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June, Pinterest, and framing.

Dear lovely friends, it has been a varied month so far, the SBA show was my best so far, I sold 4 out of the 5 paintings and still feel a little giddy about it. The large painting called 'South facing wall' won the Suzanne Lucas memorial award (Suzanne was the founder president of the Society of Botanical Artists) and peoples choice, get me a chair!!! 

I thought the show was colourful and varied but we still need new and exciting artists to join the fold, so spread the word and encourage fellow artists to apply, most mediums are being considered.

Any hoo, following up on family matters, in case you are following me, I did actually have to tolerate a party for Will and am recovering from a very late night after peeling drunken girls up from the floor at 2am in the morning; followed in the morning by a massive trip to the bottle bank, I am very concerned that the young'uns  drink so much and that's before they arrived at the party! I now miss the jelly and ice cream days. With a full moon, a late night and a storm brewing, I am not in the best of ways following such an evening :)!*

Patchings art fair was a hoot and my dear friends Julie and Beverley came up to help me run the stand, as usual we had a fun time and some interesting meals out in Nottingham. I am not sure I will be back next year as June is proving to be a tricky month for me, all the flowers are out and I hate missing them.

I ran a competition at patchings for a chance to win 6 months free tutorials and after folding and shaking the entries then picking out the winning entry the winner is ............

!Margaret Jefford!

Moving on I have 2 things for you, firstly I have been pinning on Pinterest and will be adding tips and musings this week for followers of my boards, I have just added some little collage boards inspired from my sketchbooks and will be adding sketchbook paintings which will be for sale, or perusal if you so chose. You may not know that I have in the region of 300 unfinished works or work in progress, some may never complete and some are finished as incomplete as they tell a story on how to paint a flower and the journey towards a finished piece. If you have no idea what Pinterest is, it is a website where you can find and collect images that inspire you, just like a pin board or scrapbook, you collect and pin in your favorite ideas and pictures. Watch out it's addictive! 

Secondly I have been writing about Framing following the SBA show. I was curious on what other artists had chosen and asked permission to photograph the corners of some frames to compile a gallery of my least favorite and favorite frames and I have written why I think some work better than others. Do remember that framing is a personal choice but fashion does come into it and therefore one should bear that in mind when framing to sell. 

A look at Framing paintings
To begin with I would like to say that framing your art work is very personal and that if you agree or disagree with my opinions below, I would point out that I am as guilty as the next person for making framing faux pas and although I love some of my framing choices they are not always universally appreciated.
I started at the SBA show this year looking to see what had sold and how it was framed, thinking that there would be a theme to pick up on; there certainly were very few sold in the traditional, old style, brown lacquered wood frames and a majority of sold works were in smart, well chosen frames, so that was a good indication that my observations on framing are indeed running true on this occasion.
Choosing how to frame your work
1.  Unless you are a framer or have a framer in the family, find a framer that frames a variety of work regularly and has their finger on the pulse as to what is in vogue.
2.  Ask the framer what is in trend and what frames art lovers are choosing at present. People often reframe artwork to suit their interior decoration especially fine, original art, as it is cherished and hung on their walls, so will often be used as a starting point when choosing colours for redecorating (original art is rarely shoved in a drawer and forgotten but hung on the wall and appreciated).
3.  Chose simple and good quality frames, if you don’t respect and value your work enough to frame it well then you can’t expect onlookers to respect and value you work.
4.  Check out what other artists are using, visit galleries and exhibitions and see the styles that look best, ask artist friends to recommend a framer, they are often only too happy to share the contact.
5.   When costing your work add the price of the mount and frame on top and then you will know how much you value your work, if the framing costs more than your painting then you are not charging enough for your artwork. Your time and skill and the love you put into your work are worth paying for, the work if sold will be cherished and adored, the new owner will have worked hard for their money and they will respect that you have worked hard for yours.
6.  Your framer will have some suggestions on what will look good with your painting and are usually happy to discuss options, do try to keep it neutral and simple as fussy framing can detract from the work and indeed clash with simple modern interiors, they will also advise acid free mounting to avoid discolouration to your work, this is very important in helping your art survive under glass.
7.  Don’t scrimp on the mounts, thick mount board or double mounting is slightly more expensive but looks so much nicer. Do also try to match the colour of the mount with the paper, coloured mounts at present are not in vogue and only rarely enhance the delicate floral work that we do, dirty, dull or poorly cut mounts are only going to lose you a sale.

8.  Mounts should be cut for the final piece, if you squeeze your art into a ready made mount whose dimensions are wrong for the painting then you are again telling people that you don’t value your work enough to get a mount cut especially for it.
Many times I have seen paintings squashed into mounts and frames that don’t look like they were cut for the painting: a classic indication of this is that the mount is too skinny on the top and bottom or too skinny on the sides. Have the mount made with the painting in mind; a beautiful piece deserves a beautiful mount and frame.
In conclusion, although mounts and frames can be somewhat of a pricey investment, your artwork deserves the attention, it takes many years and lots of practice to improve and perfect your painting skills; therefore your final beautiful works should warrant the protection and enhancement of a beautiful frame.
Here are some examples of frames and mounts at this years show:
Below is a beautiful box mount created from mount board to give a deep recess for the painting.

This is a simple white wood frame with a double mount, classic and simple.

This is similar to the previous choice but in a pale natural wood, this has been a staple for the last 10years or so.
* A quick ‘by the way’ on mount size and depth, make the mount a reasonable depth to give substance but don’t make it too deep that it dominates the internal space of the frame. If it makes the picture too big it may get rejected due to limited hanging space.

A silver frame is nice and suits green and white pictures but be aware that they can damage easily at shows and are hard to repair. Notice the lovely thick mount board.

This is a brushed silver metal frame again easily damaged. The generous double mount gives added depth.

This type of frame is affordable but can often look too casual and the very cream mount may also look like it is bought off the shelf and may be too warm next to the fine white watercolour paper. When I started out, I used similar frames and was often asked by buyers if they could buy the work unframed, it may have been that the frames were not enhancing the picture and or that they preferred something more expensive looking.

This type and colour of frame I have found are not that popular with buyers at present so be careful when choosing traditional frames as you could be making your choice look old fashioned. Of course I may be alone in this view and will stand corrected if you have used this type of frame and sell well.

This framing was beautiful the generous mount and simple frame complimented the work and the silver slip worked well with the lilacs in the painting. The large mount was applicable as it was a very large panting.

This frame also worked well with the painting and the gold slip worked well with the warm colours in the picture. (Interestingly both of the above adorned sold paintings)

This type of frame (Above) is also out of favour at present, it might look nice in very traditional settings but the reddish brown of the wood is not an easy colour to place in the d├ęcor of modern homes.

I like the generous depth of this fame although the mount could have been a bit deeper, maybe half the depth of the frame to give it some importance (this is a personal choice of course).

I love this frame; it is a frame within a frame, popular in galleries and suitable for acrylic and oil paintings.

I love the deep chamfer on the frame and mount; this is good simple effective framing.
As you can see there is a theme of pale wood and white frames on the sold work, this is good to know and may be of help when choosing your frames for your next show.
I do hope you find this interesting and helpful I wish I had been advised when I started out and really hope you think it was worth the read. Wishing you much success with your painting and indeed framing, it’s a tricky thing to get right. x
 Copy right Billy Showell 


  1. This post is most helpful and relevant to me right now, as I am just starting to learn about framing. Thank you! The photos and your explanations made it easy to understand and I agree with your excellent taste. Btw, I adored your South facing Wall painting even though I only saw it online. I am sure it could have sold many times over. Best wishes!

  2. This is extremely helpful post! Thank you for this one. I read all of it, but I might not understand everything as english is not my native language, and maybe there is an answer to my question. You wrote about frames, but there is also glass, and I saw two types of glass: glossy and matt (or frosted, I'm not sure which word is correct). Which one would you recommend? In those photos I think there are all glossy glass. Is it better? Does it look better? I framed one of my paintings with matt glass, because I was afraid of reflections, but I have a feeling, that something is not right, that the painting seems to be darker and even dull. I guess glossy glass will help the painting to be more 'clear' and vibrant. What is your opinion? Thank you! :)

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