Tuesday, 4 November 2014

2nd Solo Show & In Praise of Picture Framers

Today my second solo show opened to the public at Hardings Picture Framing and Gallery in Warsash near Southampton.  The exhibition is open 4th - 18th November.

I feel incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to exhibit at Hardings, it is somewhere that I have visited for the last twenty years, most importantly for framing requirements.

There have been periods of absence, normally when my previous careers have meant that there was no time for painting, hence no pictures to frame.

Each time I have been back, Jeremy, the owner and framer is always there to offer advice and make new suggestions.  He has got used to the requirements of framing botanical art and the criteria I have to adhere to for exhibiting with the national and international societies.

For many years, I have used a plain oak flat frame, quite narrow, but which seems to never date.  This has tended to suit both botanical and natural history artwork.

What has been most exciting in the lead up to this most recent exhibition has been the anticipation in seeing how some of my latest pieces have been framed.  Most of these have not been botanical and I was thrilled with the results (I didn't know how they were going to be framed). 

I thought I would take you on a 'close-up' trip of some of the frames that Jeremy has created.

These two paintings are acrylics on a natural linen canvas board.  These are two of my favourite pictures in the exhibition, and that is down to the framing.  The canvas boards have been attached with acid free tape hinges and placed on mountboard.  What really helps to show these paintings off is the wide border to the mountboard and placing them in box frames.  The colour of the wooden frames compliments the colours of the canvas and the painted natural objects.  Finally, anti-reflective glass has been used, which makes it almost feel as though there is no glass at all.

Again, with this picture the mountboard is nice and wide, and this is enhanced by using a wide frame.  The colour of the frame is just right, and although is dark in nature, the distressed grey effect really does match the soft greys and black in the Jay's feathers.
Following the theme of wide mounts and frames, this frame also has a distressed effect, but is paler in colour.
For the Stag Beetle painting this dark frame perfectly matched the warm black of the beetle and the box frame makes it feel as though you are almost looking into a cabinet of curiosities.
My Quail's eggs painting has proved popular in the past, so here is mark ii (top picture).
Dream Eggs is at the bottom and these pale but warm coloured wide frames, draw your eye into the subjects.
So, tips for artists on finding and working with your framer:
  • As well as supporting local business, using a framer near to home can help to cut transport costs down (if you can find one nearby).
  • When visiting a framer for the first time, look to see the range and variety of frames that they stock, as well as mountboard.
  • A good framer will listen to you, rather than dictate what frame should be used.
  • Vice versa, listen to your framer.  He or she may come up with new suggestions for frames or even the proportions your mount should be.
  • They may even be able to order in a particular frame that they do not hold generally in stock.
  • A good framer will be up to date with the latest framing trends and framing techniques, for example using slips, French mounting etc.
  • If you are an artist needing framing done on a regular basis, ask if there is any chance of a discount.
  • Some framers will make up a frame for you with backing board, glass and mount, at a reduced price, if you are happy to frame the picture yourself.  (This can be stressful though, especially when there is a tiny bit of fluff behind the glass when you have just sealed it up !)
Lastly, appreciate your framer, and if you are pleased with the work, spread the word.  We all need to help each other.
Thank you to Jeremy and Claire for all of their support in bringing this exhibition together.
So, the exhibition is on until Tuesday 18th November, during normal shop opening hours.
I will painting in the gallery on Thursday 6th November and Friday 14th November 10.30am - 3.00pm
Hardings Website


  1. Another brilliant post full of useful information. I totally agree that the frame makes the painting and a good framer is worth their weight in gold. I wish you all the very best with the exhibition xx


It is always lovely to hear your comments. Please feel free to leave them here and I will approve them asap.