Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Seeing Red — Make a Fashion-Forward Statement

In pop culture, the color red is associated with a number of different emotions, from hunger to energetic motivation. By selecting appropriate shades and properly combining them with complimentary tones, this popular color can bring out the latter in your artwork, building inspiration and energy into your space. When it comes to picture frames, the best results are all about color selection and coordination. How do you make the best use of this versatility?



A good look at current trends is a great place to start. Because of the passionate nature of the color red, it’s easy to overuse, accidentally overstimulating the integrity of your artwork. In today’s design environment, red as an accent color is the most common decorating strategy. Designers will use red — either brighter or darker tones, but always bold — to bring the eye to the greater details of your pieces.

Our bold red frames not only accent the subtle detail in your artwork, they also add that extra punch to a well-decorated room. Depending on the look and feel you’re shooting for in your interior space, red picture frames can pair very well with black or white mats.

For a darker motif, go with a bright red frame and a black mat. For more contrast, combine that same red frame with a white mat. To keep things more neutral and blended, use either a black or white mat with a duller, softer red frame. Going for a more eclectic, futuristic look? Try combining a red frame with a variety of different blues. Softer blue hues will typically work best, but depending on your artwork and the color scheme of the room, a bright blue could work nicely as well.

To give you further ideas to work with, here are a few color combination strategies from various corners of the design spectrum:

Contemporary
Contemporary design trends toward using bright, bold reds as accent colors, rather than a base color. With irregular but solid hits of red, the eye is often drawn to aspects of your artwork you might otherwise miss. It brings light to the darkness and punch to the softer hues.

Modern
Modern design calls for a variety of shades from the bolder choices of contemporary design to dark burgundy or brown. Maintain the hues as an accent, but shoot for the darker, deeper tones.

Traditional
Traditional design skirts the bolder, brighter reds and aims solely for the burgundy and brown colors. This design style requires a more indirect approach, blending the red more fully with the other colors.

Transitional
This style relies on neutral palettes, therefore creating the perfect framework for pops of bright reds similar to that of contemporary design, but with a more subtle background.

Country
Country design leans towards chalkier, softer reds; think barn red. These hues might lean closer to pinks and purples rather than stark-blood reds.



Check out our red frames and pick the one that works best for you!

Ready to spice up a room with some red accents? Check out our collection of red frames in wood or metal. If you need any help, give us a call at (800) 537-0944!


Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and 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 dialog in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Teaming Up: A Frame Collection Made for Simplicity

Walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), I was awestruck by the vast amount of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts. I always go there with the intent to view my favorite painters’ works but am always sidetracked a bit by the sculptures as I make my way to the painting wings. It’s pretty amazing to think of the craftsmanship and hours spent creating those sculptures. With that in mind, when I view the paintings at the MET I can’t help but look at the frames that they are showcased in. Most of the frames are from the same time the paintings were created, and just like the painter spent hours putting all that work into his or her masterpiece, another artisan put in hours of work to create ornate frames to house those beautiful paintings.

I have a hard time not framing my own paintings. I feel like it’s the icing on the cake, the exclamation point to the story, and the statement that “this painting is finished.” A painting has to have a certain feel and look to it to look “right" without a frame. Ultra-contemporary abstracts seem to be the top non-framed works. I guess when I look at some paintings that aren’t framed, they look like they aren’t quite “done” yet. I feel that way with my work.

Tim Gagnon work
Painting by Tim Gagnon
That’s why, about a year ago, I set out to find a company that thought of its frame products like artwork. I have ordered a number of frames of all types from many different companies. I’ve only found one where frames are really artwork, a labor of love.

Like I said before, I’ve ordered a lot of frames, and I’ve had a lot of frames show up damaged — putting me in a bind for art shows. I’ve also had frames show up that just didn’t have the great bold touch that the images used to describe them implied. I have never had that happen with American Frame. The frames show up completely protected and just as beautiful as they are shown on the website. That’s why I partnered with American Frame to create a collection that I find gives artwork that exclamation point — without the stress.

Ready to make your pieces stand out? Check out Tim Gagnon’s limited-edition American Frame collection. Use code GAGNON20 and take 20% off!


I’ve always carefully selected the frames I use for my own art. I feel like you should frame yours in something that gives it that finished, high-quality look without taking away from the image itself. You don’t want the frame to compete with your work; you want them to be partners in displaying your story. So when I worked with American Frame to pick out eight different moldings I had that in mind, I wanted frames that were really high quality with intricate details, but sleek and modern enough to fit my work and yours. That’s just what you’ll find in my American Frame collection. These beautiful frames will complete your statement, giving your pieces that fine-art feel you’ve been searching for.

framed paintings

If you ever see the painting by Emanuel Leutze of George Washington crossing the Potomac in person, prepare to be amazed. Not at just the size of the painting, the craftsmanship, or the details, but of the frame it is housed in. It’s an enormous gold frame with intricate mouldings and ornate features: A powerful frame to house a powerful painting.

Having a frame collection is something that I thought about a lot. Having ready-to-go frames for my work takes away a lot of the stress when it comes to a gallery show or sending work to someone who purchases it. I know exactly which eight frames to choose from. I want that same stress-free picking for the people who follow my work and those who explore their own artistic expressions, too. That’s why I worked hard at picking out eight styles that are really high-quality, with great details, but not too overpowering for your work. Plus, you can customize the size to your specifications.

With American Frame, rest assured your frames will arrive in perfect condition, in a timely fashion, and they will always be there to help you if you have any trouble or questions. These frames are ready to showcase your art. I’m really excited about my frame collection from American Frame and hope you go over and check it out!
— Tim Gagnon

Tim Gagnon
Tim Gagnon is one of the top-selling online art instructors in the United States — and perhaps the world — with over 25,000 students. He started his art career selling his paintings online directly to buyers. After a few years of painting and selling, he recorded a time-lapse video of the creation of one of his paintings, posted it to YouTube, and the rest is history.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Picture a Look You’ll Love: Plunge into DIY

love diy
The do-it-yourself (DIY) phenomenon is not new. The idea that all of us can be self-sufficient without having to hire professionals to do our work is rooted in the 1950s in the context of home improvement. By the ‘70s, the movement gained some ground within the middle class as an attitude of experimentation and rule breaking, and cost consciousness spread.

Today, DIY is estimated to be a $16 billion industry that encompasses an amazingly wide variety of activities, ranging from the tiling and pluming of bathrooms to the construction of raised garden beds, fences, and trellises, and changing out electrical fixtures to properly painting a wall. Think about it: The average American spends about $50 each year on supplies that fit this category. DIY is BIG.

Who knew?

The motivations of the “DIYer” are as varied as the activities he or she undertakes — including the satisfaction of being one’s own craftsperson or contractor. With DIY, we control everything: the look, the feel, the quality, and, of course, the cost. The DIY attitude generally is “If someone else can do this, why can’t I?

Ready to start designing your next DIY project? Check out our DIY framing tutorials, or contact us at 800.537.0944.


Granted, any project done well takes planning, creativity, a big dose of patience, sometimes some training, and, in the end, the commitment to a result. Some skills are more easily obtained than others. I, for one, have no interest in learning how to plumb, but I do want to know how to tile; I know how to paint and I definitely know how to frame.

Yes, surprise! This is where the conversation is going.

diy frame project

DIY framing is one of those ideas that emerged as a reality in the ‘70s and is a skill that all photographers, artists, and creative home decorators absolutely need in the 21st century. Why? We have imagination. We have attitude. We have a commitment to quality and a need to operate our lives economically. We don’t need others to dictate our tastes, our styles, or our budgets. This is exactly why we DIY and invite you to do the same.

Designing a custom look for your paintings and pictures, photography and memorabilia is simply a few mouse clicks away. My team and I work hard to provide a mix of the highest quality products with a seamless online interface that makes creating a look you will love simply fun.

Please join us for a year of learning the ins and outs of DIY custom picture framing. The content we have planned for 2016 will entertain you, satisfy you, and challenge you to look at framing in a whole new light.

Happy New Year!

beautiful frame

Laura Jajko
Laura Jajko is President of American Frame and 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 dialog in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Interview with Peter DeWood – Featured Artist August 2015

Peter DeWood is an artist and professional chef, inspired by his practice of Buddhism. The paints in the tradition of the Sumi-e brush artists, primarily on handmade mulberry paper from Thailand or cold press watercolor paper. A self-taught artist, he felt that he had to rebel against himself in a sense in order to paint in an authentic, free and self-expressed manner. He had to break through his own personal boundaries and blockages. In his own words: “When I started doing this art practice I was doing small pieces and it was very calculated and I was trying to emulate images I saw and copy styles and forms and as that grew over the years, the short few years I’ve been doing it, I’ve learned to trust myself and just let the artwork do itself.”  What I found personally fascinating is how his spiritual practice grounds him and frees him at the same time so that the art can materialize.



Peter takes a disciplined approach to his work and guards his daily routine in his studio. Sometimes he works for 15 minutes and other times he works for hours on end, so although the time in the studio may vary, the daily commitment does not. Often he’ll have 5-6 pieces of paper lined up and paints both simultaneously and concurrently, capitalizing on the Zen aspect of the process. He has an interesting way of dealing with creative blocks. He doesn’t ignore the block but ‘sits’ with it, meditates and allows it to work through on its own. 
In my interviews, I always like to know what the artist considers the biggest accomplishment in his or her career thus far. For Peter, it was being recognized by one of the Zen master painters, Max Gimblett of New Zealand, who Peter had reached out to for critique of his work and as a result, enjoys the friendship and support of the master.
For more on Peter DeWood…

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Interview with Britanee LeeAnn Sickles– Featured Artist May 2015

Britanee was our May 2015 Featured Artist Contest winner. A recent graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design and new to the Toledo area, she learned about American Frame and our contest via a local artists group, PRIZM.

Classically trained in drawing and painting, she is captivated by the figure and works in portraiture and is most interested in the historic period between the late 1880s up to 1960. Raised as a Catholic and inspired by a trip she took as a young girl to the Vatican, she is heavily influenced by the iconic art of the church and is now merging that interest with her fascination with old Hollywood in her next series which she calls her ‘Celebrity Sainthood’ series as a social commentary on how we revere our ‘stars’ in American culture.

"Cheerio" by Britanee Sickles


 About her winning piece: “Cheerio,“  Britanee says “I have always been inspired by the past and this is evident in the painting. I wanted to capture a look of a smug aristocratic gentleman. Making people wonder who is this man and what is his place in society.”

Read Britanee's entire interview.

Monday, December 14, 2015

DIY on a Budget: Framing Wrapping Paper

This simple, DIY tutorial explains how to frame pieces of wrapping paper, which can result in high-style artwork that can be hung for the holidays or kept on the walls all year long. You can even switch out the papers being used depending on the season, or keep the frames to use with other artwork later on.

Here are the framing elements we used in this tutorial.

Version One:
S52 Bright White Metal Frame Standard
E4709 Extreme White Mat Board
Standard Mounting Board
Standard Acrylic

Version Two:
SP302 Frosted Silver Metal Frame Standard Plus Three
SP304 Frosted Gold Metal Frame Standard Plus Three
8002 Silver Alphamat Artcare
8003 Gold Alphamat Artcare
Standard Mounting Board
Standard Acrylic

Gather the following materials:
Metal frames, mat board, acrylic, and mounting board of your choice
Screwdriver (for metal frames)
Wrapping paper (we got ours from Haute Papier, here)
ATG gun or double sided tape
Extra mounting board, which will be cut into strips later on (See Version Two, below)





Note: the same look can be achieved with wood frames. The beauty of DIY framing is that you get to pick the materials that suit your needs, style or budget.

To make this project more economical, we chose to use some basic metal frames.

Version One:
1. First, assemble three sides of the metal frame using a screwdriver. Do not attach the final side; the artwork needs to be able to slide into the frame’s channel.



2. Cut the wrapping paper to fit the size of the mounting board used in the frame. Our frame is 6” x 6” so we cut a 6” x 6” section of wrapping paper.

3. Apply ATG or double sided tape to the mounting board, along the edges. Make an X in the middle, going corner to corner. Carefully adhere the wrapping paper to the mounting board. Be careful to lay the paper on the mounting board evenly and smoothly; once the paper touches the tape, it is impossible to remove.



4. Place the mat board on top of the mounting board. For this project, the mat board will not be attached to the mounting board so that the mat board can be reused later if you want to switch out the paper for another pattern or another piece of artwork.



5. Peel one side of the acrylic and place that side on top of the art stack (art stack= mat board and mounting board). Now, peel the protective paper from the top of the acrylic like so:



Note: if using non-glare, UV, or UV non-glare acrylic, make sure you to pay attention that the correct side is facing outwards. The labels on the protective paper guide you to let you know which side faces out.
6. Place the art stack into the frame’s channel



7. Attach the final side of the metal frame and tighten the corner brackets with a screwdriver.



8. Add spring clips to the back of the frame. This keeps all the materials in the frame’s channel pushed towards the front to ensure none of the artwork shifts or falls out.
9. Add the hanging hardware and foam bumpers and you’re ready to hang!



Version two:
If you’d like to add another element to this project, consider making spacers to create depth. First, make sure the frame you are using allows you to add more material in the art stack. Some frames may be too shallow. The use of spacers will raise the mat board away from the wrapping paper and give the frame more dimension.

Follow steps 1-3 from Version One above.

Cut strips of mounting board 1” wide. Typically, you could use 4 strips (one for each side), but we wanted to make a more dramatic depth, so we doubled the strips. Two for each side, so we will need 8 per frame. Tape pairs of strips together using double sided tape.



Put tape on the backs of the mounting board strips and attach to the front of the wrapping paper.

 
 


Place the cut piece of mat board on top of the spacers. This is how it will appear from the side.



Finish the framing treatment by following steps 5-9 from Version One, above.



These finished pieces are budget-friendly, high-style examples of what can be created with DIY picture frames. Create multiples to hang as a group in a gallery wall or just hang one or two and switch them out with the season, mood, décor, or feeling of the room. The choice is yours!

We love hearing from you. Share your finished projects with us on social media and use #framinghappiness to connect with us!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Interview with Deborah Angilletta– Featured Artist June 2015

Deborah is yet another artist who started painting in watercolor later in life, about 15 years ago after retiring from her phone company job where she worked for 32 years. A natural art entrepreneur, she operates out of her small studio in Schenectady, New York and today works mostly in oil and acrylic.

Putnam Creek, Early Spring by Deborah Angilletta


Previously educated in graphic design, she often constructs her ideas in Photoshop before she takes a brush to paper. Her subject matter is the landscape in her immediate environment, which to her, never grows old. Although Deborah tends to be a very detailed oriented painter she is challenging herself to become more minimalist like her idols Marc Bohne, Doug Fryer, George Innes and Richard Schmid.
When asked how she knows when a work is completed, Deborah responds:
“When you can’t really add anything more that is supporting what your idea was, it’s time to stop. I notice when I start really slowing down on a painting that it’s time to step back and there’s a good chance I’m really close to being done at that point. I’ve ruined tons of paintings by not stopping soon enough.”
I hope you enjoy reading about Deborah. She has an exuberance for life and her art that is captivating and unusually inspiring.

Read Deborah's interview, here.
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