When Swedish watercolorist Gunnar Tryggmo agreed to do a show with Turner Fine Art, we decided one thing would be missing: the frames. While the show was created with an American audience in mind featuring both North American animals and birds (along with non-native birds), we discovered there are cultural differences between Sweden and America in the preferred types of framing.
Gunnar informed us that Swedish audiences prefer a simple, modern frame that’s oftentimes white. This seems quite at odds with the dominant rugged, western style that’s native to Jackson Hole! Because of this, the beautiful works were shipped unframed and our clients now have the unique opportunity to perfectly tailor the framing to match the artwork and their own style.
If you’ve never had a piece custom-framed, it may seem daunting. Luckily, framing expert (and storefront neighbor) Dana Smith at Fort Frame & Art worked with Gunnar Tryggmo to provide guidance and recommendations on where to begin. Watch our video or jump below to read on. And, if you do become a proud owner of Gunnar Tryggmo’s work, Fort Frame & Art is offering a 10% discount!
Right away Dana noticed that the content of Gunnar’s artwork has an organic and natural feel. Additionally, in a majority of his pieces, the watercolor comes right to the edge and even drips off the paper. Rarely are there hard edges. Because of this, she recommends float mounting the artwork. This simply means that the art will have the illusion of floating on its own above the mat, within the frame. This allows viewers to see all of the artwork without cutting it off or creating hard edges.
Furthermore, the paper itself has variations to consider. The moisture within the paint and the humidity causes the paper to buckle, creating an uneven surface. Gunnar also uses paper with deckled or uneven edges. Float mounting is a beautiful way to display these unique variations. Dana also recommends using spacers so that the glass does not touch the paper’s uneven surface.
A simple float mount is an excellent option, but if you want a more formal look or want to increase the size of the artwork to fill a certain space, Dana recommends a double mat. This means adding a second mat with a window cut out to surround the floating artwork, but still not cover it. This is typically done with a thicker mat, e.g. an 8-ply mat, so that it is the same height or higher than the artwork floating within.
This is where your unique style really shows! While the wall color and room style are all factors to consider, it’s also important to select a frame that complements the feel and tone of the painting. There are plenty of frame styles to choose from and this may be overwhelming, but working with an experienced framer like Dana will help you narrow down the choices and select an excellent frame. They’ll be able to help you match colors, decide on warmer or cooler tones, the right thickness of the frame for the painting, and much more. They are the expert so on the technical details so you can focus on the style.
Last but not least is the selection of what should be seen least. Because watercolors can fade in UV light and be ruined with moisture, they absolutely must be behind protective glass. Dana’s #1 recommendation is museum glass. This will not only protect your artwork but is practically invisible without glare, letting the colors of the artwork show bright and true.
Of course, if you want to frame one of Gunnar’s pieces differently, then go-ahead! These are just guidelines, not rules, to consider. The key is working with an expert like Dana to be confident in your selection so the artwork is shown in the best way for your style.
A special thank you to Dana Smith and Fort Frame Art for providing recommendations and visual options.