Reframing the Framing

copyright 2013 Mia Laing 'Sunny Girl'
Oil on Canvas - 2013
Perth Royal Agricultural Show Entry 2013
I have a confession to make. Well, for the peeps who follow me on Facebook, that is. The other day I posted 'Sunny Girl', newly dressed in a beautiful frame with stunning workmanship and a beachy, driftwood kinda feel to it. I chose it, thinking it suited the theme of my painting. I ignored the silver choice my framer was suggesting. I should have listened to the professional. Maybe.
copyright Mia Laing Beachy framed Sunny Girl
The thing is, on my 'Sunny Girl', that gorgeous beachy frame, didn't look so gorgeous. I got that icky feeling in the pit of my tummy when I looked at it, telling me that something was just not quite right about my frame choice. 'Sunny Girl' is my BEST painting to date. I really, truly want to present it to the Royal Show judges in the best possible way. The Perth Royal Agricultural Show is the biggest exhibition and art show in our whole years art calendar. The exposure is huge, with over 400,000 visitors through its gates and many thousands of these people taking a look at the art show. It's a big event for a newly emerging/emerged artist. Or any artist, in fact! With this thought, the frame was just not doing it justice but I couldn't quite put my finger on why it wasn't working. I um'ed and ah'ed, questioned everyone who could be bothered listening, got a multitude of different opinions (some that loved this frame, some that hated this frame, many who weren't sure) Slept very badly for a couple of nights (Perfectionist? Who me?) and finally took it to another framer for a second opinion. Yep, my intuition was right. Great frame...on the wrong painting. I got the explanation my thoughts were hinting at....The frame was just too busy for my very busy painting. The many horizontal and vertical lines of the distressed wood frame were conflicting with the painted reflections in the water and drawing your eye away from the image and back out to the frame. The yellow tinge to the wood frame was also distracting the eye from the gentle creamy hues of the water. Aaaah. Hmmm? What now? Whole new frame? No frame? Or.... Welcome to the world - painted frame!! Yep. It was the framers suggestion too. He was not trying to get himself a new frame sale. Thank you Mr Man.copyright Mia laing 2013 Apparently, he buys art regularly and if the frame is good, sturdy and well made...he paints to jazz it up and doesn't reframe! This said by a FRAMER. He even told me the colour to best enhance the image of my daughter in the water. Here I was thinking I would need to spend another couple of hundred dollars...and all it took was a $7 sample pot of an off white colour to match the mat board, a new brush and some fine sand paper... its still a beautifully made frame, just now it's a different colour. Risky?? You bet. I masking taped and covered that painting with not a mm left uncovered. House paint is not something you want anywhere near a finished and much-loved oil painting. It was scary, that's for sure. I even rubbed off the first couple of strokes of paint before I could bring myself to commit to painting the whole frame. Doubt. What a fun zapper. Anyway, 4 coats of careful, meticulous frame painting done and I love it again. The frame now does what it's designed frame the painting and guide the viewer's eye into and around the image. Phew...I can sleep again. Intuition, its a powerful God gift. Go use it.... Mia x
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