Saturday, January 24, 2009

Watercolor "French" Mat

Some years ago, I was in an interior design shop that featured a few watercolors of plant life nicely framed with watercolor linework on the mat. The linework was filled with a soft green watercolor to compliment the painting.

I really like the way these professionally framed prints looked. So, I suggested we give it a try on the (4) shell paintings going to Kelly's mom. Even though Kelly had already liked the paintings the way they were, I showed her the professionally framed ones (see below) and she wanted me to give it a try. She had faith in me but I am one of the most clutsiest artists. I was so afraid of ruining them. I did a trial run on scrap then I just went for it. So here's how I went about it.

First I drew 2 lines around the edge of the mat with a very hard pencil (4h) ...just enough to see. I used about 1/8" for the line width. I have a parallel bar but you could use a ruler. Then I used the Micron #01 archival ink pen and went over my pencil. The ink is waterproof so its great with watercolor and this also gives you a chance to correct the pencil line width. Now don't rush this because you can't fix this part.

Yes, of course I did mess up. I had on a ruffles on my shirt and the ruffles dragged in the watercolor. Fortunately, I quickly blotted it with a wet brush and tissue and it came out. When I realized I could do that, I blotted several uneven spots to make them just right. The flash makes it a bit stronger but it does have an uneven watercolor quality that looks really nice.
Here's one of the finished framed paintings. It looks much better then the plain white mat. I'm glad we tried it.

Here's a couple of paintings that I had professionally framed that I tried to mimic.

I love the bamboo frame and linework.

Here's a couple more. We framed them with the raw edges of the paper exposed. They're both in our conference room at work waiting to be purchased (if I can part with them).

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