Consideration 1: Preservation
Watercolour paintings, due to the fragility of paper in general, need to be properly framed to prevent damage. As a highly absorbent paper, it is particularly prone to acids. Acid in the paper will cause brown spotting, which once started, will continue to get worse. And paper will always become fragile if exposed. For these reasons, correct framing materials and techniques are vital for a watercolour’s long life.
Watercolour paintings are generally quite small, so an acid-free foam core backing board in the picture frame is the best place to start. In the case of a larger artwork, the foam core can bow over time. To prevent this, an acid-free liner should be used between artwork and MDF backing board. This will soak up the acids from the backing board, so should be replaced every 5-10 years. The longevity of the MDF/acid-free liner depends on factors like atmosphere, moisture and temperature, so it is different for every artwork.
From there, use acid-free matboards (called mats, borders, surrounds, etc). All of Frames Now’s matboard stock is acid-free. Finish with conservation-grade UV resistant picture frame glass to protect the colour of your framed watercolour.
Be inspired by our framing portfolio
Consideration 2: Presentation
The beauty in watercolour paintings is their subtlety. Always finely washed colours. A framing design should never be so bright or intense as to wash out a watercolour. It should instead lend strength to the key colours and have a clean finish.
In the framed watercolour example above, a cool, neutral mat was used as the “major” colour. Highlight colours balance the deep blue and rich brown tones throughout the watercolour. These tones contribute to the cool, tranquil tones of the art, making them appropriate framing choices.
The dark / mottled warm silver frame reinforces the warm tones, but not so much as to distract from the artwork. Due to its metallic nature, the frame will always reflect its lighting conditions, and so easily adapt to whichever room it’s hung in.
For a properly considered frame design for your original watercolour, visit your nearest Frames Now store today.