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Framing

Framing not only completes the painting, it acts as support and protection; this is especially so with encaustic. A frame does not need to be overly extravagant, rather simple and functional. This simplicity minimizes the impact on the visual experience of the art, protects the painting, fulfills the dealer's requirements, and presents the work professionally. I will be focusing on framing encaustic; however, this information may help serve those framing other mediums.

Framing an encaustic painting should begin when deciding and preparing what to paint on. Listed below are a few of the common choices for surfaces and how to prepare them for framing- before you begin your painting.

Plywood Panel: This is my preferred choice for surfaces; relatively inexpensive, stable, and easily available. Commercial panels are often made of cradled masonite or similar product; however, choosing a quality plywood is often a lot less expensive and doesn't require the cradle. The disadvantage comes when painting large, it weighs more than cradled panels equal in size.

Preparation is simple, just cut to size. There is no need to do anything else; except choosing a stable piece of wood. Cleaning (sanding edges, etc.) the panel up is suggested but not necessary. If you prefer not to frame your panel it is suggested that you sand the exposed edges and make sure the panel you have chosen has no (unintentional) major defects that would distract from the art.

I prefer to alter my panels; allowing the painted surface to be free of the frame; however this requires a circular saw and some light woodworking skill. Additionally this will require a deeper frame which I also make myself. But, if you lack the ability to custom make your panels and frames, this doesn't mean relying on expensive commercial product (e.g. cradled panels).

Cradled Panels: This type of panel generally frames up the same as plywood and comes in many brands, types, uses and purposes. They are all essentially the same, yet may employ another material or ground; paper, clay, gesso, etcetera are all examples of the additional layer. It is good to note that cradled panels often come in different depths or thicknesses. The depth may vary and is often superficial, acting as the body of the painting; often left bare or unframed. Additionally, many artists choose to paint this deep edge to give their painting some three dimensionality; but this is not recommended for encaustic- or in my opinion, in any painting medium for that matter. The reason being: the edge is a very fragile area and unless great measures are taken to protect this edge during transportation, storage, or what-not- it can be extremely easy to damage.  Lastly, be wary of this product, cradles are often made of quality lumber, but the surface (unless specified to be made from a sound hardboard product) can often be masonite or other composite that have their own issues (check with the manufacturer). When making your own panels, choose plywood over a composite unless you are aware of the facts/details in the specified product. For more info on masonite or other composites read Wood (Includes MDF, Masonite, etc.)

Paper: Read Watercolor Paper

Canvas: Read Canvas

Remember if you choose not to alter your panel and you will be framing it, that a traditional frame with a rabbet will touch the surface of the painting about 1/4 of an inch around the edge; depending on the frame. Frames without a rabbet will require you to clean the edge prior to framing.

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Revisiting old topics and filling in holes is quite a chore, yet a necessary one, one that will offer more quality information. For example: recent activity and questions surrounding hardboard and/or masonite, has directed our attention to fill in the blanks on that topic (currently under revision/addition), as well as, more about gesso (specifically encaustic gesso) and other topics (search the tabs), all are in the works. 

Prior years were to get as much general information as possible up and available- a starting point. More and more however, new topics are focused and detailed, and old ones will be getting revisiting; removing any possibility of confusion. 

I should point out that this is a one person operation (takes me awhile to get around to everything, ohh yeah, I should make some art), Anyway, where was I?, oh! one person operation..., even though I tend to refer in posts and topics as we, it is to remove the need to revisit things later when it really is we. All of this whilst working, making art, and whatever may be the case.

As always, I welcome any opinions, comments, and questions- simply contact me.

Thank you
Sincerely
Jonathan Parks