Framing Your Work

Framing your painting can make a difference to how you will ultimately feel about your work.   After yesterday’s post about the lillies I painted, I decided to put them in frames to see if I would like them better as I wasn’t really 100% satisfied with them.


This frame will take a full A4 size sheet of paper.  The smaller cut out area in the mat is great for this particular painting as I thought there was too much white space on the left hand side of it.  I ended up trimming off about an inch of the painting to fit the matting.  I have been buying inexpensive black frames from one particular shop.  I prefer the next size up as the opening in the mat is larger and perfect for an A4 size painting with/or without a border.  Unfortunately, I need to purchase some more and so have not been able to try out a frame for the first painting I did this year.  I also have frames that are a bit larger and they are perfect for Imperial size paper (it is between A4 and A3 size).  I haven’t spent more than £10 for a picture frame.  If I were going to be really fussy, I would have all of my picture frames custom made with non-reflective glass.  However, I don’t have that kind of money to spend right now and this way I can easily remove a painting if I no longer like it and want to replace it with something better.  With a custom made frame,  you can’t really do that.

By the way, this isn’t a blog post about how to frame your paintings, as there are already plenty of posts out there by professionals.  This is just a suggestion about putting your picture in a frame to see how it would look.  Sometimes that can make all the difference about whether you decide to keep it as is,  add more to it, or trash it.


Here are a few paintings I made last year.  They are all A4 size and are hanging in my bedroom.  Three of the frames are from Ikea and have the slightly larger opening in the mat that I like.  The frame with the lily has a smaller opening.  I haven be buying black frames with white mats.  Black seems to go with everything and for now it suits me.

In my post on rescued paintings, most of the paintings have brown picture frames.  Natural wood frames were very popular at one time, while now most people prefer black frames.  In any event, the brown frames of the rescued paintings go very well with the natural colors of the landscapes and also suit the decor in my dining room.  Although black frames would look very well here, every one of the rescued paintings was professionally framed and it is not cost effective to change them over to black.  You can also see that different colored mats were used on some of the paintings to complement the subject matter.  No non-reflective glass was used here either, as you can see!


In the mid-90’s I purchased a couple of beach scenes as below.


Back then, when I bought the paintings from the artist, he sent them to the picture framer who decided on the frame.  The central part of the frame was actually a pink color, which went well with the colors in the painting, but I had a local framer tone it down a bit with some white when I moved down here to the seaside 6 years ago.  Sometimes a frame can really date a painting.  I really love this frame now.

So, if you are really unsure about one of your paintings, stick it in a frame and see how it looks.  You might like it better.

Lillies from Tom


About a week before Christmas when my daughter came down to visit and partake of Christmas Part 1, her boyfriend, Tom, sent along a bouquet of lillies.  They were just buds when she brought them down and this is how they looked about a week later.  The scent was just heavenly.  I took loads of photos thinking I might try and paint them.  I have tried painting them before, but without much success.

Here are two I have recently completed and are the first for 2016.


The one above was the first one.  It took me a lot of time as I made a composite of three different flowers (from 3 different photos!).  I wanted to show a bud, a partially opened flower and a fully opened flower to fill up the page.  The background did me in at first.  It was so vibrant that you could barely see where the flowers were.  I ended up toning the background down with Indanthrene Blue (2x).  Although I am not 100% satisfied with this painting, it is growing on me. The flowers were painted with Alizarin Crimson and Winsor Violet.  The leaves were a mix of Sap Green and Winsor Blue.  All by Winsor & Newton.IMG_2128

Because I wasn’t crazy about my first attempt, I decided to simplify things and only paint one lily.  I used Alizarin Crimson and Cadimium Red for the petals and Lemon Yellow and Winsor Blue for the leaves.  I didn’t do anything fancy, just wet the paper and applied wet paint.  I used the same Indanthrene Blue for the background to start with, but it didn’t bleed out enough into the paper, so I added Prussian Blue to the mix to darken some areas and tried to tease the paint out with a wet brush.  There was a lot of white on the left hand side of the paper and so I did a bit of spattering with a combination of Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna to simulate pollen and I splattered the blue mix and gave it a little spritz of water.

So now I have two completely different paintings.  What do you think?  I might have to put them in frames to get a better idea of which to keep.  I also used a new paper for me this time too!  It is called The Langton, 140lb, not, by Daler Rowney.  It is on a pad usually used for plein air painting, but as my painting area was being renovated and space was tight I thought I would try it out.  The paper is in a block and glued on 4 sides.  There was minimal cockling.  Not sure I would use this regularly, but for traveling and painting outdoors I think it would be great.

So there we are, the first of (hopefully) many paintings for 2016!  Thanks Tom!