Here’s another landscape from Jamestown, RI.  In the fall as the sea grasses dry out, they turn this amazing orange color. This painting was actually from my 365 challenge, but I am only getting around to framing it now.

I’ve had positive feedback from my hand-painted picture frames, so I thought I’d share my process with you.

First, I begin with a completely unfinished pine picture frame.  I decide which colors I’d like to pull from my artwork and select paints accordingly.  I never want the frame to match perfectly.  Matchy-matchy bothers me personally.  I like to go with shades lighter or darker or sometimes even choose a color that compliments but is not actually in my artwork.


OK.  So for this frame I decided I wanted it to be predominantly white.  In order to achieve this, I need to paint a coat of white in between each layer of the other colors.  I begin with a layer of white, next a dark shade in the burnt sienna family, followed by more white…


…then a shade of metallic periwinkle and finally another layer of white acrylic paint.


At this point I have about 5 layers of paint on the frame.

To be more efficient, I generally work on 6 frames at once so that I am always painting one frame while another frame is drying.  For this frame, I put it outside in the hot sun and added a paint layer once every half hour.  The rest of the time was spent picture framing other works of art.


Now, at this point, the frame is dry, I’ve added the colors in a sequential order that I am happy with which means it’s time to pull out the electric sander. I use a heavy grit sand paper and tear through the many layers of paint.

The water-based paints make the grains of the wood swell up.  This is perfect because the sander hits the raised wood grains first unearthing my featured colors while still leaving the white in the lower non-grain areas. All of the knots and wood imperfections make the frame even better!

I complete the process by selecting a clear coat of acrylic polyurethane in either high gloss or matte finish depending on the artwork.


Now not everyone likes “rustic décor”, but I sure do.  It reminds me of the peeling paint on old New England homes, the driftwood and nautical remnants I find on the beach and of furniture well-worn and well-loved.

I will be the first to admit that my artwork is SUPER DUPER BRIGHT;  So, a lot of times these soft, worn frames are the perfect juxtaposition.

Alright, now all of you head down into your basements and check your garages.

I’m sure there is something you can practice on!


  1. An arduous process, but the results are extraordinary and perfect for your work. (You are wearing eye protection while sanding, of course!)


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