I've been talking about frame choices with some artist friends lately. I find framing EXTREMELY challenging. Locally most artists use gold frames which really set off the local landscapes beautifully. That's what I use for my portraits because the gold can really set off the skintones in a portrait, and it is traditional but not heavy.
For my still-lifes however, after trying several colors, sizes and designs, I settled a while back on a thick black frame. The design of the frame I wouldn't catergorize in either contemporary or traditional... I would call it transitional, if I can borrow from home decorating lingo. The black seems to really pop the simple shapes and colors of my still-lifes and the transitional styling seems to compliment them as well.
You might think the frame doesn't make too much of a difference, but take a look at the two frames in the picture above. Both are black, but one is very plain and and only about an inch wide. The other is my usual frame, in the plein aire style, which to me looks like a black matt surrounded by a thin beveled frame (click on the pic to see it larger). Amazingly the artwork in those frames are the same size unframed (12" x 16"), but having that beefier frame really enlarges the visual size of the artwork and the slight decoration on the frame dresses it up a bit. The larger frame also seems to make the image inside the frame seem a bit smaller even though it is the same as in the smaller frame.
I think the most important thing about framing is that it compliments the artwork and that it fits in in the gallery environment it will be hanging in. Different genres of art and different gallery locales seem to warrant different styles and sizes.
Anyhoo, a gallery owner owner once told me not to spend too much money on a frame because 90% of the people switch frames anyway. I have to disagree, because the frame can really change the look and feel of the artwork.
Both of these pieces will be leaving the studio for the first time this week, as I plan on bringing them and the two below to the Monadnock Art Gallery on Main St. in Keene today. I wanted to post these two in their frames as well because the thick black frames really compliment them and enlarges the visual impact, but I guess you'll just have to go see them at the gallery because my camera is out out of battery.