I don't have a lot of my work framed. Storing frames and framed work requires space that I did not have until recently. Though I could store framed pieces on the wall, I find that I really don't like having large quantities of my own work hanging in my house. I feel like I get more from other people's work and prefer to see their paintings over mine.
If a given piece is a standard size (11x14, 9x12, 8x10, 12x16, etc.) and does not require cutting a matte, I will occasionally do the framing myself. More often than not, however, I employ a professional — especially when the piece in question is one that Amy has asked me not to sell.
The main reason that I go to professional framers is that I like their selection and the ability to physically sit a frame next to a piece and see it all come together live and in person. I know there are online options for the purchasing of frames, but I feel a lot more like I’m shooting in the dark. My monitor settings could possibly cause me to think I am getting a frame that is a given color, only to find that it’s color is off enough to be useless to me when it finally arrives. In short, I really don’t care to end up with something that falls short of what I need, and I care even less to be sending things back and forth several times until I end up with a solution that fits.
Another reason I like going to professionals is that having something framed is often a business expense. If I need something framed, I’m going to be spending money whether I do it myself or not. I’d just as soon direct the money to someone else and help keep their shop open.
Still another reason I take pieces to a professional framer is that it never hurts to have a second opinion. I have been extremely lucky with the framers I’ve used over the years. Each one brought their unique experience to the table and presented some really amazing combinations that were well outside my in-the-box thinking. A lot of folks who do this kind of work have a pretty good eye, and I really like having that eye at my disposal.
At present, I am putting together some framed work for Boskone, which takes place this weekend. I normally don’t bother with shows that require my work to be framed for a variety of reasons, but this time I made an exception. Right now, I happen to have several pieces framed and ready to go, leaving only three additional standard sized pieces. The show is conveniently located, and I don’t have to ship anything. I thought it over, and I decided to frame one professionally and two myself.
The latter two paintings were handled with relative ease as a trip to an arts and crafts store managed to yield some pretty nice frames. The other piece would seem to be a problem given that Amy and I share only one car that she’s got during standard business hours. Add to that the fact that we’re new to the area and are still getting our bearings and one might expect that third piece to be a real headache. In all reality, the third piece was the easiest of the three to deal with.
It turns out that the fact that I moved is rather fortuitous. If I were still in Jackson Heights, I would have to find a new framer as the old one I used to use has folded. This would require me to go well out of my way. As luck would have it, here in Auburndale, there’s a framer around the corner from my house. It’s an easy walk and I can even pick up my coffee along the way.
Once again, I was blessed with someone that has a good eye. He presented options, both good and bad, and shot the bad ones down before I could. He threw oddball frames at the piece, responding not only to the piece’s palette, but also its shapes. He swapped out frame samples as quickly and confidently as I would have, and within five minutes, we had the perfect frame. If the convenience of his location didn’t sell me on using him, the ease with which he managed to find frame that complimented the piece certainly did. It would seem that I have a new framer.
And now, a shameless plug: I mentioned Boskone above and encourage anyone in the greater Boston area to check it out this coming weekend. At the very least, there will be some excellent art to look at done by people who actually know how to paint. Greg Manchess is the artist guest and his work is worth checking out, at the very least. So please, do come check it out if you can.