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The saying goes you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and of course the same is said of a painting. But. to be very simplistic, would Van Gogh’s Sunflowers look as amazing in a clip frame…OF COURSE NOT!!!

The frame is an intrinsic part of the painting itself. It should elevate the work, be it original or print, to a new level…it transforms it! It gives it gravitas and completes and compliments it.

I handbuild all my frames. This is a time consuming task but is such an important part of the process , thankfully my son, Robbie, has now come in to help me do this full time allowing me more time to create the works.

So, what, in my opinion, makes a good frame.

Essentially there are 3 components you need to consider:

  1. Material (frame & mount)

  2. Proportion

  3. Design (Colour & Style)



My main framing material of choice is wood, it looks classy. I always mount the work, usually with mounting card but occasionally, particularly with originals, I’ve used a thinner, wood inlay as a mount. (Image)

I glaze but do, on request, or if being shipped, use art Perspex. I don’t tend to glaze original works.

Most of my frames are simple and understated. Often single narrow or broader band of wood, glazed, mounted. The mount is useful device for being a ‘neutral zone’ between the colour of the painting and the frame itself. It can also add contrast.


There is no hard and fast rule or mathematical equation for framing a work. Putting it simply it either works or it doesn’t. My long thin sailing works have a wider frame than you would think would work but they do. Saying that one of my larger originals do tend to have wider frames and often bevelled. Which leads me neatly onto the next matter:-

To Bevel or not To Bevel

I tend to keep my frames simple but occasionally I do go for the deeper beveled frame. These, by their very nature, add to the depth of the work as well as hark back to slightly more grandiose frames of the past. (image bevel on loch long slice works because it leads you in)


I mount all my paintings. Sometimes I double mount, usually in a contrasting colour.


This is where it gets more subjective. Some customers like matching frames as a theme, others are more eclectic, some like it to match the walls, others like the viva la difference effect.

I usually pick out a colour in the work and choose a frame that compliments and enhances it. Usually my frames are black, deep grey, mid grey and light grey or white. Of course if a customer wants a fushia pink frame they can have it but I would strongly argue against it! 

Frame it!

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