Sometimes the frame shop experience can be daunting. How can you trust that you’ve chosen the right frame? How do you know it will work on the wall where you plan to hang it?
When I brought my oil painting in to FRAMINGS, in Armonk, I admitted to the owner, Judy Willsey, that I had no skill or confidence whatsoever in choosing a frame. She smiled and told me,”You can do it–I’ll show you how.”
As we stood in the light-filled, corner-sample-packed, front end of the shop, Judy shared her time tested method for analyzing art and picking the right frame. It starts with a few questions. “Ok, first, where is this going to hang?” I tell her it’s for my formal dining room. “So the frame needs to be a little more ‘fancy’ than plain and simple. It’s like clothes. You don’t wear jeans to a black tie affair. Right?” “What’s your style?” was her second question. “Are you traditional, contemporary, eclectic, transitional?” As my eyes run over the 4,000-plus corner samples in the shop, I tell her I’m transitioning from a more traditional style to contemporary.
Judy says, “So, the next part is the most difficult concept. We need to analyze the undertone of the art. If the art has mostly blue undertones, we should be framing it in silver. If it is mostly yellow undertones, we go straight for gold. This way we eliminate half the store in one fell swoop–that makes it easier!” I tell her I think it’s mostly yellow undertone because it’s mostly yellows and greens. “Right!–yellows and greens–that means it will look great in a gold frame or maybe a yellow undertone wood frame.”
The next part was really fun. She tells me to “See if you can define the ‘personality’ of the art. Is it scratchy–is it painted with flat patterns or does it have a lot of brush strokes–is it muted or bright? We need to MATCH the ‘personality’ of the frame to the ‘personality’ of the art.” I’m thinking it has a painterly quality, kind of soft and not too bright. So we head over to the “gold wall” and pull off a few frame samples. “This one is the right color but it’s too traditional, right?” I say. “This one is way way too contemporary and this one has too many lines, right?” The third one has a small ruffled lip with a gently sloping, three-inch wide, mildly distressed, simple gold panel. And the gold is a little muted like the art. I feel like the darkness has lifted and all of the sudden I’m speaking “frame”! I straighten up and blurt out with confidence, “This one is perfect, right?” She tells me, “It’s perfect–absolutely perfect.”
I tell Judy, “Hey, I’m good at this. I should work here.”