I am wondering what the standard requirements are for juried shows in watercolor, Matting and framing have me confused. Sometimes a standard white mat just does not do a painting justice. I am sure this has been covered before somewhere on this site but I'd sure appreciate the advice of someone who's been there, done that, It has been suggested that I try for some of the more respected watercolor societies in my area and frankly, I'm a little daunted.
umm...what is matting ?
Matting is used mainly with watercolor and pastel paintings to protect them from the glass in the frame.
Deborah, first I am not an expert but when I showed my watercolors each juried show would have their specific requirements, example: size limits, size limits that required Plexiglas instead of glass. As a general rule watercolors are shown with a simple white or off white mat, glass or Plexiglas and a simple frame. The watercolor painting was to be the focus not how well the matting and frame looked. The Judge wants to see your painting. But after saying all of this, I had a watercolor juried into a show that was free-floating on a bluish gray paper in an off the rack mat and frame. Go figure! One of the great things about the internet is the ability to go to each of the watercolor societies and read their prospectus for each show. I've seen your work and I think you ought to try entering your work in area watercolor societies. Good luck
Sharon was correct on all points. I enter watercolor national exhibitions often and I'm familiar with most of the specifications for entry and hanging. Every show has its version of the requirements but they are still very similar to each other. Your first step is to read the exhibition prospectus carefully. After having to re-mat and on occasion reframe pictures for exhibit specifications, I use a method of matting and framing that works for most exhibitions.
As Sharon mentioned, always use plexiglas for glazing rather than glass. That is a must. It is specification in all large watercolor exhibits. Most shows specify that the frame be simple and many exhibitions specify a narrow molding width. Personally, I use 1.25" molding width as a maximum.
Most shows require white or off-white mats. Some allow a thin-width accent color mat as one of the inner mats. Now, I believe some shows are specifying only two mats. Personally, I use two white mats. In almost all cases, I use a 3/8" to 1/2" inner mat and a 3" to 3.5" outer mat on all sides. Be sure that the mats and backing board are acid-free. You stated that you thought white or off-white mats didn't do a painting justice. A lot of people would agree with you. However, this is what they are asking for. After using white mats for a while, I've started to prefer them. I have a large painting with three white mats. The two narrow inside mats almost look like embossing.
One other important thing is that most shows have a restriction on the over-all size of the work framed. In most cases this limitation is 40" as the longest measure for width or height. I work just inside of a full sheet and this poses no problems. It is still good to figure the total frame size when planning the size of your painting.
When you ship your paintings, you will be expected to ship in a container that can be used for returning the picture. Also, no peanut type of padding or filler can be used in the package. Your best bet for shipping is a "Strong Box" manufactured by Airfloat Systems (www.airfloatsys.com ). "Strong box " containers are made to ship paintings. Your painting is countersunk in foam rubber with a layer of foam rubber top and bottom. And the best thing is that they are tough and can be used for several shows.
Thanks Sharon, I appreciate the input.. Also, the nice comment :) I am going to try to submit something but I"ll have to find out about the plexiglass thing. I might have to make some adjustments!
Great information, Paul, thanks for sharing it.
Thanks to you also, Paul. Really great info. I appreciate the time you took . I will follow your advice. Now to the store for plexiglass in various sizes:)
Given that I also participate in art festivals, buyers seem to prefer the white or off-white mats and simple frames, as the painting will immediately hang nicely where they envision it.
I try to keep my paintings standard sizes, as the costs for custom frames and mats can become ridiculously expensive. And, if I would want to change out a painting, using standard sizes makes it much easier.
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really good information paul.
have never used plexiglas before. have you ever had any problems with the surface scraching? i would like to give it a try. the cost of glass is just getting out of hand.
Plexiglas is more expensive than glass and yes, Plexiglas can scratch. However, if you are planning to enter any watercolor society exhibitions, Plexiglas is one thing they all insist upon. This is because glass can break easily in shipping. Almost all of my paintings have been shipped several times and have been handled in exhibits and I have not noticed any scratching.
It should be noted that the matting and framing information I posted is in reference to the requirements for most of the watercolor society exhibitions in this country. If you are not thinking of entering such an exhibit these specs can still be used as a general guideline.
Patrick, I've seen your work and it is very good. This would be a good time to start thinking of watercolor society exhibits. However, if you do not plan to enter such exhibits —or if you do not have the need to ship your work, use glass for framing.
Plexiglas more expensive than glass? wow. I was hoping it would be cheaper. I am really looking for a cheaper alternate to glass. I feel my work is not quite there yet for interning into the watercolor society. maybe someday soon.
I appreciate you sharing your great knowledge of the wonderful world of watercolor.
I'm trying to enter a watercolor show that requires Plexiglas on paintings over a certain measurement. I am having trouble finding the larger size that I need. I have not been able to locate a place, even on the internet, that has a 35 x 30 size - the largest I have found is 32". Any suggestions on where larger Plexiglas can be found?