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Basic Tips For Framing Water Color Paintings

Framing water color paintings is not difficult to do... if you follow a few principles.

At one time all water colors were displayed in mats of generous margins, and it is still difficult to surpass the enhancing effect of a wide white mat on a simply framed transparent water color.

Nowadays, however, when water colors are painted in larger sizes and are heavier in both color and paint content, many artists exhibit their paintings in wide, carved frames with very narrow mats.

In some cases the mat is eliminated and an inset is used instead. The method you use is a matter of personal preference, and the key in which you work should help determine the choice.

A wide frame with just an inset would certainly look too heavy for a high-keyed water color.

Have on hand mats with various-sized openings to place over your sketches when you return to the studio.

Their appearance is immediately improved, and it is easier to judge the over-all effect with the mat providing a clean, sharp edge.

A mat is also helpful when working indoors on a water color.

Placing the picture in the mat as you near the final stages helps in determining how much more work is needed.

You will often be pleasantly surprised at how little work is left when your painting is viewed this way.

Never display water colors to anyone without a mat, in fairness to him/her as well as to yourself, because it is difficult to judge an unmatted painting.

At the final stage it is also wise to place glass over the water color, for the smooth sheen always adds depth as well as finish to a painting.

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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