Matting & Framing by snowmask
snowmask

Matting & Framing

by snowmask in Walkthroughs; 2010 - 2011

I am using my painting "Broken Melodies" to demonstrate the process of matting and framing.

An art piece simply cannot call itself finished unless it is ready to be presented. Choosing mats and frames should be a thoughtful process, as it is all about drawing out important aspects of the piece.

Purchasing ready-made mats is certainly an easier option, however I am of the opinion that mat-making is the kind of skill that one fairs better equipped with than without.

This walkthrough serves as an example itself, in that the frame size was custom, thus resulting in the need for custom mats.

Besides, no one should care for the art piece more than the artist. Likewise, no one else should be relied on to exert the same amount of concentration and strive for precision.


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This is a frame custom built for me by Mr. Carl Burmeister, who is a master craftsman. Here is a photo of he and I together in my studio!

The frame used here for "Broken Melodies" is made of oak, with a pewter finish.






Multiple hanging options in the back to suit personal preferences.






Pegs to hold the backing in place.

See how Carl even painted the screws in pewter!






This shows just how much larger the frame is compared to the painting.





Backing removed.






Measuring the backing.






Measuring the painting.






Notes on dimensions of the mats I will be using. For this painting I am using 2 mats, a thin red inner mat and a wide cream outer mat.

Should be pretty self-explanatory.

Plus check out my cool Muji calculator. Those numbers are so big! Can't miss them.






Marking measurements with a 2H drop-lead pencil.






Connecting the dots.






My Logan mat cutter! I think this is the 760 Simplex model.






The straight-edge cutter, for cutting mat boards down to size.






Those are Keith's manly hands! Aligning the bevel cutter to cut out the mat window.






Remains of the day.






Preparing to frame the painting!






Wiping down the inside of the glass to make sure there are no smudges or dust spots.






The wider, cream-coloured mat is the first one to go down.






Followed by the red mat, which has a smaller window, resulting in a thin red border.






Finally the painting is set down.






Careful positioning of the painting.

While not shown here, I like to "anchor" my paintings with a piece of scrap mat board cut down to size, just sticking it at the botton so it will "wedge" the painting in place.






Giving the glass surface a final wipe-down.






Et voilà! The painting is now framed and ready to be displayed.



A higher-resolution photograph of the framed painting shot from head on is available on my website; simply click "framed view" in the menu above the main image.



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  • irishanne

    irishanne

    Wow. Amazing work plus tutorial.

    Mar 27th, 2012 Reply
  • Chandrika

    Chandrika

    Idea new design! tutorials looks learn the thank u. best work!

    Jul 2nd, 2011 Reply
  • Mishelangello

    Mishelangello

    Love this! oh and painting looks amazing in frame they give more life to it! realy want to see you paintings in life to study them! I think you know what i mean! :o)) i am always love to watch painting to study how they was made, all details, everything telling much more then just picture! :o)

    Jun 20th, 2011 Reply
    • snowmask

      snowmask

      Thank you so much dear Mikko ♥

      It would be wonderful if you shared the process of your paintings and illustrations. I love to watch how they were made also!

      Jun 20th, 2011 Reply
    • Mishelangello

      Mishelangello

      :o) Actualy i am working right now on a big painting and shoting all process of painting! i think it would be awesome collection of pictures! Will sher with you as sonn as work will be done! :O)))

      Jun 22nd, 2011 Reply
    • snowmask

      snowmask

      Excellent ♥

      Jun 22nd, 2011 Reply
  • hel999

    hel999

    Wow, you do that yourself, too? When I was a kid my dad made the frames and mats from my mom's paintings, and I learned a little bit from him. I made some frames and mats for my own paintings back then. But I don't think I could still do it...

    Jun 13th, 2011 Reply
    • snowmask

      snowmask

      Yes, I love to make sure that everything is perfect :)

      I have a lot of respect for good carpentry. Never really tried my hand at it!

      Perhaps it's like riding a bike ♥ just need to re-familiarise yourself with the tools and processes.

      Jun 13th, 2011 Reply
    • hel999

      hel999

      Well, if you have the right tools carpentry isn't that hard. My dad bought a saw that makes exact 45° cuts. So all you have to do is watch out that the edges don't chip, which can be a bit tricky. My mom still uses this tool to make the wooden frames to put her canvases on (because clean edges don't matter that much there). I found cutting the mats much more difficult:)

      Jun 14th, 2011 Reply
    • snowmask

      snowmask

      Yes, mat-cutting is a two-person effort with me lol. There is no way I can do it by myself.

      Carpentry seems a lot of fun. What else did your parents build?

      My husband used to be into carpentry, built light fixtures, sold them too.

      :)

      Jun 14th, 2011 Reply
  • mayumi

    mayumi

    Congratulations on the Daily Inspiration Feature!

    Jun 11th, 2011 Reply
  • kolaboy

    kolaboy

    Very helpful. Personally every time I've tried matt cutting I've always over cut...

    Jun 11th, 2011 Reply Subscriber
    • snowmask

      snowmask

      It's a sordid business that most people hate doing. I always have to psych myself up for the job.

      This Logan cutter comes with stoppers that you can slide in and screw on tight. They prevent overcutting :)

      Jun 11th, 2011 Reply
    • kolaboy

      kolaboy

      Could have used that way back when. I had to cut ALL the matts for my very first solo exhibition (1985) all alone in a little community college workshop. Overcut all 25 of them - but to be fair it was the first time I'd ever cut matts. Felt like a fry cook doing brain surgery :P

      Jun 13th, 2011 Reply Subscriber
    • snowmask

      snowmask

      Hahaha. Did anyone comment on the overcutting?

      Did you work much in oils, Danny?

      Jun 14th, 2011 Reply
  • GraphicDude

    GraphicDude

    I love to see how much dedication, enthusiasm and patience is used to create something this brilliant! The painting for itself is outstanding but in the sum, with the work of the frame builder the matting and framing it becomes unique! This tutorial is a must see for all those digital kids out there (I consider myself one) which not really know what "handmade" actually means!

    Jun 11th, 2011 Reply
    • snowmask

      snowmask

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts! It is indeed a collaborative effort and I am very happy that you did not forget my frame-builder! :D

      It is very tricky for him to build frames here in the Las Vegas dry and heat, as the wood tends to warp. He explained how he used some form of cross-bracing in the corners to take care of that issue. It's an intricate process!

      Digital artists are artists nonetheless! Digital prints in real life still need to be treated for proper presentation, even if they're just gifts or hung in the home for decoration :)

      Jun 11th, 2011 Reply
  • heirofglee

    heirofglee

    I seriously want to try this

    Jun 11th, 2011 Reply
    • snowmask

      snowmask

      Don't be intimidated! :) All you need are a pencil, a calculator, a long ruler, and a mat-cutter. You can even get by with a really sharp box-cutter. It does take skill to prevent over-cutting, without the aid of stoppers on a mat-cutter, but I had managed before.

      Jun 11th, 2011 Reply
  • JurgenDoe

    JurgenDoe

    Congrats on the Daily Inspiration Feature

    Jun 11th, 2011 Reply Subscriber
  • JPThornton

    JPThornton

    OKAY KATIE, now you're just being a SHOW-OFF!

    A girl who can draw and paint and bake AND MAT AND FRAME????!!!!

    Jun 10th, 2011 Reply