Frame Job – Vintage Framing

IMG_6411 (2) Mom and Me.jpg

Along with the love of art and photography comes my obsession with framing. Vintage framing. Growing up, I always had a large collection of frames in which placed photos of friends and family. I preferred antique or vintage frames, but any frame would do. In part, this was due to my military brat upbringing and the longing to hold on to memories of friends after multiple moves or family I rarely saw (and in some cases never knew.) But I also think I got this from my Mother,  Artist Jacqueline Stubbs. She was the same way. Every time I moved, one of her contributions to my unpacking would be the creation of a family wall. Here is one of her with me as an infant, on my current family wall. In this case the frame and the photo are vintage!!

Many of my picture frames have ended up in boxes and drawers in attempts to de-clutter. I still have this keen interest in the importance of framing, however. Earlier this year, in honor of my Mom, I decided to frame some of her portfolio pieces. The first one was taken to a frame shop in the mall.  To be honest, I was too busy picking out just the right materials and not worrying about getting an estimate. It cost almost $300 (special mat, non-standard size, preservation glass…) Sometimes, a frame can make a picture or painting. Not necessary at that price! I recently started working in a gallery and nearby I discovered another gallery/frame shop called Sedona Joe’s.

What a relief! Sedona Joe’s has inventory from their parents framing business including moulding from the 50s and 60s. Being an electic collector of art work and frames, these folks scratched an itch with me at a much more affordable price. Sometimes they take some old stock and create pre-fab frames for sale. Other times, they will do custom framing. I picked out a few pre-fab frames, brought in some art work, and asked them to do their magic.

This undated water-color done by my Mom was found in a box of art supplies. Maybe she didn’t like it, because I never saw it. She liked it enough to sign it, however, and here it is framed in some vintage tiki style moulding. It looks great and reminds me of my recent trip to the Pacific Northwest.

IMG_6367 (5) Mom's Madronas.jpg

The following painting was done by “wetlands painter” Pat Witt of The Barn Studio who my Mom knew from her years in New Jersey. It’s a very serene painting, but I love the way it looks in this elaborate frame.

IMG_6362 (1) beach.jpg

The third one Sedona Joe’s did was this small shikishi board water-color done by my Mom. Rather than trim the board to match the frame, they suggested mounting it to the back, creating a shadow box effect. I love how the patina in the frame picks up the green in the painting. All done at a more affordable cost, but with great vintage moulding and impeccable attention to detail in the framing.IMG_6358 (1) peaches.jpg

Did I mention thrift shop frames? Here are a couple of my own paintings framed using materials purchased at thrift shops: 1) a barn wood fame for my art lesson piggies inspired by Vernita Bridges Hoyt and 2) a fake vintage frame for my plein air madronas. Total investment in framing….$6.00.  I think I can now afford to frame more stuff!

How do you preserve your favorite paintings, photographs or other memorabilia?

IMG_6366 (1) piggies

IMG_6364 (1) my madronas

10 thoughts on “Frame Job – Vintage Framing

  1. HI Tracey
    All of these frames and the artwork within are beautiful. I especially like the way the frame on Pat Witts painting adds movement to the water, clouds and plant life. It’s amazing how a frame can bring out the best in art.
    Thanks for sharing


  2. I’ve always been amazed how certain talents are passed down in families. A close of mine, for instance, is an incredible woodworker as were his dad and uncles. Your mother’s talent certainly flowed on to you also (I love your last painting shown of the trees).

    When I got my first “grown up” apartment after college, and finally moved beyond my rock artists and beer advertisement posters phase, I started collecting inexpensive art pieces at fairs and shows to put up in the apartment. It always amazed me the talents professional framers had in choosing the right frame with the corresponding mat; that in itself is an art form too. I really like your passion for the vintage frames. Many thanks for sharing. – Marty


    • Thanks Marty! You’re right, talents due tend to get passed down (though I did not pick up my Dad’s talent for finding good cheap socks!!) I remember my first “art” purchases were posters of Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. Haha, didn’t even bother framing those. Over time, Mom inserted some higher quality pieces into my bedroom décor.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Frames can add so much to a work of art. I think that thrift shops are a terrific source of interesting but inexpensive frames… most people just look at the picture in them, not realizing that it’s the frame that is worth buying. I love your mom’s work and I’m glad you are carrying on the love of producing art.


    • Thank you! I know exactly what you mean about thrift shopping. I don’t let the art work get in my way. There are some amazing frames out there for a good price if you look past what’s in it.


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