Color And Style: Tips For Choosing A Frame To Enhance A Painting Or Photograph

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Choosing the right frame for a painting or photograph can be daunting. You don't want something that will distract from the art itself, of course – but how do you choose something that will complement it? With so many choices for thickness, color, shape, and design, it's not strange to feel overwhelmed.

While there aren't hard-and-fast rules for picking out frames, there is some guidance that you can follow to help you finish happy with your framing job. And for more specific advice, you can always ask for recommendations from a professional business, like It's Worth Framing. Most framing shops would be happy to look at a piece of art and consult with you to pick out the right frame to match it.

Avoid Using The Dominant Color

If the main color in a painting is blue, then blue is probably not the right choice for a frame. It's true that the frame will match the artwork; the problem is that they'll blend together. This will be especially true if the color occurs around the edges of the painting, making the edges of the canvas hard to distinguish. But even if this isn't the case, it can push the color balance in the artwork over the edge, making the dominant color too overwhelming.

Choose A Detail Color

If your blue painting is of sailboats with a blue sky and blue water, for example, you could pick out the sails and use their color. Remember to choose the actual color and not what you expect it to be. This might sound like obvious advice, but it's easy to think those sails are white and choose a white frame – only to find they are actually painted pale pink because of the rising sun, and a pale pink frame would have matched perfectly.

Divide Frame And Painting With A Mat

Mats can be used if you're really wedded to using a dominant-color frame for a color painting or photograph. The extra space helps break up the frame and the painting visually so that the edges of the painting are still clear and pronounced.

For monochrome art, such as black-and-white photographs, a black, grey, or white frame can also have the dominant-color problem: the frame will blend into the photograph. The solution is also the same; isolate the photograph by using a mat. A dark monochrome photograph can really pop with a white mat around it and a black frame; a pale photo with a black mat and a silver frame will do the same.

Match The Style To The Frame

One of the best ways to do this is to visit a museum and take a look at pieces in a similar style to yours. Often, for more contemporary art, the frames are thinner and more minimalistic. Older paintings are more likely to have ornately carved frames; photographs, regardless of age, almost never do. By looking at what museum professionals are using for various pieces of art, you can get a sense of the trends in framing for different periods and styles of artwork.

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