Choosing the Perfect Frame for Your Art

13th Feb 2017

More than just providing structural support, a picture frame can enhance a piece, helping to set the mood, giving the artwork some context and additional dimension. As an artist, you may find it more profitable to have your pieces framed before selling it. The right choice of frame can even help justify your asking price for your work.

At InLine Ovals, we offer professionals a wide range of wood picture frames in a variety of finishes, designs, colors, shapes and sizes to address your framing needs. However, the number of choices can actually be a problem, so we have come up with the following tips to help you make your picture framing decision.

  • Choose a frame that fits your work. What kind of art genre do you want to be known for? What mood or “look” do your pieces evoke? Are these modern pieces with pops of color, are these landscapes, still lifes, artistic photos or charcoal portraits? Your choice of frame will depend on how well it complements your work. Ornate antique oval picture frames, as well as gold or gilt rectangular ones, are perfect for hand painted portraits. For contemporary pieces, a simple and slim black frame can be the suitable option. Meanwhile, you can add to the eclectic feel of your work by going for whimsically bright-colored frames.
  • Consider the size of the piece. A large piece calls for a simple frame. This enables the piece to shine even more. However, choose a frame with sufficient thickness so that you know that the frame can sufficiently support and provide structure to the piece. For smaller pieces, you can use a thinner frame so as not to overwhelm the piece. Now, if you want to use a large frame on a small art piece, you can add wide matting to the work to give it more emphasis.
  • Take note of the unique needs of your work. Charcoal drawings, watercolors and other pieces that are paper-based need additional support since the paper can crease, get wet or smudged or even get torn apart. Thus, paper-based pieces need to be mounted to prevent creasing or stretching. You also need to incorporate archival materials and conservation methods in your choice of frames.
  • Consider tone and color. Is the overall tone of the work “warm” or “cool”? Cool tones are mainly composed of greens, blues and light violets. Warm tones are autumn colors – browns, reds and oranges. For cool tones, choose frames with a light, natural finish or glossy gold finishes. Meanwhile, for warm tones, choose frames with dark natural wood finishes, as well as burnished gold finishes.
  • Choose a frame that adds contrast with the piece. Remember, the work is the primary focus, not the frame. Thus, the picture frame should serve the piece and not the other way around. The picture frame should provide enough contrast in that it should not have a too-similar color to the work. This means picking a hue that complements the predominant color of the work instead of something identical. For contrast, the frame’s color should be a bit lighter than the work’s darkest color. If there is matting included, the matting should be lighter than the frame.
  • Do some experimenting. Often, you really can’t be sure of how well a frame fits until you see it together. To give you some idea, you can play around with color samples. InLine Ovals provides sample frame corners or arches that you can use to see the interaction between the work and the frame.