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Matting and Framing
Your work is not finished until it is framed

Much of the information required to learn about the mechanics of matting and framing your work has already been supplied on some very well written sites to which I have linked to below. I have only a few comments to offer in this area in which you can utilize to your advantage.

One might not think the way a work of art is framed makes a big difference but IT DOES. Regardless of how much time and talent you have put into that newly created masterpiece, you can quickly turn it into looking like flee market material with inferior matting and framing. And, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen total crap look actually appealing because of the way the individual framed the piece.

There are many different techniques used to enhance a painting’s appearance. In varied widths from 1/4 of an inch to six inches and in a wide range of imported and domestic woods, composite woods, metal and plastic, there are many styles of framing to choose from. It is important to pick one that won’t overpower or clash with the piece. For example, a highly detailed modern urban landscape would not look as well in a large Old World or renaissance styled frame as an individual portrait would.

Matting is the border that surrounds your art inside the frame. It’s distributed in cotton, leather, suede and specialty papers in hundreds of colors to choose from. There are equally as many decorative techniques such as, double and triple matting, accent lines, hand cutting, French lines, and special corner cuts. The main purpose of matting is to protect the art by separating the glazing from the art so it won’t bond to the artwork causing permanent damage. Migrating acidity from the use of mounting boards, tapes, etc., which allow the transfer of acid to paper, is another serious threat to your art and should be avoided. Around any area that comes in contact with your art, you should use only conservation quality matting made from cotton fiber and which contains no acid or lignin which will damage it.

Of equal importance are the colors used with both the mat and the frame. Find a uniform color scheme within the piece and use colors that complement the painting. Some paintings look better when framed lightly and some actually look impressive without any frame at all. When choosing mats and frames it is important to try to finish your art in a way that the viewers attention is directed into the painting instead of the frame.

There are three main types of glazing. Regular glass, Anti reflective which removes the distorting reflections and UV filtering used to protect your artwork from light exposure damage. Many people wonder about the importance and difference between glass and plexi. I have a tendency to agree about the appearance of quality you get from glass. However, considering the true reason you are covering the work in the first place, glass has become inferior due to the fact that it magnifies UV light into the piece and if it were broken the fragments could cut and permanently damage it. Regardless of your personal tastes, if you take the time required to finish your work properly, you may just pride yourself in the discovery of a new timeless masterpiece.


List of links for Matting & Framing

 Alto’s Articles on Matting and Framing Directory 

  Audubon Guide to Archival Museum Quality Matting and Framing

 Library of Congress Guide to Preservation Matting and Framing

 Graphik Demensions – online frame store 

 Frame Tek, Inc. – spacers and special frame hardware

 Metropolitan Picture Framing – framing advice

 Mary Webster Antique Picture Frames

 Wall Moulding & Associates

 Excel Picture Frames

 The House of Heydenryk 

 Julius Lowy Frame and Restoring Company

 Eli Wilner & Company



 Fine Art Trade Guild

Everyone has talent at 25. The difficulty is to have it at 50.”…… Edgar Degas


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