Monday, January 30, 2012
Matting: The Presentation of Works on Paper
In the studio, I have a flap mat I use to check the composition of my works on paper and to get an idea of what they would look like framed. My "working" flap-mat has convinced me that works on paper must be matted to be considered finished--and to be safely stored, or better yet, to be shipped off to some highly intelligent person who knows talent when she sees it. A professional presentation is everything.
I have a few opinions about matting artwork.
I prefer white or off white mats to colored ones. A colored mat selected because it picks up one of colors in the painting sort of becomes an extension of the painting, instead a space allowance that lets the painting breathe before it's framed in solid. White makes the shadows deeper and the lights brighter; it enhances the colors.
I prefer a flap-mat. It protects the painting for both storage and shipping. It looks important. From a customer's viewpoint: Pulling a matted painting out of a padded shipping envelope is more of an immediate WOW than pulling a painting sandwiched between two pieces of brown cardboard. The matted presentation lets the buyer knows she bought something special from a professional artist and her money was well spent. Plus her artwork is frame-ready.
Matted paperworks send a professional image out into the world. --And to really put forth a professional image, you can't beat the look of a double white window mat; the break-line between the cantilevered mats adds dimension, an architectural element, an element of sophistication.
All of this finished packaging does add to the cost of the painting, which of course would be reflected in the retail pricing of the painting. Production and presentation of original works on paper go hand-in-hand. --I think I made a business decision here that makes painting my little warm-up watercolors a bit more complicated. It's so much easier to just paint them, enjoy the doing of it and then store them in a portfolio on a shelf. The added aesthetics make it worth it though.
[For those of you who don't know what a flap-mat is, it's a single mat with a window attached to an identical sized piece of acid-free foam board with drafting tape along the top holding the two boards together so they make a "sandwich"].