Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Framing on a Budget, Part 2: Mat Boards

On the Subject of Mat Boards….

Most of the stores listed in Part 1: Purchasing sell frames with pre-cut mats inside. If I don’t want to use those mats for the art I am framing, I will put them aside for matting prints, or other future artworks. If it is a single-layer mat, I can generally cut it larger if I want. (I have my own mat-cutting tools at home.)

Purchasing Mat Boards….

Art and Craft supply stores (Such as Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Jerry’s Artarama) will sell mat boards, pre-cut and the uncut large size of 30x40”. The prices at these places are in my opinion not worth it unless you have a coupon (my goal is framing on a budget, remember). If your area has a “discount art supply store”, check there for the uncut mat board. I live in Houston, and we have a place called Texas Art Supply. Their uncut mat boards are 40%-50% cheaper than Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Jerry’s Artarama. Granted, it is a “discount art supply store”, so they never have coupons or sales, because the prices are already discounted, every day. If you’re out of the area, you can order from them online. (Not sure if that includes mat boards, but all of their supplies are discounted.)

If you cut your own mats, always save the leftovers. I usually cut mats for 16x22”, 9x12”, 11x14” & 13x17” art, so can get at least 3 cuts out of each uncut board.

Framing Art on a Budget, Pt. 1: Purchasing

One of the questions my friends and customers often ask is, “Where can I find a frame?” I usually end up rattling off a list of stores I use, and explain where the best price is. When I frame my artwork to sell, I generally don't spend more than $30 on the framing materials, and I cut my own mat board. This saves the up-front cost of framing, and makes your art more presentable. Of course, some customers will prefer to frame themselves, and that is fine. This is another reason to budget the initial framing costs, or find out before transaction if they would like you to do the framing.

Here is a list of stores I use, located in the United States:

1. Big Lots - I don’t always find a good frame there, however I have gotten some screaming deals on pre-cut 16x20 mats ($3.00 each) with 8x10” openings. These I can cut to larger sizes if I need. Stock is always random.

2. Tuesday Morning - I have found some great 16x20 frames for $10-$15. Stock is always random.

3. Marshall’s & Marshall’s Home Goods / Ross / TJ Maxx - Great frames with mats included, and you can also buy framed home decor, and take the innards out to use the frame, glass, hanging hardware and sometimes the backing board. Prices range from $7.99-$12.99 for 11x14 frames. Stock is always random.

4. Thrift Stores / Garage Sales - Generally, I stop into Goodwill, and they will have either empty frames with glass, or framed artwork I can take apart to use the frame, glass, etc. One time, I was STOKED to find 4 matching black frames, 2 of 9x12, 2 of 11x14. This is always random, but quite often these frames are good solid wood core, and not the ligthweight plasticy stuff that is most often seen.

5. Hobby Lobby - I will only purchase frames from them if I have a 50% off coupon. Good thing is, they often have coupons and sales.

6. Michael’s Arts & Crafts - I will only purchase frames from this store if there is a 40% off Frames sale, which happens often.

7. Jerry’s Artarama - They never have sales on frames, (if they do, I am unfamiliar with it) but I have a rule, that if a frame or glass breaks, I will buy art glass (UV protected) and a better frame for the piece of art in question, if the budget allows. I will say that you can get standard sizes from Jerry’s of heavy wood-core frames for a decent price without a sale. I believe I spent around $40 for a frame with a 24x30" opening. The frame was gorgeous, and 4" wide You do then have to buy your glass and backing board, but otherwise I found it worth my money.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Painting of Fenrir

I was commissioned to create a watercolor painting of the Norse god Fenrir, with a similar background to my Morrigan painting . This customer had purchased "The Morrigan" from me in 2012, and they now requested Fenrir. This was a very fun challenge, as it took me out of my comfort zone of the human form. I went through several reference images of wolves to get the features and fur down.

Most artwork I have seen of Fenrir shows some of his most ferocious moments. However, for this piece I wanted to have him looking a bit more calm, waiting. In this painting, Fenrir appears to be waiting--almost patiently--for Ragnarok. He is bound by the third and final fetter, described here on"the gods had the dwarves forge the strongest chain ever built, which nevertheless gave the appearance of being very light and even soft to the touch."  For this, I used a delicate, winding knot work to tie-in (see what I did there?) the wolf knot motif behind Fenrir in the painting. The knot work motif behind Fenrir features a wolf, with the tendrils in an infinity-like formation. One tendril reaches up, caught in the jaw of the wolf, signifying Tyr's hand that was placed in Fenrir's mouth as Fenrir was bound with this third and final fetter.

Below are photos of my progression: