How Do You Choose the Best Color for Your Frame and Mat?

The aim of this blog is to answer the questions that art purchasers have over the effecrs that colors, and their coordinated uses, have on the character of a room. I have been asked to explain how to coordinate the colors of a purchased artwork, as well as its potential frame and matboard, with the colors and feel of the intended room for artwork’s display.

It is important for you to understand that colors carry both instinctually primal and culturally endowed meanings. Together, instinctual sense and cultural comprehensions, will modify the character of your room and the viewer’s impression of your displayed artwork. (This includes all hues and tints of each color.)

Here is a brief and general summary of the meanings, both primally and within American culture, regarding each color:

* Peach or soft pink – Friendliness, gentleness, kindness, affection, mildly social. Some individuals prefer this color for diningrooms and bedrooms.

*Red – Intense emotion, passion, anger. Do not use too much red in a bedroom because it can cause restlessness and, in some individuals, tenseness.

*Orange – Raises appetite and encourages socialization. For this reason, many people prefer this color in diningrooms or family game rooms. There are some people who also view orange as signifying courage or ambition.

*Yellow – Sunny, cheerful, energetic, humorous, playful. This color is used in most rooms, although it is sometimes declined for bedrooms because of its energizing influences.

*Green – Nature, health, growth, soothing. This color is popular for most rooms.

*Blue – Loyalty (darker blues), fidelity (darker blues), tranquility, peace, restfulness. Those afflicted by depression or SAD should not heavily use this color for a room because too much blue in an environment has encouraged depression in some individuals.

*Purple – Creativity, pride, regal, skill. Light or soft purple has been shown to stimulate creativity in office settings.

*White – Clean, sterile, neutral, uninvolved. This color can be too intense or harsh if too overused and bright. Off-white and ivory colors are better suited to frames and matboards.

*Gray-Neutral, agreable, generational, stable. This color is good for offices.

*Black – Intelligent, educated, involved, mysterious. Those afflicted by depression or SAD should be cautious in using this color, because it can be overwhelming if overused and can encourage depression.

*Brown – Logical, rational, traditional, practical, solid, earthy. Wood, and its various tones and hues, have been preferred for centuries for framing many original oil paintings.

When selecting a frame and matboard for your purchased artwork, their color(s) should support or flatter the theme and main color of the artwork. The combined effect will modify the atmosphere of any room in which it is placed. With some awareness in mind kept to the meaning and influences of color, carefully consider the artwork’s combined appearance with frame and mat, and the main colors of any prospective rooms (whether complement or contrast) when choosing a long-term location for its display.

I would be happy to answer anyone’s questions about the use and coordination of colors in mounting original paintings. Please send me your comments and questions.

Charity Goodwin, Artist



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