Monday, May 26, 2014

How to create a unified gallery wall of art in your home

Most artists I know (including me) are their own biggest collectors. Although I try to purge my studio periodically, there are still some pieces that are my favorites for one reason or another, so it's always a challenge to make myself  hang, arrange, and rotate art.

As part of my workshop, "For Love or Money", the framing and presentation of original work is a formal part of the discussions surrounding the business aspects of portrait painting. Selecting and buying frames makes the  most sense to me when it is done thoughtfully, so that several things are accomplished.

1. Standard sized art and frames creates maximum flexibility. I don't seal up the backs of my framed art with paper as many pro framers do - because I want to be able to easily and quickly pop pieces in and out of their frames.

2. Color and style of frames - consistent within groups. I have a batch of gold-hued frames, silver-hued frames and black frames. I also have these frames in simple plein-aire styles, simply designed frames and ornate Baroque style frames. But having a group of frames in similar color and/or style allows you to combine them indifferent ways to promote unity.

Other things I consider include: the scale of both the wall and the art; the color of the wall; and the type of lighting a wall will receive.

Below, this wall is painted a soft white and flanks a large window on the left - my friends Marlene and Eric Slayton came to help me hang the wall. (OK, actually I healed THEM hang the wall by holding the hammer and nails). This is the way the wall looks in natural daylight. You can see that there are a variety of different styles of frame, but they are all unified by their gold-hued color. Despite the face that there are quite a lot of different categories (several nudes, a large central print, some portraits and a landscape) - and media - (charcoal, pen and ink, oil, conte) the wall still holds together in a pleasing fashion. Most are mine, but the central print and landscape are by other artists.



 The opposing wall in this room is painted a bold and well-named color, Begonia (Sherwin Williams) and tends to bounce lots of strong ambient color around the space, much more pronounced at night when the overhead incandescent lights replace the natural daylight.The photo below is also taken under natural light. The frames on this wall are all very similar, a cool gold or warm silver in color.


And here are the two walls under the artificial incandescent ceiling lights in conjunction with the natural window light. This room has very high walls so the overhead lights are more evenly distributed than would be the case with walls that aren't so high.On the Begonia wall, the difference in the color temperatures of  the artificial (about 3500 degrees Kelvin) and natural light (about 6000 degrees Kelvin) are very obvious.




In my studio, though, the walls are painted a very desaturated cool greenish grey, middle value (Sherwin Williams, Anonymous) - they keep my studio from getting too much bright light bouncing about and also look great with portraits, since the wall color is a good approximation of the complement to skin tones. I'll add more on Studio color in a future Blog  post.




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