Matting Aesthetics

Matting Aesthetics image 2
For good visual balance, the mat (or linen liner) and frame should be different widths, and the mat should be weighted. The weighting can be subtle, as it is for Look of Promise (acrylic, 20×24) by Ober-Rae Starr Livingstone. In this case the mat width measures 3¼ inches on the top and sides and 4 inches on the bottom. The gold fillet adds a thin strip of color.
Matting Aesthetics image 1
Double matting is one way of introducing a thin strip of color.

• If you want to introduce color, consider double matting. The colored mat should be placed beneath the neutral mat, and the windows of the two mats should be cut so only about ¼ inch of color is revealed (above).

• A delicate wood fillet is an attractive alternative to a double mat. The fillet, which fits inside the opening of the mat board, between the board and the artwork, can match or complement the color of the frame (top image).

• The mat and frame should not be of equal widths. Preferably, the matting should be wider than the frame (top image). If frame and mat are the same size (and this applies to the frame and linen liner of an oil painting as well), the eye tends to visualize stripes around the work.

• Generally, weighted matting is preferred. This means that the bottom of the mat is deeper than the sides and top. Weighting, even when it’s subtle, provides visual balance when the framed piece is hung on a wall (top image).

Neutral-colored matboards are far more sophisticated and au courant than any of the many colors available.

• It’s best to avoid snow-white matting, which tends to be dazzling and, thus, distracting.

Read the entire article, “The Fine Art of Framing” in the June 2010 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Click here to order the June issue of The Artist’s Magazine in print.

Click here to learn about the digital download of the June issue of The Artist’s Magazine.


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