FRAMING YOUR WORK
While going through the Todmorden Biennial show with the juror to select the prizes, we
discussed whether she found any major differences between the work she saw during
the digital jurying those that she saw on the walls of the gallery.
She commented that there were no surprises, but added that had she seen the actual
works during the jurying process, there were some that she would have declined
because of the framing.
The framing of the work is an important part of the overall presentation, and often an
inappropriate frame candiminish the positive impact of the work itself.
Some of the framing “sins” could include:
• Poor quality or condition of frame;
• Dirty glass;
• Poor wiring of the frame, leaving part of the wire exposed during hanging (when hung, the top of the wire should be about 3” below the top of the frame);
• Mismatch between the style of the frame and the painting, e.g., ornate frame with simple subject, mismatch between frame colour and the overall palette in the painting; Simple, black frames, especially floating frames, set off the painting well and are
recommended. Otherwise, ensure that the painting complements the picture and does
not clash with it.
Framing is not necessary for paintings done on stretched canvas – especially for large
works – but edges should be clean and preferably black or white. If the artist decides to
paint the edges a colour (other than black or white), it should be remembered that the
edge then forms part of the work itself – and would be juried as such.
Although it was not an issue in the pieces in the Todmorden show, the juror also
noted that the size, placement and colour of the signature is important. An over-sized
signature -especially a coloured one- can dominate the canvas and detract from the
work. As she noted, “The viewer wants to see the work, not the artist’s name.”
Hints to a Successful Photograph of your Artwork
A good photograph of your work is often a key in having it accepted into an exhibition -
especially a juried exhibition.
Here are a few hints that might help you get a better photograph to accompany your
1. Don’t use your flash.
2. If at all possible, photograph your work before framing, or remove work from
frame. This is especially important for works framed behind glass.
3. Photograph your work outside on a cloudy-bright day.
4. Mount the work on an easel as vertical as possible.
5. The artwork should fill the viewfinder as much as possible; if your work is
vertically oriented, rotate the work – not the camera.
6. If you have a tripod for your camera, use it to avoid camera shake.
7. After setting up the shot, use the preset timer on the camera (which gives a 10 second delay before taking the shot – generally used to allow you to run into the picture).
8. Take several shots, checking after each one to see the quality.
Once you have your images downloaded on your computer, you can use Photoshop,
PIcasa, iPhoto or other photo manipulation programs to:
1. Save the file under a new name using “save as”, thereby keeping the original
2. Using the new (duplicate) saved file, crop the image to remove extraneous
background. Including frame
3. Adjust contrast or colour (if you wish)
4. Adjust image size.
5. Give the image an appropriate file name.
The final image must be true to the original. Avoid over-enhancing the image.
If in doubt, call someone who might help you.