Some people varnish their oil paintings to protect then from dust and grease; some people put glass over their work. Most artists these days take their chances. I varnished my paintings once and so hated the gloss, that I removed it again a week later. Varnish is meant to be removable.
And nowadays there is a new kind of glass called Artglass that has no reflection at all and is invisible. But it will raise the cost of the framing! A lot! The painting should not touch the glass, so a special frame or mount is needed as well.
Its hard to choose the right frame and I like my frames to be neutral because the client is more likely to buy the work for what it is without being influenced by the frame. These little birds look nice in almost any colour, but if you think about it’s destination as possibly being for a pretty bedroom, white is the safest. I think I can say the same about the berries, although I think I could choose black – but white is safer, (sadly).
I decided to make the painting look more special with a fancier frame, because I didn’t really like the natural colour – the third one – that much. It seemed a bit dull. So I painted it with chalk paint – I used Annie Sloan’s chalk paint and waxed it with Annie Sloan wax, but these days there are more brands available. I think chalk paint is acrylic paint with chalk or whiting added, which is how I make my own gesso.
You don’t even have to prepare the frame as long as it is dirt free and dust free. But the paint is thick and difficult to paint evenly without the brush marks showing. I guess the brush marks are part of the charm. And you can certainly stress it slightly. This paint sticks to glass, plastic, wood or metal. So use disposable containers if you are going to decant some and wash your brushes regularly during the painting. There are loads of you-tubes showing you how to use Annie Sloan products. So here is my framed baby coaltits completed. The price has gone up to reflect the label ‘hand-gessoed’
I have painted a series of jugs and berries for Artweeks. These were carefully thought out and too ages, so I feel they are worth more than my other 6″ X 6″ paintings. I also wanted them to look great. So I have double framed them.
I had two frames made by my picture framer, having chosen profiles that I thought looked good together and were the same depth. One was in birch and the other was white wood. I tried painting them but when I wanted to stress them, it didn’t work because they were different. So I gave them an undercoat of grey Annie Sloan paint, sanded it ever so lightly and then gave them a second coat of off-white paint.
Frames, like fashion, change. You’ll find that mounts get fancier with added lines, then plainer. In the 90’s they were coloured, but now they seem to be neutral. Sometimes a mount with a black core or a double mount with a dark strip of colour can help an overly white painting. These days a very deep mount is popular. To see what is trending, visit some good galleries. Of course with oils you don’t need mounts, but I think that frames can be a bit wider or chunkier for smaller pieces. Very large paintings may do well to be in a narrow ‘cradle-frame’. If you are selling work its worth keeping track of frame-fashions. Currently white or light grey wood, often with a stressed finish is popular. Black will always look good as long as it doesn’t overpower the painting.