It’s a Tricky Job

Of all the many hats I have to wear, framing is my least favorite. Yuck!! So I’ve made a choice to streamline the process a bit and go with no mattes on my figurative pastels. This is a huge leap for me, since I’m a devoted fan of mattes. I love the look that a clean white, 8ply matte gives a pastel. So, for many years now I’ve used, 8ply rag mattes and dark wood frames which have a distressed red edge. Very pricey and lovely. I have used regular glass since the volume of work that I’ve framed just precluded the expense of museum glass. I had my frames built, mattes cut, spacers applied and hardware attached to the number of pieces and sizes that I needed for all my shows. I did the fitting of the art myself. This allowed me to not only work right up to the show deadlines, but to make some decisions regarding cropping, signature placement etc.. I really like the more contemporary look of this framing style. But, the white mattes are a problem to transport and so were the large frames with large pieces of glass. Then once at the show, I’d be struggling to keep the work safe on site if it needed to be removed from the walls at night. I also had the issue of how to send the work off with a buyer, so I needed to bring plenty of packing material. The other issue I’m avoiding is the piece sweating from exposure to direct sun and dripping on the matte.


The solution right now is to use dark plein air style frames in standard sizes. This is a BIG move for me!! I found several sources for these frames. I first ordered sample frames to make sure I was going to get what I expected and that the company could deliver on time and in the quantities that I need. I ended up with Art Ready Frames in Redmond Washington. I bought some 9×12 pieces of museum glass on ebay. A lot cheaper than retail and I bought a 16 piece box of 16×20 from a local framing supplier, Framers Inventory for $335.00. Pricey, but still a bargain. On the odd sizes, I’ll have to have cut and bite the bullet on. I think I will come out ahead though, since I’m not using mattes and spacers. I end up spending about the same on the new frames but minus the hassle of a white matte and a nice individual shipping box/transport box for each piece. I also think that the new figure work looks appropriate in this style of frame.

Plein air style frame with clear plastic spacer and museum glass
With Warmest Regards,

Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

These “mini-lessons” grew out of my blog. I love sharing my experience behind the easel, so these are free. I write a new one every two or three weeks, so please feel free to share with artist friends.

​These lessons are mostly written text with graphics…short but useful tidbits from the foundations of painting that touch on subjects such as aerial perspective, simultaneous contrast or using negative spaces. I guide you through different aspects of painting and art that will get you comfortable with using pastels. You’ll gain confidence to attempt work that you might have otherwise been timid about.

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