the autumn of my departure

 |  June 1, 2008

the autumn of my departure, encaustic and mixed media
8×8 inches on birch

This piece will probably be the last new painting that I will be sharing here for a while now. I may still have one more up my sleeve, so I can’t say for sure. But the time is approaching where my paints need to get packed. I will be done framing the last of the paintings to be framed for the June artwalk, and then all obligations will be met. Therefore, no need to keep my paints and canvases out anymore.

Back when I first picked up my brushes and oil paints after not having painted for years, I painted this. It’s the same scene as above. I plan on keeping the oil painting above my mantel always. There are some paintings that I just don’t want to let go of, and this is one of them. It’s beautifully framed too in a big dark wood frame and aged golden fillet.

Speaking of framing, I still keep going back and forth on whether paintings created on cradled boards or gallery wrapped canvases should be framed. Generally I don’t, but my encaustic birch paintings are so simple, that I feel like they need a frame. I’ve had a few framing emails with Binky Bergsman recently who helped me out with finding some good frames in the area. Thought I would throw this question out there for anyone who would like to throw in their opinion:

Is it better for the artist to frame the paintings, or let the buyer frame the painting later? It seems that artists, to save costs, usually pick out very simple (cheap) frames for their work. Sometimes simple frames work really well. I just bought some ready made very affordable black float frames that work perfectly for my encaustic paintings. But there were two paintings that I felt needed something different. Actually 3, but I’m still on the fence as to whether I should spend the money to frame it like how I want to or go the more affordable route.

But since I used to work in a frame shop I know that a good frame can really make a painting just pop, while a bad frame can detract. But I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a frame that might not suit someone else’s styles. Although working in a frame shop I learned that a lot of people come in really lost as to how to pick a frame out.

What to do, what to do?


  1. by Elaine Kerr on June 2, 2008  3:20 am Reply

    I have sold both framed and unframed work. Either way customers usually know that somebody has to pay for framing and they take that into consideration when purchasing. Most of my work is quite dimensional and framing shops never seemed to have frames deep enough, so I started making my own simple frames.

    Then I decided to take the work out from behind the glass after a critique from an art professor at a juried regional show.

    I work on 3'x8' door skin (1/8 inch plywood from which doors are made). I cut the piece into sizes I need and attach a support frame made of 1"x1" pine to the back of the door skin with glue & nails. I prime it with wood primer, sand, gesso twice, sand. Now I have a wood "canvas" to use for acrylic and mixed media. After it's finished I sometimes add a frame of whatever type of pine trim molding that looks good on the piece, painting it and applying effects to it, sanding it back and otherwise distressing it to blend into the artwork. If it gets a little ding while being handled, it isn't even noticeable.

    For my work, it's about the art, not a manufactured frame, no matter how attractive. I prefer, when it's necessary, something that does the job of covering the side of the work inobtrusively. It's important that the potential customer fall in love with the work without the issue of the frame vs. their decorating style.

    The one in this link has the edge finished in a 1" flat beaded pine molding trim. (A cross-section looks like 4 half circles in a row.) Some frames, like this one, are flush with the side of the piece, others wrap around to the front, never more than 1/2".

    My fave is plain old 1x1 outside corner round – the one that's L-shaped if you look at a cross section. I miter the corners apply it to the side of the "canvas" and the L shape wraps around to the back. Envision a frame placed over the back of the work instead of over the front and you'll get the idea (maybe, I hope!).

  2. by smith kaich jones on June 2, 2008  11:02 am Reply

    I have very mixed feelings about this. I've had very large works on paper framed, which costs a fortune, and that seriously affects my sales of such items. I hate explaining that $175.00 of the price is to cover the cost of framing, but if I don't, people think I'm asking way too much, and really, even if I do mention that, they're still put off by that additional money. I don't know - it makes me crazy. It's part of the reason I work less & less on paper & more on gallery-wrapped canvas or in collage boxes.


  3. by Carmen on June 2, 2008  11:32 am Reply

    I look forward to reading the comments on this topic.

    I just wanted to add that I love the stitching on this piece. I also always love the names you give your works of art. Where do you get your inspiration for naming your pieces?

    Have a great week and I hope your supplies don't have to stay packed too long.



  4. by Judy Wise on June 2, 2008  2:24 pm Reply

    First of all I have to say that I love the new piece. Your work has such a feeling to it - a serene, zen quality that is so incredible.

    As for the framing; I also have sold work both ways and my bid aha is that it is the gestalt of the piece that sells it, some pieces do "pop" more with a wonderful frame. But personally, I am focused now on just working and to heck with presentation (can you tell I am old?) - I no longer have the interest in finessing every detail so I sell my encaustics unframed (every one of them) and it goes just fine. My philosophy is to follow the path of least resistance.

  5. by Crystal on June 2, 2008  5:36 pm Reply

    Framed or unframed, your work is gorgeous! As a buyer I would lean toward wanting to frame it myself to match my decorating style.

  6. by Erika Tysse on June 3, 2008  5:11 am Reply

    Good luck on the move! So sorry the you are leaving just as I am arriving! Such is life! Wish you all the best!

  7. by Paula Scott on June 3, 2008  5:49 pm Reply

    Offer two prices: framed and unframed. If the buyer selects unframed, remove the frame for future use.
    I can so relate to being on the fence about framing. Sometimes I think that the frame we select might be the very reason why the potential buyer wouldn't buy the piece because it doesn't go with how they have things framed in their place.
    In the long run, I like to frame most things that call for it as it completes the look.
    Oh, so sad that you now have to pack up the art supplies! I'm getting the jitters for you thinking about what's ahead! What an adventure!
    As always, I am enchanted by your images. I love this one (with the sewn fabric) and I also love the oil painting predecessor of it.

  8. by bridgette on June 5, 2008  12:02 am Reply

    Thank you all for your helpful comments on my framing question. Lots to think about.

    Thanks Sandra for visiting me here and for your comment!

  9. by Tricia on June 5, 2008  6:33 pm Reply

    bridgette, thank you for posing this question. it has been so interesting reading through the comments. for me, if i were purchasing a piece i would like to buy it unframed so i could select my own. :)
    your work as always is so wonderful, soo very peaceful.
    i wanted also to wish you good luck on the packing and the moving.

  10. by Jenni on June 8, 2008  8:05 pm Reply

    I realize this is way after you've already received comments, but I just had to add my 2 cents. Very ironic too because in Domino magazine today I tore out an ad for a credit card of all things with a caption that read, "It's hard to appreciate art when it's not framed." I should preface that with the ad being about the son of the house who had painted the garage door with a fabulous mural...none-the-less, I found it most interesting that Citicorp would select those words for its' caption and that I would then read this entry in your blog! I have found a local crafter that makes many of my frames from old barnwood. It mixes with both my simple bird images and my landscapes. He custom fits each piece after I paint them, mostly because I paint on whatever I can get my hands on which of course is never a normal size. The frames add charm, warmth, and uniqueness that a frame from a framer can not. You can see samples in my blog and etsy shop. Good luck.

  11. by Lorie M. on June 9, 2008  2:07 pm Reply

    That's a question I struggle with too. I usually leave them unframed, but if I do, I do the simplest ones. But your point is a good one about making a painting pop. Your encaustic work is charming,and evocative at the same time. lovely.

  12. by 4roomsandthemoon on September 16, 2008  2:23 am Reply

    I enjoy your blog so much, I just wanted to tell you how beautiful your work is and how much it has inspired me to try having my own blog. I still don't quite grasp the technical jargon required for setting up a site, but I am slowly learning. Thank you so much for sharing your work with all of us!

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