We all know what happens when a piece of art meets a piece of glass and a frame. The art doesn’t look “pretty good” anymore. It doesn’t look “halfway decent” or “kind of okay.” Framed art looks rare and elegant, more or less instantly, as if it had received an elaborate makeover and an honorary degree from Harvard. Seriously, framing a piece of work is just about the nicest thing anyone can do for it, because who (other than the President of Yale, possibly) wouldn’t want an honorary degree from Harvard?!
SO, people with walls and people who paint, why don’t we frame more of our work? There are plenty of factors, most of which rhyme with money, honey, but there’s also the time and the inconvenience of finding the right frame, especially if the muse didn’t sing in convenient 8×10 dimensions. I have a solution for both of those problems, though – and yes, it’s a bit of a cheat, but it’s a fun cheat, and it’s an affordable cheat, and it’s a perfectly timed, cheat, my lovelies, because the holidays are coming, and giving people framed art is way classier than handing them sheets of watercolor paper, I think we can all agree.
Ready for the cheat? Go to Goodwill / Salvation Army / your neighbor’s garage sale / your local charity shop. Buy something framed.
Once you have the frame, take it apart, and if necessary, separate the print / artwork from the mat.
Once you have the work itself separated out, you now have the dimensions for your piece. If you want to start fresh on a piece of acrylic or watercolor paper, go on with your bad self. If you’d rather gesso and work on top of the existing piece, that works, too.
Once I had the painting finished, I used gesso on the mat, changed the color, and distressed the paint. Then – and this part was pretty exciting, I can’t lie – I put it all back together.
If your painting is going to hang in a local museum, of course, this is not the way to go, but if it’s going to hang in Aunt Bertha’s hallway, your mother’s living room, or (fingers crossed) your very own house, this is a great way to send your work to Harvard for less than the price of a Starbucks.