MAT OR NO MAT?
Like choosing a molding, matting a painting is a personal preference.
Watercolors and drawings usually benefit by the visual weight of a mat. Oils and acrylics are "heavier" artworks, and thus are generally framed without a mat.
A Lindy Severns original pastel also stands on its own. A color-rich pastel original is visually heavy, like an oil painting, and looks better without the distraction of a mat. A mat also significantly increases the size (and therefore, the cost) of framing.
We DO mat Lindy's fine art prints. Matting is an inexpensive way to add color accents an/or size to wall art. Matting an unframed fine art print also protects the artwork until it is framed. We mat Lindy's hand-repainted prints in acid-free ivory mat board because it is both elegant and generic. Many collectors choose to replace the ivory mat with colored mats that bring out the colors in the painting that match their decor.
PROFESSIONAL CUSTOM FRAMING GIVES YOU ELEGANT, PERSONALIZED OPTIONS
FRAME TO COMPLEMENT YOUR ART, NOT TO COMPETE WITH IT
A mat keeps an original pastel painting from touching the glazing, which would rub pastel dust onto the inside surface. For original pastel paintings that are not matted, another type of physical separation is required.
Acid-free acrylic SPACERS, thin transparent strips are glued to the inner glazing to create an invisible airspace between the painting and the glazing. Professional framers use these on soft pastel paintings.
Artists can order spacer strips online from art or framing suppliers. As a DIY alternative, you can cut 1/8" strips of acid-free mat board and glue them to the inside of your glazing. Not being transparent, your strips will show slightly from some viewing angles, but it is better than pressing your original pastel against the glass.
Affordable and unique, these hand-repainted Lindy Severns Fine Art Prints are matted in acid-free materials to fit readymade frames.
STANDING GUARD, a 12" x 18" enhanced print by Lindy Cook Severns is matted in acid-free mat board, then framed under museum grade acrylic.
Notice the reflection from the room's lights.
This is an affordable fine art print. Budgeting dictated using the less expensive glazing option, and enjoyment of this painting is not significantly diminished by the slight reflection. Had this been an original pastel the same size, museum glass would've better complemented the collector's investment in fine art.
ARTIST DIY FRAMING TIPS
Find a good online frame supplier and stick with them. Look for one that offers custom sizes and mats. Loyalty pays off.
Invest $50-$75 in a point driver. Being able to effortlessly secure artwork into a frame will change your life.
When selecting molding on your own, go simple. Consider using one or two moldings in a few standard sizes on all the work you self-frame. (Since you now own a point driver, you can easily changes paintings in and out of your frames.)
Use acid-free foam board to back your art. Too costly? Use regular foam board, but never corrugated cardboard or poster board. Use double stick framer's tape and framer's paper or heavy Kraft paper to neatly cover the back. (Grocery bags patched onto the backside of your frame really don't add value to your art!)
Don't cut your own mats unless you're a pro. Mats are the least expensive part of framing, but a ragged mat can instantly lower the value of art. Painting in standard sizes allows you to economically purchase mats cut in those sizes.
You can order self-sticking spacer strips from Dakota Art Pastels or from ArtSpacers.com.
Wrap sharp strands of wire so they don't prick your collector's fingers. Practice installing wire so it hangs neatly.
Cream shoe polish will conceal most chips and scratches on molding.
PLAIN GLASS WITH UV PROTECTION
Bare bones economy dictates using plain, clear glass as a glazing material. But do choose glass with UV Protection. The cost difference for UV protection is negligible.
Non-Glare Glass isn't clear, and it isn't the same thing as Non-Reflective. It might possibly work for a watercolor, but non-glare glazing will make a pastel look fuzzy and lifeless. Viewing a painting through non-glare glass is like looking through a dirty window. It is also more expensive than plain, clear glass.
FINE ART GRADE UV PROTECTIVE ACRYLIC
Smaller paintings and miniature art are not subject to glare and reflection as much as larger paintings. Museum-grade Acrylic can be an attractive, affordable glazing option for small art.
Acrylic is lighter and significantly less expensive than museum glass. It is also shatter-restistant.
Museum grade framing acrylic is less prone to scratches and static buildup than the lower grades, and is nothing like those awful first-generation acrylic surfaces of years past.
What is "small"? I don't use acrylic on artwork larger than 12" x 16". Art measuring 8" x 10" and smaller is optimal for acrylic glazing.
A WELCOME DRENCHING
by Lindy Cook Severns
This 16" x 12" pastel is custom framed under non-reflective museum glass.
The gold fillet and wide, distressed molding in the same warm earth colors as the landscape hold this painting in without overwhelming it.
AN UNTOLD STORY
by Lindy C Severns
This 7" x 14" pastel miniature benefits from this simple but deeply contoured wide molding and museum glass.
Jim Severns once had a T-shirt that read: If I'd Known I Was Going to Live This Long, I Would've Taken Better Care of My Body. Take care of your art.
If you're an artist, give every painting the chance to become someone's most treasured possession. Think "quality". Assume your creations will Live Long and Give Great Joy.
If you're a colllector, framing is a very small part of your investment in fine art. Give the art you love and see every day the very best.
A WORTHY CLIMB
48" x 36" pastel by Lindy Cook Severns
This very large pastel painting was custom framed under non-reflective Museum Glass, which keeps the original pastel from becoming a mirror, even in this flash photo.
The wide molding elegantly echoes the colors in the painting, without competing with it. A good framer will help you choose the perfect molding for your art. Find one you trust and stick with them.
TruVue Museum Glass glazing virtually disappears over a painting. It is non-reflective and the ultimate choice for viewing, as well as for protecting art from damaging UV rays.
Museum Glass is relatively expensive, but especially on large original pastels or watercolors, museum glass is well worth the cost versus using regular glass or acrylic. Use it when you can.
Clean Museum Glass using a soft rag. Chemical sprays can damage the special coating.
BREAKING THE DROUGHT 10" x 22" plein air pastel by Lindy Cook Severns custom, conservation framed under non-reflective museum glass
Framing by Ramon Gonzales, Midland Framing & Fine Arts, Midland Texas.
"Glazing" is what covers the painted image and thus, protects it and seals it in its frame. Oils and acrylics don't need to be framed under glazing, while pastels, watercolors and drawings do.
GLASS is the most commonly used form of Glazing. ACRYLIC offers a shatter-resistant and lighter weight option to glass.
Both Glass and Acrylic come in several framing grades, and the choice of glazing can dramatically change the cost of framing.
While it's true that you get what you pay for, glazing is a place to cut framing costs. But depending on the size of the original painting and on where it will hang, you may be better off choosing a less expensive molding and springing for premium glazing such as non-reflective Museum Glass. Framing lasts generations. Do it right!
FRAMING FINE ART