Saturday, October 4, 2008

Picture Walls: An Art & Framing Feature

A picture wall displays a group of framed items in a coordinated design. The frames may be of the same style or of the same color, but most often a picture wall includes a variety of different frames. The artwork may be united by a theme: vacation photos, a collection of sports memorabilia or family portraits. Or connected by subject matter: coastal scenes depicted in photos, watercolor paintings, old engravings, etc. Color might be the unifying factor as color-themed picture walls have a lot of impact, bringing the coolness of blue or the vibrancy of red into the room. Some of the best picture walls display an eclectic mix of sizes, colors and styles that reflects a range of personal preferences and experiences. Such a collection does not have to be limited to pictures. The arrangement can include mirrors, shelves and/or objects.

When placing various sizes of frames and art together, arrange each piece so that one outside edge is in line with another picture next to it, either vertically or horizontally. This technique helps bring a sense of balance to the grouping. Keep the space between frame edges fairly small, typically two to four inches. This will visually "gather the group together." (A great measuring tool to distance one frame from another is your hand...approximately 4” across!) The grouping can build from the center and spread out in all directions....or be developed into a rectangular shape. An irregular shape is very useful if you are likely to add to the items after the initial hanging.

As a picture wall involves several nail holes, work at organizing the collection on the floor in front of the wall where it will hang before moving the items to the wall. Many collectors cut newspaper to the size of each framed item and tape these mock frames to the wall with removable tape before attacking the wall with nails and hooks.

When hanging pictures above a sofa, consider that the bottom of the lowest frame leaves clearance for the head of a seated person. But don't go higher, or the pictures will seem to be floating instead of being visually attached to the sofa. (We suggest that you work with a partner to position art work....and the one that recommends the lowest position is the winner of the “space and place” competition!)

If there is not furniture against the picture wall, and if there are a number of objects to hang, the arrangement can cover the entire wall from ceiling to floor for a dramatic presentation.

Avoid direct sunlight or other strong direct light on the art. Keep track lighting and overhead picture lights away from close contact with artwork as heat from the bulbs can damage the art. Fluorescent lights (including the new compact curly bulbs)may cause fading of some artwork.

Molly and toggle bolts are usually reserved for heavy mirrors. And we personally (except for such mirrors) hang away from studs. Two standard picture hooks should be used for each item hung to "steady" the item.

I'll be happy to take your emailed or phoned questions. Our goal is to help you build a great collection of art...for your enjoyment.

That's all for now.
Norah Lynne

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