When I came back from the framers last week I was essentially happy with my choice. I say essentially because at the back of my mind I did have a little niggle about the colour…. But couldn’t fathom what it was. After a day or so, I left the painting where I could see it for most of the time, to see if that which was bothering me came to light. A few days later it dawned on me….. the ‘antique oak’ brown was a little too dominant and was committing the cardinal sin of overpowering the painting…. just. Sometimes what you think will work really well actually doesn’t, once the whole moulding is wrapped around the painting. It’s just so hard to tell on a bigger piece of work just how good/bad a colour/moulding would look as a complete frame from just those small sample corner pieces you have to try ideas out with at most framers. It was too late to take it back to the framers as I wouldn’t be able to get there until today and I have to take it to London the tomorrow. So, taking my painting’s chances of selling into my hands, I did a little colour adjustment with some acrylic paint. Remembering a lovely weathered old section of tree trunk that I saw recently in my parents’ garden I used that as a rough colour guide. I mixed a load of white with some burnt umber, ultramarine and Windsor violet to get a warm soft grey brown. I scrubbed this over the ‘antique oak’ moulding in a thin application, getting it into all the cracks and rough texture, creating a ‘semi-transparent’ coating over the dark colour underneath. I rubbed it back with a piece of kitchen towel (strong paper tissue) to even out the colour and the result is a lovely soft brownish mauve that sits perfectly with the painting. I was expecting to have to try several different colours to find one that suited but as soon as I saw the colour effect I was getting I knew this was so right.
Now I am totally sure of the colour, no niggles this time. The moulding looks more like weathered wood, which was what I had in my mind from the start. It would have been impossible for me to explain this colour to the framer for him to create it for me and as it was, I needed the ‘antique oak’ base to achieve the effect and colour. I know he worked hard getting the colour he did and I feel some guilt at changing it but when all is said and done…. I have to be happy with it around the painting, and taking it to the auction having decided that the moulding colour was a little too strong would have bothered me for months afterwards.