The primary purpose of a frame on an oil or acrylic painting is to focus your attention on the work of art—to create a unified whole that stands alone, separate, and invites undisturbed contemplation. The primary purpose of a frame on a work on paper is to provide structure for the protection and presentation of the piece as well as to enhance its appearance.
To Frame or Not To Frame I’ll let you in on a secret: Not every work of art needs to be framed. For contemporary gallery-wrapped paintings, framing is completely optional. The term gallery wrap refers to canvas wrapped around thick stretcher bars and secured to the back rather than the sides of those bars. This mounting leaves the sides of the canvas smooth, neat and free of visible staples or tacks. Artists using this type of canvas mount often continue the painting around the sides or simply paint the sides a complementary neutral
Which Frame? There are several schools of thought with regard to frame selection—but no hard and fast rules. The preferred thinking is that the work of art, and nothing else, should direct the selection of the frame. Here are some guidelines: ~A painting’s style should suggest the frame style. For example, a period painting or one of classical subject matter is well suited to a timeless, traditional, elegant gold-leafed frame or a handsome walnut or mahogany wood frame. Lighter, ethereal, or more abstract paintings may look best in sleek, less fussy frames. And for paintings that are in-between, there are transitional frames—those that blend elements of the traditional and the contemporary. ~Choose a frame finish that doesn’t compete with the art in color or texture. For example, don’t choose a fussy frame with a mottled finish to go with a busy image. ~Always remember that framing has no hard and fast rules. Feel free to experiment! A nontraditional painting can look like a million dollars framed in a hefty, ornate and traditional molding, and a very small painting can take on new importance and become a special gem when placed in an oversized frame
Glass Options First and foremost, glass protects works on paper from dust and other pollutants, but it can also serve other important functions: • Regular glass is the type most commonly used. It’s scratch-resistant but breaks easily in transportation and only filters out about half of the damaging ultraviolet (UV) light rays. • Nonglare glass works well on pieces placed directly in front of a window. The drawback is that this glass tends to soften the image and give a slightly fuzzy appearance to the work. It also gives low UV protection. • Conservation glazing is a coating applied to glass that offers 97 percent UV protection. • Museum Glass is the ultimate—so clear and glare-free that you can’t see it at all when you stand in front of a painting. It also provides the best UV protection. This glass is expensive, but worth the price. • Acrylic glazing, also known by the trade name Plexiglas, is much lighter than glass, which makes it a good alternative for large works of art. It’s virtually shatter proof, although it scratches easily. Available in regular and nonglare forms, acrylic provides about 60 percent UV protection. Regular glass cleaners may leave the surface looking foggy.
• Neutral-colored matboards are far more sophisticated and au courantthan any of the many colors available. • It’s best to avoid snow-white matting, which tends to be dazzling and, thus,distracting. • If you want to introduce color, consider doublematting. The colored mat should be placed beneath the neutral mat, and the windows of the two mats should be cut so only about ¼ inch of color is revealed • The mat and frame should not be of equal widths. Preferably, the matting should be wider than the frame (image F, right). If frame and mat are the same size (and this applies to the frame and linen liner of an oil painting as well), the eye tends to visualize stripes around the work. • Generally, weighted matting is preferred. This means that the bottom of the mat is deeper than the sides and top. Weighting, even when it’s subtle, provides visual balance when the framed piece is hung on a wall Source: http://www.artistsnetwork.com/articles/art-demos-techniques/how-to-choose-the-best-frame-to-present-and-protect-your-artwork
Matt Tips: Never let the glass touch your artwork! Glass is the number one cause of damage to art. Matting is not only for enhancing your work it's used to protect it from the glass. The mat creates a physical and air barrier between the art and the glass which will help protect the art piece from condensation that can occur behind the glass due to temperature changes. This moisture can cause damage by discoloration, buckling and it can serve as a breeding ground for mold, mildew and fungi.
There are several aesthetic reasons for matting art. It creates a field around the art to bring out it's colors and to draw the eye in. It adds drama to the presentation. It highlights a color, accents a shape and increases the overall size of the framed piece. It helps shape the presence of the piece. For example, a black mat has the effect of lightening and enlarging the art work. A white mat will darken and shrink the image.
A rule of thumb to consider when planning a mat for your art is never use a mat lighter, brighter or darker than the lightest, brightest or darkest color of your art piece. And never use a "foreign" color. A foreign color is a color that is NOT in the art piece.
"Poor presentation can make great art look terrible. Good presentation can make terrible art look great." ________________________________________ • All artwork should be presented in a simple, professional manner. Consider yourself a professional and treat your artwork with respect. Always use the best materials. • Whenever possible use archival materials in making and presenting your artwork. Common materials such as paper, cardboard and tape contain acid that will cause gradual yellowing, fading and deterioration. By using neutral-PH materials, you can help preserve your art for future generations of art lovers to collect and enjoy. • The finished presentation – front, back, top and bottom - is part of the whole work. It should appear to be new and well crafted, not battered and shop worn or flimsy or fragile. Paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, other similar two-dimensional pieces • All work must be presented ready-to-hang, preferably with a wire attached to the frame between one-third and one-quarter of the way down the sides of the piece. Stainless steel braided picture wire works best for smooth hanging and deters rusting. Always tape the ends. • Do not use sawtooth hangers. They are not strong enough to support the weight of a frame safely. • Frame molding varies greatly in style and quality. Avoid over powering the art with brighter, bolder, or busier framing materials that distract from it visually and look amateurish, cheap, or out-of-place. • Some grand masterpieces are well suited to hand-carved gold frames; all other pieces look best in modest real wood or metal frame moldings with clean lines and black, neutral, or natural wood finishes. • Do not use "snap on" frames, corner-clips with glass or “easel” frames designed for tabletop use. • Photographs and all two-dimensional work on paper should be matted with neutral tones (white, gray or black) and covered with clean, scratch-free glass or Plexiglas. • Matting serves to separate the art from the glazing, but it also isolates it for viewing. The artwork should stand alone without being enhanced or abated by the mat and frame. • Mat size should be appropriate to the piece. A wide mat is better; it expands the work and makes it appear larger. Narrow boarders visually reduce the artwork and look cheap. A three to four-inch mat with an extra half-inch on the bottom gives a nice visual feel to a finished piece. But, do not use extra wide mats just to make a piece fit in a standard size frame. • Float-mounting the artwork over the mat, so that the edges are seen, is an option when an artwork has a deckle edge or is constructed with handmade paper. A spacer within the frame should be used to keep the art from touching the glazing. • A stretched canvas requires no glazing because the canvas needs to breathe. The frame may be backed with a dust cover and/or moisture barrier, but this must be perforated to allow air to circulate. • Large oils or acrylics on heavy-duty stretchers with a gallery wrap do not need to be framed. The canvas should be stapled on the back and the edge should be painted. Source: http://www.onlineartcenter.com/framing.html