Art Basics



In many respects, choosing the right framing option for your oil painting is as an important decision as selecting the painting itself, but is often an overlooked part of the process.

Hand-painted oil on canvas works of art are generally rolled and shipping in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and framing locally.

Choosing a decorative frame is a very personal decision and having the opportunity to see the painted canvas alongside the frame of choice allows the best opportunity to select the perfect framing option.

There are hundred of decorative frames to choose from and also other options without a decorative frame and knowing where to start can be a daunting task.

1. The History of Picture Framing

Historically, picture frames can be dated all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, with a wooden framed picture found in a tomb in Egypt dating back nearly 2000 years. Picture frames as we know them today first started to appear in Europe in the 12 and 13th centuries, and were always made of carved wood, and usually gilded. These frames are often works of art in their own right. This is the traditional picture frame that we all think of, and is what we see when visiting museums, where a large percentage of the paintings hanging are in very elaborate carved wood frames, with gilding, especially the Old Masters, but all the way up to more recent Impressionist works by Picasso and Van Gogh, for example.

2. Gallery Wrap Options for Contemporary Art in a Modern Setting

Not every painting requires an outside decorative frame.

A Gallery Wrap or Museum Wrap offers an very cost effective method of display and no external decorative frame is used.

So what is the difference?

A Gallery Wrap finish generally refers to a process where the image is continued so that it wraps over the sides of the wooden frame, known as stretcher bars, and the surplus canvas is stapled to the back of the frame.

Examples of this process are shown below:

Gallery Wrap paintings can be stretched on different thickness of stretcher bars from 3/4″ to 2″ or even 3″ depth, depending on the size of the canvas and also the room.

A Museum Wrap is where the image remains visible on the front of the frame, whilst a solid or white color canvas is wrapped over the sides of the stretcher bars.  In this case the canvas is also stapled to the back of the stretcher bars.

3. Floater Frames

Floater Frames provide a high-end look to any painting, either contemporary or classical.  A floater frame creates the impression that the canvas is floating inside the frame but not touch it.  Here you can see some samples of floating frames.  There is a wide choice of outside floater frames, either wood, solid color, gold or silver.

4. How to Select a Decorative Frame for your Painting

Often a painting will provide the answers to what kind of frame works well but any frame should enhance the content of the paintings.  If you have purchased, for example,  a reproduction Impressionist painting, then you may want to consider how some famous original paintings from this movement are displayed in Museums all over the world.

As a rule of thumb, larger paintings generally demand wider moldings but ask your framer for advice, as he or she will have a wealth of knowledge to share about the variety of frames available from a large number of suppliers.

Swinton’s Art has a great blog covering all aspects of framing and where to start!



It’s so easy to bring life and color into your home or office and to transform an uninteresting room into a unique and eye-catching space with the addition fabulous wall art.

We all give great importance to our choice of furniture and soft furnishings and so often the paintings we hang on our walls are an after-thought and the final addition to room.

Prints or Lithos are ok, but they can be expensive and they can never provide the integrity, depth of color and texture of real oil on canvas paintings.

Buying hand painted oil painting reproductions online is an enjoyable way to choose very affordable art by some of the world’s most famous artists.  Large online catalogs can give you the opportunity to view thousands of paintings and to visualize those which work together.

But where do you start?  Here are some tips to make the process easy.


1. Stand back and take an objective look at your room.  What do you want to achieve?

Does your room have a theme you wish to continue?

As an example, do you want to follow-through on an existing monochrome palette?

See for yourself how these striking large abstract-expressionism paintings complete a simple room.


Monochrome Painting

Monochrome Room 2

Maybe you want to introduce some color into your space with abstract oil paintings?  The photograph below demonstrates how easily and quickly a room can be enhanced with the addition of a reproduction painting.



2. Consider the options – one large canvas painting or a series of paintings?




This customer decided that a series of smaller paintings were the perfect addition to the public areas of his Guesthouse.  This idea can be applied for over-sofa paintings or for any long wall space such as a corridor which does not have a great height.


3. How to choose the correct size wall art for your room

Once you have decided on the theme or color of the paintings you need you can then decide on the size of your oil reproductions.  Deciding on scale can be really tough to imagine and we recommend this very easy method:

All you need to do is cut some old newspaper or butcher paper to the size you think will work and then place it on the wall where your painting will hang.   Small pieces of general purpose masking tape secured at each corner will allow you to stand back to decide whether you can go larger or smaller or you got it right first time!

Take your time – the introduction of art into a room is as every bit as important as any piece of furniture.

Be bold and don’t be afraid.

Other tools for selecting the right size painting can be found at

4. Don’t hang your paintings too high!

Where you place your painting on the wall is key.

Hanging paintings too high on the wall is a common mistake.  Your art is there to be enjoyed and viewing at standing eye level will allow for maximum pleasure.   Museums all over the world ensure that paintings are placed at eye level height giving visitors the very best possible viewing experience.

Home styling guru Martha Stewart gives her opinion on this topic:

5. Don’t be afraid to love the art you like

You may not know much about art but don’t let that hold you back.  Find paintings which speak to you and they will give you endless years pleasure.

You don’t have to be a wealthy collector or art connoisseur to choose great paintings to decorate your home.   Introducing art into your home is an opportunity to express a unique style and individuality.  In a room without a main architectural focal point, a bold oil painting fills the void, drawing the eye and giving color to even the most uninteresting space.