HOW TO SELECT A FRAME FOR YOUR ARTWORK
To frame, or not to frame? This is a question that comes up frequently with our clients here at Laasya Art, usually after they have purchased a painting and are preparing to hang it in their home. Many clients assume that framing is essential, but this is not always the case. In fact, there are many instances in which a painting would be better off without a frame.
If you are debating whether or not to frame your newest piece, here are a few of my tried-and-true tips for framing artwork:
- First, framing is optional — you do not always have to frame! The only exception is works on paper, such as drawings or limited edition screen prints. Works on paper must always be framed to properly protect them from warping and discoloration.
- For paintings, if the sides of the canvas have not been painted, I would recommend adding a frame. If the sides have been painted, however, a frame is not a necessity but more of a stylistic choice.
- If the overall aesthetic of your home is detailed and ornate, a frame can help the painting fit in with the existing furniture and decor. On the other hand, if the overall vibe of your home is more modern with strong, clean lines, you may want to stay away from adding a frame and maintain a more minimalistic look. You can first hang the painting without a frame and see how that looks, if you feel unsure that a frame would complement both the artwork and your home.
- If the painting is on the smaller side, a frame can help the work make a bigger visual impact. This is a particularly useful trick for clients who want the painting to fill a certain wall or space.
- If a painting has a very elaborate image or texture — multiple mediums, intricate handwork, or a mix of vibrant colors — I often recommend to leave it unframed, as the frame will add yet another layer of complexity. If you do want to add a frame, I recommend keeping it simple with a ‘floating’ frame in a solid color.
- When choosing a frame, it is important to remember that the painting is the primary story. The frame’s role is to enhance the painting while remaining in the background so to speak — the two should never compete for attention.
At Laasya Art, we specifically ask our artists to paint the sides of their canvas paintings so that each client has the option of framing or not, thereby resulting in considerable cost savings as frames can be expensive. If our clients do choose to frame their new artwork, we are happy to help with this process by referring them to trusted professionals.
As mentioned above, however, serigraphs (or fine art prints) need to be framed as they are works on paper. A frame, with either plexi or glass, is essential to properly protect the work. Here are some tips on specifically framing prints:
- There are 3 options with plexi: glare, non-glare and museum plexi, with glare being the cheapest and museum plexi being the most expensive. Regular plexi (with glare) offers much better clarity than non-glare plexi. Museum plexi offers the best by way of clarity, weight and safety.
- Glass can also be used, instead of plexi, and offers very good clarity. It is heavier, however, and there is risk of breaking into pieces and damaging the work itself if the frame falls. Plexi is overall lighter and safer than glass.
- With prints, it is best to select a clean, simple smart-looking frame like the black wood in the image above.
- With signed prints, where the signature is on the front of the paper, the matting should leave both the edition number and artist signature visible.
If you have more questions about living with art in the home, check out our best tips on art care, or explore our collection of traditional and contemporary Indian art for sale to browse or buy online.
— Sonia Nayyar Patwardhan