Reframing an Original Frank Harding Painting

Frank HardingThis small Frank Harding original painting was framed with a outdated looking 1970's frame.  The small size of the painting (22cm x 15cm) meant that the finished artwork was quite uninspiring.   We had some goals in mind when we set out to reframe this piece.  Firstly we wanted to reframe it to a larger size so that it was more suitable for hanging on a wall.  This meant using a mat to make the overall size bigger, which presented a problem, as a single large mat would simply make the painting in the middle look smaller.  Secondly we wanted to modernise the piece.  While it's a traditional Australian bush scene, we felt that with the right framing options it could be made to suit both a traditional or modern house style.   

 The first thing we did was to carefully remove the painting from the old frame.  Quite often pictures framed using older methods can be difficult to remove, but this one came apart relatively easily and with no damage to the painting.  Alone without a frame, it looked even smaller.  We cleaned the image to remove any built up grime from years of exposure (it had no glass on it).. 

We decided the best way forward would be to use multiple mats on the image.  A single mat big enough to give the end size we wanted would make the painting look lost in the middle of a sea of space.  Using multiple mats allowed us to break up the empty space and focus in on the image in the middle.  With the correct design, the mats would help draw the eye of the viewer into the painting in the middle.  We decided that three mats would be perfect.  Three mats allowed us to achieve the size we wanted and create the right focus, without looking too "stacked".

Frank HardingThis is where our computerised mat cutter came in handy.  Using the graphical interface we were able to play with the design of the three mats, changing the widths of each one until we found the right balance.  The computer lays out the mats on top of each other and shows you the results.  We decided on a 30mm inner mat, followed by a 10mm mat, then the larger outer mat.

An alternative here would have been to have used a fillet instead of the middle mat.  A fillet is like a small (normally ornate) frame that sits between two mats to break up the space.  We decided not to use a fillet on this image as we wanted it to look more modern.  A fillet is generally used with more ornate frames as it tends to create a more traditional look.   One of our major aims with this project was to modernise the image and frame it in a way that would make it suitable to hang in a wide variety of houses.

After the design process we cut the mats.  The computer is connected to a large flat bed mat cutter and it controls the mat cutting down to the millimeter.  We selected a nice complementary coloured mat and loaded it into the machine.

Frank Harding Two minutes later and our mats were cut to our exact design.  We stacked them together and used double sided tape to join them, and then larger tape to attach the painting in the middle.  It's worth noting here that all the materials used are acid-free so there is no chance of damage to the artwork.  The end result was exactly what we imagined.  Even without a frame we could see how the mat design focuses your attention in to the image by drawing your eye inwards.  It was pleasing to see the design concept working so well.

The next step was to select the right frame.  Obviously the colour of the frame needed to compliment the image, but we were looking for more than that.  We wanted to select a frame that both suited the traditional subject matter of the painting, but also modernised it so that it could hang in a wider variety of houses.  After a bit of trial and error we settled on a gilted gold frame with a modern profile.  This frame is part of a new range we have in the shop at moment and it really does suit a wide variety of artwork.  It looks modern but also suits traditional works.  Its versatility has made it very popular with our customers, and we decided to would be perfect for this project.

Frank Harding We finished the assembly of the piece by mounting it on acid-free foamcore to give us a good backing, and then making the frame to suit.  We added standard glass to the piece to protect it.  Generally if using mats on a painting, we recommend using glass.  It protects both the painting and the mats from dust and grime.  The triple mat meant we couldn't use non-reflective glass on the image as it works best when it is close to the image and the thickness of the mats would have offset it too much.  A better option would have been to use the new TruVue glass, as it is both super clear and anti-reflective, but it wasn't available at the time.  In any case, the standard glass finished off the image magnificently.  We think we met our design goals, the finished artwork is now big enough to hang on a wall, the design attracts your eye to the image and the piece would work well in both a traditional or modern room.  The finished currently hangs in our Clayton show room.

We'd love to use our design skills to help you with your reframing jobs.  We work together with our customers to meet their requirements and ensure any piece we reframe looks great!  We hope to see you in store soon to get started.