Oh man, am I going to get it!

My mother has a 39 year old art and framing business http://www.theframingallery.com/About-Us.html,

my aunt has a framing business http://www.framingsofarmonk.com/Framings/home.html

and Jane just opened a framing store right on Main Street http://finishingtouchesri.com/.

 I worked as a picture framer for 2 years right out of college and then for 5 years through my family business.  I learned a lifetime of information on conservation, retouching, refurbishing, interior design, art history, mathematics, customer service, creative design and to always make sure the focus is on high quality and fine craftsmanship.

So what did I go and do?

I dishonored my family by entering a big box chain and purchasing stock frames.

I did it.


South County Art Supply is having their 1 year anniversary.  I am so psyched they are in South County.  Andrea, the owner welcomed me to display some of my 365 artwork during the festivities.  This is an honor especially after they have so graciously sponsored me through my whole journey. So,I need to display a bunch of art last-minute and I can’t get to New York to see my mom.


Well, I knew I couldn’t get custom mats made in time, nor do I really have money to buy custom mats since I am pretty much working 9-5 doing a 365 challenge for no pay.  I’m scraping here!

So as a framer, what could I do?  -GET CREATIVE!

  I decided to float my art.  This is where there is no mat board with an opening, instead the art sits on top of the board, hence the “floating” in the center of the frame.

But what if your art work has unfinished ugly edges?  Well, I came up with distracting my audience.

I went to the fabric store and bought a couple of yards of different fabrics and decided to wrap the cardboard.  Actually, I went to South County Art Supply and bought foam core because it is easier to stretch the fabric on.


I used stainless steel pins instead of tape so it doesn’t yellow my work.

And this is what I did all morning … stretch fabric, pin it, fit artwork into frame, stretch fabric, pin it, fit artwork into frame….on and on….

IMG_8977 IMG_8982 IMG_8986 IMG_8990 IMG_8995

By the way, I left the Windex bottle in the photo so you could have a gauge of how large some of these pieces are.  Pretty amazing I painted most of these in one day!!! These frames don’t even hold a candle to custom frames.  They are just plain black and white frames, but the fabric really give the pieces personality.  I just love the Madras plaid fabric.  It makes a very traditional still life funky.  I guess that is sort of my style -traditional funk!

OK. So down below is a flea market find painting of some carolers.  My mother bought it for me years ago because she thought I’d think it was kitsch…I don’t know, I have always had some problems with it.  One is that the girl to the right looks like Katharine Hepburn and two, is the mouths. Maybe they aren’t carolers, maybe they are a bunch of bullies picking on some little kid who they won’t let join them.  Right?  Don’t they look like they are mean?  I guess that is the kitsch part, but it’s just so weird….



Well, I held onto that caroling painting for many years.  The reason being – I loved the frame!

Today I put one of my own paintings in it and I just love it.  The gold fillet on the inside of the frame sparkles like jewelry.

This is a custom frame and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

You know it gives me a lot to think about, who is responsible for the framing?  The artist or the art buyer?

The reason I didn’t want to try to sell any work during this 365 was because I’d then have to worry about time to frame, display and all other matters of that kind. It is a real time-sucker and it costs a whole heck of a lot of money!

I think I will have to compromise and do a little bit of everything.  I can’t frame over 200 paintings to the nines, but my mother has already started to collect my most “stellar” pieces and these we will frame beautifully.  Then I will have art that is still really cool but not very “mainstream”.  This I will probably have to frame by any means necessary and then there will be my complete failures.  Those will go in a bargain bin where someone might buy them, later on in life sell them for $2.00 in their yard sale and then someone else will receive it as a gift and wonder what in the heck the painter of that painting was thinking!

It is all full circle!

Love you mom ;)


Like me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary


  1. Well done Mary !
    I see what you mean about the size of some of your art work now … the one with the jugs and bowl is way larger than I expected :-) Wonderful .

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