Frames and presentation


The image above shows a painting in a frame painted with Farrow and Ball's Mole's Breath.

Frames are made up by a specialist frame maker in Norfolk in a lightweight wood that has largely replaced Limewood for fine mouldings. I do not gesso frames, preferring to allow some grain texture to show.

Each frame is hand finished with three coats of Farrow and Ball flat matte paint in a selection of grey shades chosen individually to suit the painting. The final finish is beeswax from the Chain Bridge Honey Farm. I use a floating inner slip to protect the canvas from the frame and finish these white. All frame shades work well together when hung in groups. Canvases are fixed with offset clips which do not penetrate the canvas and which help to minimise tension and long term deterioration of the canvas. I never recommend putting oil paintings under glass: oil paints are surface dry within a few weeks but the paint continues to absorb oxygen from the air in a process of hardening and polymerisation that goes on for years.

Each painting is "oiled-out", a traditional practice that provides protection against dust and atmospheric pollution. Surface gloss partially flats off over time to a satin appearance. I do not gloss varnish paintings and do not recommend varnishing in the future. All varnishes need to be removed eventually and removal can damage the paint.

I use finest quality oil paints on artist's professional quality cotton canvas. I prefer to work with a knife and like the tooth of cotton. Long term conservation studies have shown that good cotton will perform as well if not better than linen. If frames get knocked, they can be touched up using a paint test pot. Gently dewax the area using soapy water, touch in the paint and finish the new paint with beeswax.