Picture Framing 101

As you know, “Interior Decorating” is fraught with guidelines. Not rules, but gentle reminders of the tried and, usually, true ways of doing, displaying, matting, and coloring that tend to bring out the best in the item and your interior. It shouldn’t be any surprise that “Picture Framing” also has guidelines.  

Talk to an Expert

In the spirit of writing about decor things that you have asked me about, I went to talk to Kevin Watson of Earth Art Studios the other day, to get some first-hand info on how to frame a picture.  While waiting to talk to Kevin, I had a look around his gallery, which is a jewel box of local artisan treasures. I am always awed at the variety and quality of the art produced in this area, and Kevin’s gallery showcases some of the best.

Yup, Contrast is important here, too.

You know that the eye goes to the area of greatest contrast first.  It seems that this guideline is pervasive, it appears in Picture Framing as well as almost every aspect of Interior Decorating.

When framing a picture start with the matting. A mat in a high-contrast color to the image itself can draw attention to the mat and take attention away from the image. Just because there is a lot of green in the image does not mean the mat should be green too. 

It seems that gentle, neutral mats  that offer a peaceful transition from the image to the frame are the most effective overall. Remember, please, this is a guideline. Remember too, that art is subjective and it is your art and your wall, and you can do whatever you want. 


Well, the scale of the frame should be similar to the scale of the image. For example, an image of large flowers would look rather silly with a tiny little frame. If the image is a traditional-style still life, a substantial traditional  wood frame is suggested. If the image is a bouquet of impressionistic flowers, a more modern — perhaps metal or flat-painted wood– frame would be more appropriate. 

Glass, too

I learned about glass too. Regular glass allows reflections. Not good. Non-reflective glass doesn’t allow reflections but is more expensive and will blur the image if the glass sits too far in front of the image. Then there is conservation glass. You can’t see it. Period.  

Why a pro?

A professional picture framer will ensure that your beloved art is framed with care and consideration and that it will withstand time. A professional picture framer who is also an artist, like Kevin,  will help you choose the frame that is the best for your image.  

Stop in to Kevin’s gallery, 380 Alexander – enter from the Ross Street parking lot side.  NOTE: As of October, 2020, Kevin has moved his studio. Google ‘Earth Art Studio’ to find him. His shop is in his home now, I believe. 

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