Framing

I sometimes rescue paintings from secondhand shops or thrifts – originals that people have junked, not knowing what they have. Many are anonymous. I can’t figure out the signature (which is a good reason in favour of clearly printing one’s name when signing an original work of art).  It’s amazing what you can find. It’s also amazing what you cannot find – like any information on the author of the work. If anyone can help me out on that front, please do so.

Sometimes they come with framing and sometimes not.

I found a subtle watercolour portrait marked Don Quixote, very sensitively done, about six months ago is a beat-up black frame with a hand cut mat around it. The image is done in loose watercolour washes with blues for the shadows and warm tones of peach, rose madder and yellows in the warm tones. The eyes are beautifully drawn and the mouth and nose sensitively described.

Signature not clear: Kjariscal or K. Jariscal? Don Quixote, 2000. watercolor

“Never fear!” I thought, “I’ll just re-mat and re-frame it.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take it out of it’s frame. Oy vey!

It’s backing was a dusty, dirty pulp board – the cheapest kind of cardboard with no refinement whatsoever and prone to picking up moisture. It was full of acid. The mat wasn’t acid free either. Where it had touched the painting, the watercolour paper was going brown. Yuck.

It was taped in with brown paper tape – kraft tape, it’s sometimes called. The backing was nailed in with rusty nails. I don’t suppose they were rusty when they were first tapped in there.

This is just a reminder – a cautionary tale. It just costs a small amount more to buy acid free matting and backing; or to use barrier paper (an acid free paper that separates the work of art from a cardboard backing).

An acid free framing will last a lifetime or more without losing its crisp whiteness; the non-acid free will be brown in two years and spoil the appearance of your gem, not only dulling the framing, but eventually attacking the work of art itself.

My new acquisition is now looking crisp and proud in its new frame.

My favorite custom framing place is Final Touch Frames in Vancouver on the corner of  4th and Quebec in a blue warehouse space. They are reasonably priced; and if you have works on paper that need mats in the smaller sizes, there are a lot of pre-cut mats that might suit your work.

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4 Responses to “Framing”

  1. fencer Says:

    Wow, that is a very nice portrait. Quite a find….

    Maybe someone on the Antiques Roadshow would know! Not old enough though I guess.

    Regards

  2. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Yes, probably not old enough. It’s dated 2000. I just think it has some powerful feeling in it. I couldn’t leave it there, leaning in a stack of uncared for paintings.
    Thanks for your comment,
    K

  3. Jeannot Leenen Says:

    I would like to try and make a mosaic of it, would that be ok?

  4. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Jeannot, I am not the creator of the painting in this blog. You would need to contact the painter. He is the one with the copyright.
    Normally if you did end up doing a mosaic like this portrait, you would be able to enjoy it yourself but never have the right to sell it to anyone .
    I’m glad you agree that it is a fine painting worthy of consideration. Much to be loved.
    K

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