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Designing Frames

September 11, 2010

I’m often asked about my frames–where do I get them, do I make them? Sometimes I take a new piece to a show, and the first words I hear are: “Wow, that’s a great frame,” and I feel like asking “Well what do you think about the PAINTING?”

Actually my hope is that the two–the painting and the frame–go together and make a unified work of art. That’s why I have a hard time slapping on a prefabricated gold molding like so many people do.

I began designing my frames about eleven years ago. For a brief stint I even made the frames myself–but that didn’t last long. It quickly became clear that there were better craftsman/engineers than me–one of my frames split right up the middle. Also, it took time away from painting. Particularly when I only had one room to work in: I had to shut down all oil painting for weeks in order to build those sawdusty frames.

So nowadays I draw up the design and send it to one of my favorite framers. It used to be David Williams, but he went off across the country to shoot motocross video. Then I found another David–David Brown and his brother Scott. They’ve built quite a few, and at an extremely reasonable price. And they can pretty much build any design. Craig Samuelson is another consummate craftsman that has built some of my frames. And most recently, the gold leaf frames have been put together by Rett Ashby. Oh, and Amy just ordered a batch of frames from Rick Shorten, who does beautiful black finishes.

Here are a couple of frame spec drawings so you can see what I give the framer:

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