Monday, February 6, 2017

Be Still, My Beating Heart! After 44 Years, the Art World Is ‘Head Over Heels’ Over You!


February is the month in which we celebrate the love we experience all year long. Some loves are fleeting while others prove eternal, such as the devotion we and our customers feel for our Standard metal profile frame Nielsen 11.

This frame has unquestionably stood the test of time since its invention in the early 70s. Standard has rocked the art world with a slim, minimalist, squared profile that offers so many advantages to artists and the work it can hold. Never one to steal the show, Standard enhances art without overpowering, and sturdiness in materials and structure make it the ultimate framing workhorse.

Easy on the eyes as well as budget, the “Gallery Framing” aesthetic begins with Standard. Consider it the “little black dress” of an artist’s frame wardrobe. Appropriate for any occasion, setting, and any work on paper — watercolor paintings, drawings, posters, silk-screens, and photographs — it’s a DIY framer’s dream that doesn’t require any special tools to use. Have a screwdriver? Voila! I’ve always bragged that I can frame a picture in less than 10 minutes with nails — fingernails, that is!


The best way to use this frame is with a single minimalist mat board to which the artwork is attached or hinged. The mat creates visual space between the art and the edge of the frame as well as a space between the art and the acrylic, which is important for air circulation within the frame treatment. For valuable works, always choose acid-free materials.

A standard shape need not always be in a standard color. The color savvy among us have plenty of choices to satisfy our love of experimentation! Design with various hues and textures to highlight certain elements of your artwork to evoke moods or feelings from viewers. And for those who want a softer alternative to its linear shape, our Radius profile Nielsen 58 is your friend.

Wise collectors and seasoned artists alike are smart to invest in the best materials available, and for that, I’m honored that you choose American Frame. Understand, however, the investment is better made in the art itself — the framing simply serves as the architecture for the art, elevating it for a fine presentation, allowing you to show and protect it so its public can appreciate it. In that, Standard and Radius are proven.

So, whether you’re a long-time devotee to these choices or a “newbie” giving them a try, take advantage of our special offer this month as we celebrate our devotion to best-selling collections, on sale through Feb. 28, 2017. And when you’ve finished framing your latest loves, don’t be shy: Please share them with us on social media using #FramingHappiness so we can admire right along with you!

Yes, we’re still head over heels. We’ve stood the test of time.

Love,
Laura

Need a frame for your art? At American Frame, we love to help you frame it right! Visit our website where you can check out our Framing FAQ page or contact us for personalized assistance. Share a photo of your latest masterpiece on social media with the hashtag #FramingHappiness!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Artists Share Their Stories and Art

Artwork by Kelly Brown

Ever wonder what it would be like to make a living as a professional artist? From humble beginnings to constant development and improvement, Mixed-Media Artist Kelly Brown and Photographer and Painter Vineta Cook share their experiences as artists, providing insights into how they got started, what they did to develop their crafts, and their secrets for pushing through creative lulls. They have some great advice for those interested in developing their artistic talents.

How did you get started as an artist?


Kelly Brown: I’ve been interested in art and drawing ever since I was very little. There was a time while I was growing up that my mother worked from home. To keep me busy, she gave me paper and crayons and asked me to draw pictures for her. That was all I needed to stay occupied for hours! I would just draw and draw. I loved to draw people and scenes with a lot of activity. I was always drawing, always doodling, always creating characters and illustrating stories. This led me to the decision to go to art school at the Columbus College of Art and Design and pursue a fine art degree.

Vineta Cook: My father would draw cartoons when I was little and I loved it. I think I first realized in fifth grade that I love art and wanted to do it for the rest of my life. I kept painting and taking extra art classes all through school. At 15 years old, I won a silver medal from the European Union in Lithuania for my painting, and it boosted my confidence to study art. I got a B.A. in arts and technology and later pursued art full time.

Artwork by Kelly Brown

How have you specifically developed your craft?


Kelly: As a beginner, I started out just drawing things from my imagination, and then I tried to copy other drawings. By going to art school, I was trained to draw more from life. I was exposed to many different facets of art making such as structural drawing, sculpture, oil painting, and even advertising design. It was very hard at times, but this solid foundation helped me learn color and design basics, which helped me learn to express my ideas in a variety of mixed media. After graduating art school, I focused on faux finish and mural work for 12 years. This resulted in my appreciation for layering and for different art techniques on large walls in residential and commercial spaces. Now that I am less inclined to work 20 feet up on a ladder, I am using all of that information on a smaller scale. Literally, I have started making fun miniatures such as pies and other mini “fake foods”. I also enjoy sketching from life whenever I travel. I enjoy using my own metaphoric language to tell stories on a variety of surfaces such as paper, canvas, and wood panel with a wide variety of mixed media.

Vineta: I practiced a lot. The more you work, the better your work comes out. I tried different techniques and I saw what I liked and what I didn’t like. If you don't try, you will never know. There is no wasted time with art. It's constant learning.

Artwork by Kelly Brown

What advice do you have for beginners or people who want to focus anew on their crafts?


Kelly: I would suggest taking as many classes as you can. Go out and buy some fresh art supplies. Get a notebook specifically to record your artistic ideas and thoughts. Keep a list of favorite words or favorite combinations. See something interesting? Write about it. Eventually, you will have a resource book for your various ideas and thoughts, which you can distill down into an artwork. Visit art museums. Go to local art gallery exhibits. Go to local art fairs and have conversations with the artists. Look for art on Pinterest that you like and create a board filled with art that delights and inspires you. Then, try to emulate what those paintings are doing with your own work. In the beginning, it will feel like you are copying, but eventually, you will find your own voice, your own techniques, and create art that makes your soul happy.

Vineta: Work hard. Show up at the studio even if you don't want it. You need to develop the healthy habit of working. Make art — lots of it — and keep working at it. Don't let other people negativity effect you. Surround yourself with positive people. Persistence is number one. As artists, we are very sensitive people. If someone rejects your exhibition proposal, you don’t win a contest, there is no answer on an email, and so on, you still don't need to quit. Quitters are the only ones who don’t make it.

Artwork by Vineta Cook

When you hit a creative lull, how do you reignite your artistic passion?


Kelly: I’m thankful that that doesn’t happen very much to me! I agree with the quote by Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” If someone is in a creative lull, I think they should immediately start “pushing some paint” around. Don’t stare at a blank canvas and let it intimidate you. I think it’s important to just get working and don’t overthink it. If you’re stuck, start making some abstract shapes and patterns and let the creativity and ideas spark along with that momentum.

Vineta: I change mediums. If I have a block in painting I take a break and I do photography. If I have the block in photography and painting, I do a drawing. This way I never stop creating.

Artists never have the same story, but they all have moments of inspiration and struggle. Hopefully you can find some inspiration in Kelly and Vineta’s stories as you follow your muse.

Artwork by Vineta Cook
Check out more of Kelly’s work and Vineta’s art.

Need a frame for your art? At American Frame, we love to help you frame it right! Visit our website where you can check out our Framing FAQ page or contact us for personalized assistance. Share a photo of your latest masterpiece on social media with the hashtag #FramingHappiness!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Get Creative with Personalized Framed Gifts

It’s almost that time of year again: The time when we get to show our love and affection for friends and family with thoughtful gifts. If you’re looking for alternatives to the tired gift cards you usually pass from person to person around the holidays, your friends here at American Frame have good news.

The perfect gift is one that’s unique, lasting, and meaningful. Homemade gifts are great options, but they often end up being too time-consuming to squeeze into the already-packed holiday season.

Never fear — the professionals at American Frame are here to make creating personalized, heartfelt gifts quick and easy. Here are a few ideas for how to capture your memories with loved ones and turn them into keepsakes they’ll treasure forever:

  1. A framed memento is a fun and unique alternative to a framed photo. Try framing a particularly meaningful poem or maybe an old family recipe to bring warmth to a kitchen. Adding a framed wedding or baby shower invitation can be a creative addition to the photos from the event itself that someone may already have framed, or it can stand alone as a hallmark of a wonderful memory.


  2. Frame a jersey for the sports fan or athlete in your life! This is the perfect decoration for the den or basement where everybody gathers to watch big games. Our Jersey Display Case makes it quick and easy — and it’s 30% off for a limited time! Plus, it’ll keep a collectable jersey safe from wear and tear.
  3. Put a special record in a frame to give a musical gift in a creative way. Maybe a couple you know would like a framed copy of the record that includes their “first dance” song. Or, for the music collector in your life, a beautifully, safely stored record or CD in mint condition is a lovely decoration.
  4. Create a shadowbox to showcase three-dimensional items for a unique keepsake. We’ve already walked you through framing guitar picks, but this method works for all kinds of objects. Get creative and you’ll end up with an art piece that nobody could buy in a store.

  5. Elevate your Instagram photos with specially designed frames. Those memories don’t just have to stay online where they’ll eventually get buried by newer ones. These real-life snapshots can feel fresh and personal in a way that professional portraits don’t.

  6. Create a collage to showcase a complete memory from all angles! Our collage frames make it easy to bring different photos together without sacrificing quality or style. A collage can showcase many photos from the same event or day, or it can show the passage of time with a collection of photos spanning years.

  7. Use a tabletop frame to showcase an extra special image or as a gift for someone with limited wall space. Tabletop frames can stand up on their own because of their depth and are available in so many sizes and colors, you’re bound to find the perfect frame! If you need an idea to get started, take a look at the brand-new Metallics collection for on-trend wood tabletop frames!

  8. Children’s art makes a fun and whimsical decoration when highlighted with a nice frame! Our colorful metal frames bring playful crayon art to life and make lovely gifts for parents, grandparents, aunt and uncles, and teachers.

Make sure your gift is as special as the person you’re giving it to. Our DIY framing kits make personalized keepsakes easy. All you provide are the memories!

If you create something inspired by these ideas, we’d love to see it! Share the result with us on social media using the hashtag #FramingHappiness

Need help finding the perfect frame for your gift? American Frame is the go-to source for learning how to custom frame photography, art, canvases, and memorabilia. Contact us for guidance on the best way to frame your gifts this year.


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Is the Best American Holiday — Even When It’s Unpredictable

To me, this is the greatest American holiday: I absolutely love Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving with our friends, the McCurrens
It’s the one day that binds our heritage with a focus on gratitude; a ritual opportunity to pause as a nation and celebrate our love for one another and how lucky we are to live in this great country.

Typically, Thanksgiving in our household is somewhat unpredictable. I never really know — until the very last minute — who might be joining us or how many friends (and pets) they’ll bring. I rarely know if I’ll have enough space to seat whomever will decide to show up, whether it’ll be a low-key event, or if the party might continue into the next morning.

The McCurren boys and their “pre-feast pass-out”
What I do know is that my family and I are fortunate to always have more than enough food and drink to entertain for that day … and at least a few thereafter. Believe me, having come from a clan that started with nothing but an idea and a strong work ethic, I always appreciate the simple pleasures of plentiful food, good wine, and a safe, comfortable, and beautiful home.

Little Fiona bossing our dog Louie
Michaela brought me flowers!
My dad often remarks that “Only in America can a poor boy from the north end of Toledo take a risk, work hard, and build a self-sustaining successful business.” How lucky we are! And who would’ve guessed?

This year should be especially unpredictable. My husband — the one who cooks on Thanksgiving from start to finish — literally just had his hip replaced two days ago! In his case, it’s the price of lifelong running and high school contact sports. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same? While surgery is never fun, we’re grateful it’s only a hip as opposed to disease and he should be up and about within less than a week.

The men and the customary turkey carving
Then our daughter Dana and her new husband Josh are expecting their first child around the same time. What if it happens that day? Fine by me! Some may be stressed, but I’ll happily call a “babysitter” for my husband, escape dinner, and spend the evening in the hospital to greet the new baby!

Why am I writing this and who cares?

Here is my point: It doesn’t matter. It’s Thanksgiving! No one is expecting a gift. Nobody will feel slighted if I can’t uphold our traditions. We’re lucky. And if you’re reading this, my guess is you’re lucky too. No matter what you’ve faced this year — the good, the challenging, the life-changing, the tragic, and even the innocuous — on this day, it’s gratitude that binds us. It’s part of our national identity and makes me proud to be an American.

My family all together is what matters most to me!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from my family to yours,

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Share a photo of your holiday custom — or a non-traditional celebration you’ve enjoyed — with us on social media using the hashtag #FramingHappiness!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Friday, November 18, 2016

American Frame Joins Forces with Carbonite to Secure Digital Image Files

Seventy percent of the professional photographers and artists who do business with us do not back up their digital images. As a result, we partnered with industry-leading Carbonite to protect our customers’ valued work.


Our goal is to help our customers secure their digital imagery. Digital images, like anything else on your computer, are vulnerable to a crash or virus attack. Many of our customers are serious art enthusiasts who spend hours taking and refining their photos for both personal pleasure and professional resale, so we’re going to give them the opportunity to protect their investment.

At American Frame, a leader in the do-it-yourself framing industry, we work to anticipate growing and changing market demands.

Carbonite is the leader in providing cloud-based backup and restore solutions to the health and financial industry. We knew it would be a natural fit for them to protect the valuable data of our creative community easily and economically.

Our statistics mirror national numbers about storing valuable memories in a secure environment online. The most recent Pew Research Center study found that only 37% of internet users store photos online. However, a Future of the Internet report found that an overwhelming number of people agreed with the statement, “Most people will be storing and working in a secure cloud-based environment by 2020.”

Carbonite protects millions of devices and their valuable data for individuals as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

“At Carbonite, we recognize that photographers, artists, and other creative professionals consider data the lifeblood of their business,” says Carbonite Senior Vice President Norman Guadagno. “We are proud of our partnership with American Frame, which ensures that creative professionals have peace of mind that digital assets are secure and available.”

Learn more about Carbonite protection and the relationship between Carbonite and American Frame.

 

Do you back up your work? Let us know how you protect your photos and digital artwork on social media with the hashtag #FramingHappiness.


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Meet the ‘Bearded Ladies’

The Bearded Lady Project started out as a joke.

Today, its creators are well on their way to a feature-length live-action documentary and a touring art display portrait series, the proceeds of which will go toward a scholarship to support future women scientists. But when Dr. Ellen Currano, University of Wyoming paleontologist, and Lexi Jamieson Marsh, founder of On Your Feet Entertainment, were having dinner in April 2014, the idea of wearing a fake beard while doing field work started out as a lighthearted response to a heavy issue.

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Looking the part

"You can imagine how shocking and demoralizing it was to hear Ellen even suggest — let alone state — how difficult it was to gain respect in her field for the simple fact that she’s a woman," Marsh says.

The two women joked.

"The only way to gain respect as a field scientist would be to put on a beard!"
Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

The more Marsh thought about it, the better an idea it seemed.

Marsh and Currano teamed up with Kelsey Vance, fine art photographer, and began reaching out to women paleontologists to find those willing to don beards for the sake of an art project with a message.

"All of the women who have participated in this project have been an inspiration," Marsh says. "I love reviewing their interviews, finding the common ground as well as where they differ. Being a successful woman can mean so many different things."

Completing the picture

The team previewed the first eighteen portraits from The Bearded Lady Project at the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver. Making sure they were displayed properly was a top priority. Vance, who previously worked with American Frame, knew we would be able to bring the right professional finish to the portraits.

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

"The ability to customize every aspect of the frame was very important," Marsh says. "We were working with large portraits, so to have the ability to decide the size, color, and wood type was very appealing."

And with their small team, the fact that they could have the frames shipped to them and just drop the pictures in themselves was a big bonus.

Each portrait is a 24- by-30-inch black and white photograph, and it was important to the Bearded Lady team that the framing match the organic feel of the work. Choosing maple for their custom frames was just the thing.

Photo by Kelsey Vance

"They were a wonderful balance of warmth to bring out the dark colors in the images," Marsh says. "We were beyond thrilled with the end results."

More than bearded ladies

For the Bearded Lady team, American Frame professional custom frames made the difference when it came to people taking the project seriously.

"Yes, we’re putting fake beards on female paleontologists," Marsh explains, "but there is a deeper problem we’re confronting. These portraits are really beautiful pieces of art, and the frames quite literally complete the picture."

Marsh says that the frame choice was driven primarily by focusing on the story they wanted to tell with their images.

"Our portraits were photographed to replicate the historical pictures of paleontologists past," she says. "We wanted something very natural that would not necessarily take focus from the portraits but would complement them."

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

And of course, if you aren’t sure what sort of frames would best complement your images, our experts are happy to offer guidance. We also proposed a winning solution to The Bearded Lady Project team’s slightly more challenging task of deciding how to frame the smaller, full-color images that were included in the show as well.

Not only was the response to the first eighteen portraits extremely positive but The Bearded Lady Project team has also since received multiple requests from museums interested in hosting the full exhibition when it’s complete in early 2017.

Photo by Kelsey Vance

Photo by Kelsey Vance

"I can’t even begin to describe how much of an impact American Frame made on our project," Marsh says. "To partner with such a great company was a dream come true."

Looking for the perfect frames to complete your images? Check out the great selection of metal and wood frames from American Frame, including these on-sale offerings!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fayum Portraits Are the Original Picture Frames

Frames have existed since the second century B.C. The first “frames” were lines artists drew around Etruscan wall paintings and those around Egyptian portraits of the dead painted on wood. These paintings, known as Fayum mummy portraits, have wooden and fabric frames around them. Archaeologists and scholars speculate they were displayed in the households of the deceased before being placed on the mummies.


Fayum portraits are considered the oldest modernist paintings and the origins of framed art. Artists created images of the deceased using a technique known as encaustic painting, which consisted of using colored pigment mixed with heated beeswax. The portraits would sometimes extend onto the cloth wrappings.


Artists painted the majority of the portraits on panels or boards made from different imported hardwoods, including cedar, cypress, oak, lime, and sycamore. They cut the wood into thin panels and smoothed the pieces. Upon finishing the panels, they would set the portraits into layers of wrapping that enclosed the bodies, surrounding them with bands of cloth. This gave a window-like opening effect through which faces of the deceased could be seen, essentially framing the portraits.


Looking for the perfect frames to complete your images? Check out the great selection of metal and wood frames from American Frame, including these on-sale offerings!


Ramon Keys works in the showroom here at American Frame. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Two-Dimensional Studies from Bowling Green State University with an emphasis in graphic design. Ramon resides in Toledo, Ohio, and in his free time enjoys watching sports, traveling, cooking, painting, and baking cupcakes. 
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