I recently bought a giclée print by the wonderful collage artist Jo Waterhouse; it’s called Hobby Horse and it’s part of her folklore series.  Having splashed out on the print, I bought an inexpensive pale grey frame to mount it in, but then had the idea to paint the frame to bring out the colours and shapes of the collage and integrate it into the art itself.  I was inspired by hotelier Kit Kemp who routinely customises the art in her hotels to make it unique.

To start with, I looked at my print and pondered which colours were the ones I wanted to draw out.  It’s not always the most dominant colours; often the accents.  I chose the black from the hat and the crow, and then thought about the pinks and reds on the hobby horse.  To see what a painted frame might look like, I cut coloured stripes of paper and laid them out around the frame to see how they brought out the artwork.  It’s a good way of playing around without having to commit to actually painting at this stage…

I decided initially to just use the black, so I carefully disassembled the frame so I could work on just the wood surround, and then measured out stripes around the frame starting with the four corners to ensure a symmetry to the pattern.  Use a pencil and rubber for this bit; despite believing my maths skills to be pretty infallible it took me two goes to get the stripes right!

I then carefully applied masking tape to cover the sections I didn’t want to paint, and mixed up acrylic paint.  I used black with a hint of white to ensure it matched the charcoal-hue of the artwork.  Two coats gave it the right depth of colour;

Of note; my frame has some texture to the wood, making it hard to get a sharp line of paint (see below); to correct this, I used a Posca paint pen to just neaten the edges of the stripes where necessary, once I’d peeled off the masking tape.  I chose to use a white pen to make the definition even clearer, but you could use the same tone as your paint.

Once the paint was fully dried, I remounted my artwork and hung the picture where we could all admire it…and then after a day or two I began to regret not using the pink too – so I added a second colour!  For this one, I mixed up a salmon-pink to match the colour Waterhouse uses in her collage and then drew freehand semicircles between alternate stripes.  Again, two layers of colour gave it the right vibrancy and opacity.

With that, my frame was finished – and I love the result!

Have a wonderful weekend when it comes.