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Does An Oil Painting Need To Be Framed?

Framing an oil painting is not just about the style and type, but also where you will hang the artwork. There are many different types of frames that cost varies on if they are antique or modern as well as what material they are made from.

  • Frames with moldings like bevels, ogee curves, mullions and rails give your home décor impression by adding those traditional design elements to any room in your house.
  • You can use custom framing for your paintings too! Custom framing means having pieces cut specifically for whatever size piece you have which would change everything else like thicknesses and mat sizes because no two pieces were ever alike when it comes to these.
  • Another option some people consider is a gallery wrap frame (a work of art that is wrapped around the sides of a stretcher frame). It can be beautifully framed in such a way to create an illusion for the viewer who might think they are viewing only stretched canvas.
  • For those looking at saving money, there are low-cost frames you could use like matting and backing materials with glass which will provide protection from dust as well as UV rays. These types of framing pieces may not always last 100 years but it’s still worth considering if you are on a budget.

Main Factors to Consider when Choosing a Frame

Consider breaking the decision-making process into perhaps six key factors, such as the following: A few, such as the cost, are fairly obvious, while others are not so obvious.

  • In what medium has it been painted?

Obviously, you’ll recognize the medium in which it was painted or drawn. However, with some media, a frame is sufficient, while with others, something else is required to create an additional ‘inner frame’ around it.

  • Is a frame necessary or preferable?

Canvases that are wrapped around and attached to a deep wooden supporting framework, perhaps 1” or 25mm or more thick, are popular because they encourage the artist to continue painting along the sides, top and bottom edges of the picture, which a frame would hide.

Obviously, you wouldn’t want the presence of a frame to detract from the effect in this case.

  • What size is it, and where will it be hung?

If you want to hang your art in a small alcove or between two pieces of furniture, a large frame and mount may make the overall picture too big for the space.

Yes, it might still fit, but remember, this is your masterpiece, and you don’t want it crammed into a space that won’t allow people to see it the way you intended.

As a rule of thumb, add 4 to 6” (100 – 125mm) to the height and width of your canvas or paper to get an idea of how big the picture will be once it’s framed.

  • Are there any specific colors in the photograph that you’d like to highlight in the frame or mount?

If you can pick out one or two key colors from the painting that are repeated in the frame or mount, that’s always a plus.

A lively image of yachts with red and white sails on an aqua blue ocean, for example, might lend itself to one of those colors being chosen as the frame color.

Maybe there’s just a thin line of one of the colors on the mount. You could have a double mount with a pastel of an interior; the outer one could be a neutral ivory, with an inner one showing one of the interior’s colors as an attractive border.

Of course, you are not required to use any of the colors in the frame. You might be perfectly content with a broad dark wooden frame with a gold border, which represents none of the colors in the image but is equally capable of giving your work of art a real lift.

  • Is the frame allowing the image to breathe?

Allowing the picture to ‘breathe’ refers to whether the frame truly sets it off and almost steps back’ from the painting, providing a backdrop where the focus is solely on the work.

Or does it appear to wrap itself tightly around the edges of the picture like a boa constrictor because it is proportionally too small for the picture?

  • Cost

A good framer will provide invaluable advice on frame style, mount, colors, and so on, addressing many of the points I’ve raised.

However, framing costs money, and if you want to sell your work at an exhibition, this is something you must consider.

You’ll want to recoup the cost of the frame as well as your time and materials for the picture, but will this put your work out of reach for those who attend the exhibition?

Skimping on the frame may save some money, but as we’ve seen, is it going to be counter-productive in terms of its potential sale?

As a result, if you create work for a commission, it is recommended that you always charge for the painting alone and inform the buyer that you can advise them on framing or have it framed for them, but that they must factor that cost in.

If you’re buying the painting for yourself or as a gift, the decision is actually a little easier because you’ll justify the cost of a good frame in your mind the same way you would any other piece of furniture.

Remember the old adage: The quality of a product is remembered long after the cost is forgotten.

The Marshall Gallery 2

By Dru Bloomfield –, CC BY 2.0,

Are You Looking for Contemporary Art to Complement Your Home?

The Marshall Gallery, located in Scottsdale’s Historic Arts District, has been the center of contemporary art since its founding in 1998. Boasting a collection of paintings, sculptures, and exquisite glass pieces, the gallery hosts several exhibitions each year plus a biennial glass invitational that attracts top-notch talent. Here you will find exceptional art presented in an open and relaxed gallery space, which is perfect for browsing the ever-changing collection. Explore on your own, or allow our expert art consultants to offer complimentary assistance to find the perfect addition to your own collection. Looking for the perfect piece of art to complement your home’s decor? Visit us in person or browse our online art store!