…and what amazing things a little bit of shine does for art. Yesterday morning, I braved the not as cold as I expected weather to head over to framer’s workroom to get another couple of pieces framed for upcoming shows and entries. The two pieces – Almost Like Stars and Smear Painted Wax Faces (renamed in my head from Pink Hat Cowboy) – look amazingly better framed. There’s a “finished” look behind glass that paper works just don’t have otherwise. Both were framed with the same, simple dark wooden frame (a departure from Gun Appeal, for which I used an incredibly ornate frame to highlight the intended feel of the piece). The matting for both of them (ALS’ is a beige, flesh color and SPWF has a speckled off-white) really brings out the colors I wanted them to.

SPWF, in particular, benefitted from the surrounding color. His green eyes really pop out more than they did before. There are so many other colors all over that piece that they apparently really needed a firm, bright anchor around the piece to enhance the contrast. I can see his eye color from here, ten feet away. I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to otherwise. It’s a great example of what to look for in a matte…not just a color that looks good, but one that brings out the features you want to highlight in particular.

ALS, on the other hand, already has a lot of contrasting solid sections of color. Those didn’t need enhancement. What I was looking for, instead, was a softer color to help group in the contrasts and tie them together. The beige is almost (to my eye) an average of the rest of the colors in the picture. I was originally thinking of just using a neutral white, but one of my favorite features of the piece is the unfinished white area in the bottom right section of the drawing. It’s part of the whole experience and a white matte just wouldn’t have accented that at all. Going with something darker helps to reign in that big expanse of nothing and keep it part of the whole picture.

Almost Like Stars Conte Crayon PortraitSmear Painted Wax Faces Oil Pastel Portrait

I had forgotten how big Almost Like Stars (left) is (30″ high with frame) and Smear Painted Wax Faced (right) ended up being smalled than expected (21″ high with frame).