Tuesday Tips #5: Painting Sizes

Painting of wren figurine.

Little Wren.  Framed to 12″ x 16″.  Click on image to view it larger.  $90.

These two pieces that I am framing for the show were painted on paper I cut small just to try something out.  And the something “to try out” turned out to be kind of nice!  Unfortunately when it came to framing, the paper size was 7 ½ inches by 11 inches, and you can see how that wouldn’t fit into a standard size mat.

The tip I have for you today is to be conscious of painting sizes.  You never know whether a painting may turn out well, so be sure to paint it in a size that can be easily matted in a precut mat.  Precut mats are usually available with an opening of 5″ by 7″, 8″ by 10″, 11 “by 14” , and so on.  These fit into readily available commercially made frames, which makes framing a more reasonable cost for you or your collectors.

painting of aspens

Winter Twilight.  Framed to 12″ x 16″.   Click on image to view larger.  $90.

If you don’t have a mat cutter, it will cost significant money and time to have one custom cut.  If you are interested in buying one, my friend recommends the Logan brand: http://www.logangraphic.com/.

Watercolor paper comes in the 22 inch by 30 inch sheets.  So often what I do is to fold and tear these into fourths, which is called a quarter sheet (11 by 15 inches).  On several paintings I taped it to my Plexiglas Board which made a very nice white edging frame around the edges when I pulled the tape off.  It looked great!  But I had trouble with matting.

For this size, the best thing to do is to use a double mat whose outside dimensions are 16 by 20”.  Because it has that extra little bit of a second mat inside the opening, the opening is 10 by 13”.   If I had painted to the very edge of the paper that would’ve worked, but because I taped it on top, that white edge peeked out.

Painting to the edge

close up of edge painting

To fix this, I carefully lifted and blotted the sharp edge of the paint, let it dry and then continued the painting to the edge of the paper.  Now it fits inside the 10 by 13 opening with no white showing.  Here’s a close up of a fix of the edge. You can see a pale difference where the edge used to be, but at the edge of the mat, you won’t see it.  You can see the other edge is left alone because it fit well.

But really.  Repainting the edges of every painting  is not a good solution for the future!  I am now doing what Soon Y. Warren , a fabulous watercolorist, recommends: Make a double sided sticky tube with 2 inch wide masking tape. put a tube along all four edges on the backside, and press it to your board.  Paint to the edge.  It works like a charm!

Hope you’ve found this helpful.  Feel free to let me know what you think, and thanks for stopping by!

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