it’s all about the frame

(Keeping with my political themes.... )

For those of us who paint on canvas,  and then exhibit the work, there’s always a question that needs to be resolved somehow,  after all the fireworks and angsty sessions with a brush in hand.  How to frame or present the work.

I’ve noticed more and more painters going towards working on wood panels that are 1-2 inches deep, and then not framing pieces.   The painting becomes more of an object or three dimensional presence and you can have a nice clean, contemporary looking wooden border around where it meets the wall or in some cases continue the image around the edges.  I’ve done this with some deeper canvases, and if they are large enough it’s fine.

I used to even miter/ build my own 1/2″ x 2″ strip frames.  OK for larger paintings.

But now I’m working on a series of smaller 8×10 paintings that are not deep, and need some context around them to establish more of a presence on a wall.   So……. how to frame them?

I tried one of my first grass paintings in a plein air frame I had on hand.

During the last decade, I’ve seen small works that are framed with a large wide wood frame, sometimes rather gaudy and gold,  and you get the feeling that the frame is sucking all the life out of the painting.  Too much, too obvious, too baroque…..  On the other hand,  they need something!

  I briefly thought about how I could paint or continue the work out onto the frame, (think Howard Hodgkin)

or carve designs into them

… hmm not my skill set, actually.

And being somewhat short on time, I had to decide on a solution that wouldn’t break the bank and look good on all the pieces.  (When I work on a series, I tend towards exploring the same idea, but using different color combinations, because each creates such a unique environment.)

I decided on these from Jerry’s Artarama.

I’ve used them before, but now they come in an all black version .  They’re called floater frames, because the painting sits down in the frame, but has a space around, so you can actually see a bit of the sides. I hit them with an extra coat of black satin spray paint, and we’re good to go.

Nice if your image wraps around.   

8×10 oil 2012 ©Nanci Erskine

This solution allows me to keep the cost of the paintings within a very reasonable range, and if someone has another idea later, they can go for it.

So, how do you frame it?

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About nerskine

I've been a painter for about 30 years. I also draw and make monotypes, linocuts and other prints. I like tangled stuff.
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