This includes anything which is flat and either framed or mounted. It could be a piece of embroidery, such as a sampler or a Chinese silk picture, a print, poster, painting, photograph, sketch or portrait, or a collection of cartoons, menus, cigarette cards, postcards, stamps or other ephemera.
A picture can be framed with or without glass. It is usual to frame oil colors without because the glass interferes with the visual experience of the texture of the paint and can also reflect light from windows, acting as a mirror which conceals the painting rather than reveals it.
Don’t be in too much of a hurry to make a choice. A large painting may look best in a frame’ of dark wood, pale wood or metal, in something plain or something ornate and gilded. Try the picture with different kinds of frame and bear in mind where you want to hang it. You may be surprised to find how attractive it looks in a frame you had not initially thought of. For example, a very small painting sometimes looks good in a large frame, particularly one in which the frame is deeper in the middle so that the painting is pushed forward slightly and thus given a prominence not afforded by its size.
Storing paintings which you have inherited or do not have a place for at present can be a problem. You can take them out of their frames and store them in acid-free tissue paper flat in a drawer or rolled up in a cardboard tube; use the frame for a picture you do want to display. Framing is expensive so this is a sensible cost-saving exercise. Frames can be dismantled and cut down to make smaller frames, or renovated and re-used as they are.
With watercolors, it is normal to place them on a mount before framing. The painting can cover the whole mount or some of the mount may show within the frame. Suit the proportions of the mount to the painting—if the mount is too narrow it can look ungenerous, if too wide it may dominate the painting. In conventional mounting, the margins at the top and sides should be of equal width while the bottom margin should be about 15 per cent wider.
Pictures mounted or not, can be sandwiched between a sheet of glass or clear acrylic and a backing board. If you use two sheets of acrylic, you can make a two-way picture to hang in a window or between shelves that are used as a room-divider.