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To Frame or Not to Frame? That is the question!

So, once you’re completed a painting that your pleased with, or purchased a painting at a gallery or show which is unframed, the next step is to decide to frame it (or not) and get it on your wall!  Here’s some framing tips from my perspective as an artist and former gallery owner!

A Guide to Why it’s Framed…or Not

We’ve all been there.  We find a great little piece and think “I love it, but I don’t love the frame.”  The Gallery owner may say, “No Problem..I’ll take it out”  or…No Can Do.”  Why?  What’s the difference and what can you do about it? (This custom frame job would make me reluctant to unframe!)

First, “why can’t I buy that without the frame?”.  I’ve heard the question enough, I know a good percentage of you ask.  Most of the time, the answer is simple.  In many cases, shipping or packing a piece of work without framing may significantly increase the likelihood of damage to the piece.  Take a pastel, oil pastel, or traditional watercolor, and taking the piece out of the frame, and in this case, the glass, put’s the piece at risk.  Pastel is loosely affixed to it’s media, usually an archival “sanded” paper.  It is framed substantially away from the glass and the mat.  This is done to prevent static electricity from pulling pastel from the paper and sticking it to the mat and glass.  Taking it out of its frame requires great care in packing and shipping (read: $$).  Not that it can’t be done….just that it takes much more care in packing.  Similarly, oil pastel works on paper require framing behind glass, because they never really dry. Shipping without adequate protection increases the likelihood of smudging. Traditional watercolor (on paper) is susceptible to damage from moisture and scratching.

That said, there are still ways to avoid the dangers and get the frame job you love.  The first possibility is to take the whole piece to your favorite framer and have it unframed, and re-framed by a professional. Why go to that expense?  If your piece is not a “stock” size, then cutting mats, mounting, spacing and framing can make the most prolific artist shudder.  If, on the other hand, your piece is a “standard” or “stock” size, it may be as simple as picking up a pre-cut mat and frame from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. So, what is a stock size?  4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 9 x 12, 11 x 14, 12 x 16, 16 x 20, 18 x 24 (all in inches) are standard stock sizes for most pre-made frames, many pre-made mats and many pre-packaged paks of glass and foam core.

If your original is 15 1/2 x 22 (a standard 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper) or other non-stock size, you may find it difficult to do it yourself.  The warehouse stores (like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s) are often a less expensive option, though they won’t offer as wide a range of high quality framing options as most professional frame shops.  In the early days I seldom framed my own work. I said, “I’m the professional at painting.  Let the framing professional do the framing.”  I tended to wind up with bloody fingers and great stress. Now, though if I need a frame, which I mostly don’t,  I use www.pictureframes.com where I can upload an image of my piece and test it with different mat colors/styles and frames.  They cut everything to my specifications and ship it to me. They use good quality acrylic in lieu of glass which is helpful in keeping the overall weight down. Just don’t clean it with Windex…it will scratch the surface.  You can pick up a good “plastic cleaner” from Walmart or just about any grocery store. It is actually quite affordable, and as long as you got your measurements right, it is even easy to put together!

What about those new watercolors on canvas or panel? Those oils and acrylics on canvas…all with painted edges, unframed?  They are actually suitable as they are..and often hang that way in galleries and homes, and museums.  Unframed canvases don’t work in your decor?  Ask your frame shop about “floating Canvas frames”.  These frames, are as high quality as any other wood moulding, will “float” the canvas in the frame, allowing those painted edges to be seen while giving a more traditional look to the piece.  More and more artists are moving to the canvas or panels with new canvas being “watercolor ready”.  I love it.  I love that the canvas or panels can take layers and layers of watercolor, that I can finish it with protective, invisible, non yellowing varnish, and that there is no glass or frame necessarily required, saving me and my customer LOTS OF MONEY!  If I can save $200-$400 in framing, just think what you save when you buy it!  Plus, remember those standard sizes above?  Most stock canvases are in those sizes as well.  It’s not until you get into large, custom stretched canvas or custom ordered panels that you get outside those sizes. And most of those are sold unframed, with painted edges.

So…next time you feel prompted to ask about that frame, consider this article..What is the medium?  Are you shipping it?  Can you get it safely home? But by all means, ask.  I’ll answer your questions and help you choose the best course.

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Old blog, new blog

Hey.

It’s taken awhile, and this is a test. I moved my old blog (gallerygerl.blogspot.com) to my new online home here.  I’m testing the RSS feed, to ensure it updates, so please let me know if you get this.  Thanks!

 

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Just some thoughts about Collecting Art

I was tossing around thoughts about art collection. I’ve been working with a local customer to bring his collection more to his taste, which included hanging work that had been sitting in a closet, recommending new acquisitions to fit the new “theme”, moving work around the various rooms and doing repairs and re-framing on work that had been damaged one way or another.  It made me aware that some who buy the art they love (the right thing to do, by the way) may have no idea how to take care of it, how to light it and how to find the perfect spot in which to hang it.  So, that brings me to this post.  Let’s tackle them one at a time.

Imagine you’re browsing a gallery, or an art show, or even better, an artist’s studio, and you see something that just grabs you.  You force yourself to look around, keenly aware that the artist or gallery director has caught your gazing and is eager to help you make a purchase.   Maybe you even leave, but once you’re home you find yourself scouring your walls, looking for an available space and calculating if the piece you can’t get out of your head, would fit.  Are the colors right?  Does the style work?  Do I need to call an interior decorator?

As an artist myself, gallery owner past and online gallery owner present, I would say first..if you love it, don’t let it go.  Art is subjective and when you find something you can’t take your eyes off of, I would suggest you find a way to buy it.  Most any artist or gallery owner will work with you take that baby home.  There is little more motivating to an artist than seeing his or her work go out the door with a happy customer.

So, now you have it ….what next?  Look around and don’t match it to the furniture.  Match it to what you want to look at.  Personally, my favorite piece is hanging on the wall above my television.  Right where I can gaze at it when I want to, and I do, often.  It is soothing to me. I don’t care if the wall behind is red and the dominant colors in it are yellow.  In fact, it works very well.  Its funny how that happens.  Put the art where you can smile at it, and I’m convinced, it will smile back at you.  It’s an energy thing.  So now it’s on the wall, you look around and say, ” It was so much brighter in the gallery”. Likely so, It’s all in the lighting.  Some stores sell “Painting lights” that hang above the piece.  They can be okay, but it’s not ideal.  First, lighting it from above lights the top 1/3 or less, plus the design of the frame may cast a shadow.  Not to mention how to deal the cord that now hangs behind the painting and dangles below it and how do you deal with that?  The better way is via the use of a short track or single can unit that will allow you direct light from in front of the work, from the ceiling, angled down and toward the center of the work.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, but the better it’s lit, the more it will stand out, unless the room it is in is already bright and light.

Finaly, there are the care issues.  Today, many works on canvas are not framed, and that’s ok if they are “gallery wrap”, which means the canvas wraps around a stretcher that is at least 1 1/2 inches deep, and those edges are painted. Ideally, the painting goes around all edges of the canvas.  Thinner canvases should be framed, and all works on paper, such as watercolor or pastel should be framed and behind glass or acrylic.  The new acrylic is in some ways preferable, as it is so much lighter, and large works puts way less stress on the wire and the hook it’s hanging on.  However, know the difference.  Never use glass cleaner, like Windex on acrylic…it will scratch it.  Instead opt for an acrylic or plastic cleaner which can be purchased at most any retailer, even Walmart.  Next, don’t hang a painting on or near the chimney of a fireplace.  Heat and soot rise…and you’ll soon find clouding on the glass, or worse, ash on the canvas.  Also be careful with excess moisture.  Excess moisture, such as in a bathroom, can get behind glass which is dangerous for pastel or watercolor, though both are permanent pigments.  Most watercolor today is as durable as acrylic, but there can be damage depending on the paper used and the amount of moisture it is exposed to.  Traditional papers, such as Arches Watercolor Paper are very durable and light fast, but too much water can still make a mess.  Best practice says don’t hang watercolor in the bathroom.  Further, contemporary papers that are fun to paint on, such as Yupo paper must not be exposed to moisture.  The painting can literally wash away!  If you buy a watercolor or pastel unframed, take it to a frame shop for proper preservation and don’t simply pick up a ready made frame/glass kit at Hobby Lobby.  Suitable for a poster, yes, but not an original work on paper.

Once your new treasure is safely on the wall, you will want to occasionally clean the glass or acrylic.  If it is an unframed oil or acrylic look at it closely to ensure dust is not collecting on any “textured” areas.  They can be gently wiped with a soft brush.  If ash is present, take it to your frame shop for cleaning.

The best idea is to ask when you’re buying…How do I take care of this?  Anyone who knows the business of art, should be easily able to tell you.  I used to sell some wood sculpture that came with a 10 page manual for care and cleaning.  The work artists create comes straight from the core of their being.  We love to send it to happy homes, and we love even more, that those customers love it for the rest of their life.  I hope this is helpful. Feel free to ask questions.

 

 

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Intentions are not enough

Clearly, intentions are not enough.  Look at the last post, written in January.  Now we are at the end of July, and this is the first time since then that I even opened a Blogger window.  Despite my intention to post every Sunday, I didn’t even manage once a month!  Egad! 

Honestly, I’ve been trying to figure out how to make this connect to my regular wordpress site,  where I do seem more regular at posting, than I have here.  That technology seems to elude and confuse me, but I’ll keep looking, so that writing in one place would be enough! 

As I’m sure you know, life just keeps going, whether or not we are keeping up!  Keeping up with the rest of my life usually (apparently) takes most of my attention.  But this afternoon, I’m sitting in an apartment in New York City, the hum of the City, quieted by the headphones and music in my ears.  It’s our last day here.  We’ve been here a week.  Husband was teaching a class and I mostly played.  I did do 3 small scratchbord works, but only when it was hot or raining outside.  Otherwise I was walking and walking.  I discovered that many of my favorite stores are still closed for remodeling, or closed or moved, as a result of that terrible hurricane called Sandy. Sad.  On the other hand many got together and made new spaces in unconventional ways, like using box cars!  You know, the ones that go from rail road to semi truck for shipping?  Instead shipping they are now providing shopping!  Gotta respect the tenacity and commitment that demonstrates.

Anyhoo, I was sitting here thinking, “what should I do?  too hot to go out.  need to finish packing but husband is napping.  I could read, and I probably will.  I already packed my scratchbord stuff, so unless I dare to disturb the sleeping one, I guess I’ll wait on that.  Then I clicked through from Facebook to a friend’s blogpost and after reading that, thought…hmmm. blog.  I came through to mine and saw that January date and groaned.  ugh,  Really?  I haven’t written there since January?  Not that this post in meaningful by any means.  Stream of consciousness really.  Well, consciousness is the point, right? 

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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What’s kept me busy since January? Writing!

Yes, writing.  But obviously, I wasn’t writing here!  OOPS!  I was busy writing and publishing my first book. Ok, so I already had a DVD by the same name, but I updated it and improved it.  First, it came out in e-course/e-book format.  And now, (as of this week) it is available in paperback.  All of the above are on Amazon.com and you can follow the links above, or just head to Amazon (when you’re done here, of course) and search for “How to Paint a Poppy that POPS!”.  That’s will show you all three. At any rate, that kept me busy for two months of writing/editing, cleaning up text and links etc.  Then it was time for the icky stuff (taxes) that had to be done. At any rate, I’m back to working here again, and will hope to post more new work within two weeks or so, so check back when you can.  In the mean time, Start hunting for places to hang new work on your walls, or surprise you’re sweetheart with some beautiful and unique jewelry…that’s coming next.  Jewelry.  Till then, follow us on Facebook to get short notice specials that are not  advertised elsewhere.  And, we’ll see you soon back here.  Be sure to call me if you’re headed to Angel Fire,,,set an appointment to view available works or to take a class…yup, still doing that too! 🙂  Happy Spring!   If you’re still buried in snow, take heart, Spring is just around the corner. At least, I HOPE it is! 🙂

 

 

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Sunday, October 5 and Reflecting (

Wow. Can’t believe it’s Sunday already…and already October 5th. I’m shaking my head, can you see it? I lean back, head against the chair. Partly exhausted, partly refreshed. I just laid my brush down. Drying time required. My eyelids are heavy..from lack of sleep and intense activity.

The conference was good…part of me regretting that I was there. First the Grace debacle (described below) then the endless “I should be……” stuff. At any rate I did finally relax into the rhythm of the conference. Met some great people, had good conversations and found myself pulled outside the normal context of Angel Fire. That was good. Back now and contemplating how to be a catalyst for creative tourism. We’re so much on the cusp of so much! There is so much inertia to overcome! At this juncture I don’t even know if I have the energy to pull it off anymore….but it’s likely I’ll find it. I can’t imagine not.

Forecast for today was snow…and while it’s 53 degress as I type, Wheeler peak is dusted white. Here it comes…slow or fast is anyone’s guess. And so much yet to do. ack. skip that thought. It’ll just depress me.

So, back now to encaustic (mentioned in the last post). If you haven’t googled it yet, it’s basically painting with pigment infused into melted wax. Way fun. Toxic though, so make sure you have good ventilation and a mask if you’re going to try it. I’m still digesting the process (not literally, of course) and will likely revisit the topic, but for now it’s back to watercolor and my soothing stress relief with a brush. The camera is in the truck, and I’m frankly too lazy to go get it and set it up, so no video right now.

So quiet here. it’s type, nap or paint. hmmm. think I’ll paint.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Schefren’s New Launch…48 hours and counting down!

Be sure to read my post “Rich Schefren (My Mentor) Does It Again!” just below. I’ve gone through the new report three times now and every time it blows me away again. Let’s see, is it Constraint #3? or #4? or#7? Which is stumbling me the most? Or is it all of the above? Good Grief! Get it here and see for yourself. This is HUGE!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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The Violin…again

It was here, but for a moment. People came in just to see the violins. People in the gallery took pause in front of them, asking questions, when will they be auctioned? How will that work?
Then yesterday they came and took them. For where, I don’t know. I hope they’ll be on display somewhere. The live auction is not until the 31st…people want to see them. Oh well, they didn’t ask me. At any rate, here is mine:

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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