Picking the right combination of mat and frame for your artwork can be a daunting task. Most frame shops have hundreds of mat and frame samples, and it can be hard to know where to start. This post series should help to get you pointed in the right direction.
First off, not every image needs a mat. That's a topic for a different post. Here, though, we're looking at a piece of original artwork, so a mat is necessary for protection as well as for aesthetics.
This is a graphite drawing of a rose. In this case, the frame was pre-chosen to match another piece the customer owned, so our main focus will be on mat selection.
The first decision we have to make is whether we want a light mat, a mid-tone mat, or a dark mat. The frame informs this decision, so it is included here. The light mat is the traditional choice, and certainly would be acceptable. The mid-tone mat grays the picture out. The dark mat provides a dramatic bridge between the texture of the frame and the contrast of the image, so that's what we chose.
The next step is to choose the right hue of the dark mat.
The best match is the third from the top. But it needs a little something extra. What if we add a second mat?
That looks great! The thin white accent mat plays off the delicate lines of the rose, and just helps to break up the darkness between the background and the mat. And here is the finished product.
I hope this helps you to understand some of what a framer looks at when you bring in your art for framing. Check back for Part 2 of Choosing the Right Mats and Frames for your Artwork.