ecosystem. Works on canvas are often framed without glass to better appreciate the texture and pigments. These can either be framed in conventional profiles, in canvas, or tray floater frames.
At Soho Frames, we offer a variety of woods for picture frames, including walnut, oak, cherry, tulip (poplar), and beech, finished in a number of methods to suit any artwork. We can also advise you on the right materials and mounting style, such as whether or not you should put your paintings under glass. If you’re looking for a luxury design befitting a classically-styled landscape, or something sleek and contemporary for a modern masterpiece, you’re sure to find something that works for your art.