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Artistic Endeavors: Displaying Your Original Artwork

Jan 23, 2009

by lauratrevey handmade and vintage goods

1__.jpgThis installment of the Artistic Endeavors series is brought to you by painter lauratrevey. She gives us a how-to on the merits of original artwork and how to display it to its best effect.

Are you tired of your old dusty prints on the wall? Think original artwork. Pick a piece that speaks to you. If you’re going to pay for it, you want to love it!


Think different! You want to make a statement. Try a large abstract painting in a formal, more traditional room, like the one I’ve placed in the above image.

Mats and Frames:
Have your original painting matted well. There is no magic formula for deciding how wide a mat should be, but it is better to choose wider spaces, as it gives the eye somewhere to rest between the picture and frame. Small borders give the impression of a picture being squeezed into a frame that is too small.

Place a thick white mat and frame around any artwork and it will enhance its beauty. I always put my artwork in 3 to 4.5 inch off-white or white mats. Another extra touch is to use a double mat. See how the thin red mat accentuates the red crab painting? By adding a little color, the red crab stands out!

Have you ever heard of “floating” a painting? You may want to consider floating the painting in the frame if there is a deckled edge. (A soft natural edge that is compatible with its linen like texture.) When you float a painting the mat does not cover up the edges, so you see the rough deckled edge. You can also float acrylics and oil paintings.

So artists, take that extra step and present your artwork with added professionalism. Placing a mat around your artwork will give the buyer a better idea of what the finished product will look like. You can buy pre-cut acid-free mats at most art supply stores. I use for ordering in bulk. For framing your originals, I recommend finding a locally owned framer with whom you can build a relationship. They want your business and will usually give you lower prices than national retail stores.

Don’t be so symmetrical! Shake it up a bit and create an extra artistic element on your wall with the shapes you create with your grouping. Place an odd number and different sizes together. Think about your space. For instance, don’t hang a small painting on a large wall — it will get lost in proportion. Either go with one large painting or create a grouping, as mentioned above.

Don’t be scared! So many people are afraid of hanging artwork because they’re not confident that they’ve found that one perfect and exact place, and they don’t want to be stuck with holes in the wall. Just do it! You can always move paintings around. I do it ALL the time…

It shouldn’t be a chore — have fun with it!

Looking for more art related posts? Check out the rest of the Artistic Endeavors series and stay tuned!

Art Category | Print Category | Art Related Posts 

Home Interiors and Design Gift Guide | Art for Every Room Showcase

Hiking Trail, original watercolor painting by Laura L Trevey, 15 by 11
Hiking Trail, original watercolor painting by Laura L Trevey, 15 by 11
Coffee6 16x20inch original oil painting by Roz SALE
Coffee6 16x20inch original oil painting by Roz SALE
Painted Forest Pillow
Painted Forest Pillow
See this Miracle painting on this Southern Italy Ex Voto large blank card, so beautiful
See this Miracle painting on this Southern Italy Ex Voto large blank card, so beautiful
The Cork Jar- matted print of an original painting
The Cork Jar- matted print of an original painting
Boxer Dog 11x14 Signed Art Print
Boxer Dog 11x14 Signed Art Print
Geraniums, Original Watercolor Painting, 5 by 7
Geraniums, Original Watercolor Painting, 5 by 7


  • kmwatkins

    kmwatkins said 8 years ago

    Excellent article!

  • BluCille

    BluCille said 8 years ago

    Nice coffee painting. I'm going to get some coffee now.

  • sagittariusgallery

    sagittariusgallery said 8 years ago

    Great picks! Truth be told I don't mat or frame my work. I love the raw edges. The pieces I sell I either paint the sides as an extension of the piece (love those thick, 1.5 inch profiles!) or paint the skinny sides black. I love the natural feel of a painting without a frame. But that's just me :)

  • theeye

    theeye said 8 years ago

    I love the look of an unframed canvas too, Sag interesting article

  • WingsDove

    WingsDove said 8 years ago

    Original artwork, framed or not, is always so much more personal and unique than the usual stock prints displayed in the usual ways. I like the display tips in the article.

  • AlloverArt

    AlloverArt said 8 years ago

    Ditto to what sagittariusgallery said, the majority of my paintings extend onto the sides. I love being able to hang my gallery-wrapped paintings without framing them.

  • sagittariusgallery

    sagittariusgallery said 8 years ago

    Wings - most definitely agreed. I always like the look of a nicely matted and framed print :)

  • kristensteinfineart

    kristensteinfineart said 8 years ago

    Nice article and I love the artwork picks. I use the thick 1.8 inch gallery canvas for the most part. I don't frame these...but for works on paper or art panels, I do often frame them, or build wooden frames for the more contemporary pieces. Thanks for the links. -kristen

  • kristensteinfineart

    kristensteinfineart said 8 years ago

    Came back to see that coffee one again. Love it!

  • christinececelia

    christinececelia said 8 years ago

    good article- great picks!! Love the take my hand picture!! :D

  • ElenaMary

    ElenaMary said 8 years ago

    terrific that you are featuring FINE ART...thank you from all those fine artists who were feeling neglected!!

  • FancifulForm

    FancifulForm said 8 years ago

    You have my dream living room up there. I love it!

  • zombuki

    zombuki said 8 years ago

    Very good post, it can be overwhelming to layout a whole room of art!

  • AnthologiE

    AnthologiE said 8 years ago

    Great anthology, I love the colors in this collection. Wonderful tips as usual.

  • RozArt

    RozArt said 8 years ago

    Very cool article - there are many many choices on displaying art. And thanks for including my coffee painting!

  • MyTheta

    MyTheta said 8 years ago

    I love the artwork listed here! Thanks for opening my eyes to your art and the other artists listed above!

  • Sinta

    Sinta said 8 years ago

    Excellent article :) Thanks so much for the tips.

  • lynncyrart

    lynncyrart said 8 years ago

    Thank you so much, again, for introducing us to these fine artists!!! Love the article and hopefully this helps to bring a new appreciation for original artwork, which can be found all over Etsy! :)

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 8 years ago

    Good information. I still haven't framed a piece I bought here a hew months ago. Now I'm inspired to get it done!

  • CutieDynamite

    CutieDynamite said 8 years ago

    I love all the artwork Etsy has to offer!

  • amysfunkyfibers

    amysfunkyfibers said 8 years ago

    Thanks for the encouragement about just hammering a nail into the wall. I had pictures leaning against a wall for a year before getting up the guts to just hammer in that nail. It's amazing how much better pictures look hanging on the wall, instead of leaning against it!

  • nfall2rt

    nfall2rt said 8 years ago

    Great advice. I typically love to float my artwork in their frames.

  • livefunky

    livefunky said 8 years ago

    Excellent article! As a former picture framer I appreciate you mentioning wider mats vs narrow because it looks like you're squeezing the painting in. So true! I also love that you suggest visiting local framers. They need our business badly! Artists, they are also great to get cardboard from for packaging your art. Better that all those big boxes that mats and frames come in go to you rather than the dumpster.

  • CeeVeeArts

    CeeVeeArts said 8 years ago

    THere is such a depth of fine visual art here on Etsy. It is satisfying to own one of the unique orginals offered here rather than a reproduction poster print that your next door neighbor also has. Nice article.

  • Lundberg

    Lundberg said 8 years ago

    Ahhhh so refreshing to see some paintings! Love that there some original works highlighted and the article is informative for buyers.. very nice.

  • IndigoRain

    IndigoRain said 8 years ago

    Good advice!

  • beachhouseblues

    beachhouseblues said 8 years ago

    Good article!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 8 years ago

    beautiful~! wonderful read as well.

  • stonecoldart

    stonecoldart said 8 years ago

    art is life

  • Kellygirl

    Kellygirl said 8 years ago

    i love color ... i love everything from each of these artists!

  • J2Jewelry

    J2Jewelry said 8 years ago

    Great article!

  • julesmccorkle

    julesmccorkle said 8 years ago

    great advice! especially concerning framing raw edged paintings. cheers for original art!

  • JesseMosher

    JesseMosher said 8 years ago

    great art -and article . The Art in my shop doesn't lend well to matting,I paint on plywood and it is continued on the edges and ready to hang as is . I'm with Saggitarius gallery on that one . Prints though -and photographs, yes look great matted and framed

  • TheCottageCheese

    TheCottageCheese said 8 years ago

    Nice tips on matting. Excellent picks, some super works! Love the inclusion of the paint by numbers pillow, which I am peeved that I didn't get to buy because it's already sold!

  • CarryTheWord

    CarryTheWord said 8 years ago

    Excellent tips!

  • Softpencil

    Softpencil said 8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing these interesting tips!

  • rosetung

    rosetung said 8 years ago

    The general tips on matting are smart. But matting, framing behind glass I thought is not actually the proper thing to do with acrylic or oil on canvas. Works on paper- definitely. As a former picture framer, I say get the final word from local pro frame shops on what is most archivally sound for your particular work. And don't hang stuff where sunlight hits it! And, if you can, splurge on conservation glass to protect significantly more from UV rays!

  • Lunatiger

    Lunatiger said 8 years ago

    very neat...adding a matt board is always a nice touch...

  • UrbanSouthwest

    UrbanSouthwest said 8 years ago

    Thanks, good thoughts, I'll be having that coffee now!

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 8 years ago

    Great article - wonderful to see more arty stuff! My watercolours are all painted 'outside' a pencil line border (check out my watercolour ACEOs and the art on my fine art website if you are interested in my technique) Framing is for the owner to decide - I frame for myself - but my paintings have been framed otherwise by the commissioner - so try different ways, mount widths, creams/off creams and see what 'brings the painting out'. You will recognize the painting's true strength when 'tested' this way - it will suddenly appear amazing in one format, however, your art is for your eye - do it to please you, and like Laura said - never be afraid to make a mistake, it can all be redone / fixed / corrected. Art is to be enjoyed!

  • CoventryRoad

    CoventryRoad said 8 years ago

    I agree with rosetung about not using glass with canvas. I'd also like to ad that I used to photograph art for a museum newsletter, and that one of the easiest ways to get clear, professional results is to remove the glass from the frame. It cuts down on the glare and looks amazing!

  • ByDawn

    ByDawn said 8 years ago

    Great article. Framing is almost as important as the artwork itself. If its canvas, definitely go glass free. If its art paper or photographic paper, its all very individual. Regardless of size or colour, matting will only enhance your piece of art. Trust your local framing shop to give you advise.

  • treeartist

    treeartist said 8 years ago

    Very good advice.Thank you.

  • kristensteinfineart

    kristensteinfineart said 8 years ago

    Great work Laura ... So happy to have you as part of the VAST family of artists. Welcome aboard ... and don't forget to add VAST to your etsy tags. -kristen

  • lauratrevey

    lauratrevey said 8 years ago

    Thanks so much Kristen!!

  • artangel

    artangel said 8 years ago

    Love this article! Great work Laura!

  • artisticcreations

    artisticcreations said 8 years ago

    Great article with some excellent tips.

  • betsyryland

    betsyryland said 8 years ago

    Thanks for sending your article my way! It is always nice to hear from fellow Richmonders!

  • lilacpopphotography

    lilacpopphotography said 8 years ago

    sarahtakahashi is super talented! Great work!

  • MysticSilks

    MysticSilks said 8 years ago

    Great article!

  • RaysWoodworking

    RaysWoodworking said 8 years ago

    great info!

  • Linelle10

    Linelle10 said 8 years ago

    Beautifully constructed.

  • isewcute

    isewcute said 8 years ago

    That was a great article!

  • ohmywonderful

    ohmywonderful said 8 years ago

    thanks for the great advice! i have so much art in my house but only hang half of it. now i'm inspired to just hang it all and create a more interesting but not necessarily cluttered wall.

  • lauratrevey

    lauratrevey said 8 years ago

    You will be so happy once they are arranged on the wall!! Go for it!!

  • TheBlueKraken

    TheBlueKraken said 8 years ago

    looove deckled edges on watercolors.. i wish i could somehow do that to illustration board. i have so many things ive painted or drawn on cold press illustration board. good tips

  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace said 8 years ago

    FanTAStic article with really great tips. Love lauratrevey's work! Thank you for sharing. :)

  • lsad

    lsad said 8 years ago

    Great article and picks! Thanks

  • marysworkshop

    marysworkshop said 8 years ago

    Such a wonderful spotlight on art is really appreciated! The framing ideas are great, but I also love the simplicity of a wrapped canvas painting with the painted edges.

  • thehauntedstudio

    thehauntedstudio said 8 years ago

    Well said, I gree 100% and thank you.

  • RyansCreations

    RyansCreations said 8 years ago

    great tips! large comunity of artist here i consider myself one of them.

  • sannachristina

    sannachristina said 8 years ago

    Great article. I agree with the mats, I sometimes continue my painting onto it and even onto the frame. You want something original, that is what it is all about. I also love to hang unframed, as with a convex edge or a wrap around canvas, saves on the shopping!

  • ArtworkByDenise

    ArtworkByDenise said 8 years ago

    Great Article and Great information!

  • paint1chris

    paint1chris said 8 years ago

    Great article and well written. Original artwork is the way to go.

  • heronkate

    heronkate said 8 years ago

    Exciting to see this article about original artwork. And the framing of it. I also do acrylic paintings and if they're on gallery wrapped canvas [that's with the staples on the back of the stretchers, not the sides] they do not need to be framed. If the painting is on a canvas board, it does need to be framed, so there's a way to hang it. But acrylics and oils don't need mats or glass. Watercolors and pastels do need them, for protection of the artwork.

  • 2Martha

    2Martha said 8 years ago

    Love the article and some of the comments are really good! Thanks!

  • IronsideImpastos

    Jan Ironside from IronsideImpastos said 3 years ago

    Just found this! Love it!

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