How to Frame a Watercolor

Watercolor Apples and Pear

Watercolor of Apples and Pear floated in a silver frame

Watercolors are often subtle and beautiful manifestations of the artist’s creativity and skill.  They tend to be somewhat muted in intensity, and that softness needs to be considered in the framing design.  Watercolors are also very light sensitive, so conservation glass is highly recommended to slow fading. Conservation principles specify that the glass be kept off the surface of the painting so that any condensation behind the glass does not damage the painting.  And acid-free conservation mats and backing boards are to be used to preserve the art, of course.

Framing Watercolors – Design Considerations

Since watercolors tend to be softer in intensity than some other paintings, somewhat more muted mat colors are often in order.  Often the dominant background color makes for a good top mat, with one or more of the accent colors featured in the small reveal of the under mat.  Solid core mats often help with the low-contrast nature of watercolors, as well.  Frames tend to be simpler and under-stated to keep them from distracting from the painting.  Some people prefer white mats on watercolors for a gallery style look, and that can look good.  Usually a somewhat more muted neutral top mat that enhances the internal contrasts of the painting will make the painting look its best.  Stop in with your painting so we can help with the perfect framing design that will maximize your enjoyment of your watercolor!

Bartels 1937 watercolor in antique silver frame

Bartels 1937 watercolor in antique silver frame for a collector