It’s All In The Detail: The Abstract Lives of Famous Artists

For the second blog in my “It’s All In The Detail” series, I’m turning my attention to the artists themselves.
They say every picture tells a story but what about the story behind the pictures? When you spend as much time framing artwork and objects as I do, your mind is often drawn to the person who created the work in the first place.
We’re probably all familiar with the eccentricities of the likes of Vincent Van Gogh. More modern artists, such as Banksy, Tracy Emin and Damien Hurst are colourful characters who’ve attracted interest in their lives and thought processes as a result of ground-breaking work. But what about some lesser known tales?
Salvador Dali and the restaurant tantrum
Take Salvador Dali, for example, flamboyant to say the least but also, according to this tale, ahead of his time. In a scene more reminiscent of today’s modern living art, Dali was dining in his usual restaurant in his birthplace of Figueres, Spain (somewhere he frequented, sitting in the same seat, for over 60 years). On this occasion he’d asked to be seated at a different table. Having ordered fish soup, he suddenly jumped up, smashing the plate and shouting “I’m Dali!” It smashed and red soup flew all over the place and, after a few moments of embarrassed silence, Dali started to collect the pieces of the plate and sign them, handing them out to the other delighted guests. This final act seemingly transformed his unexplained outburst into its very own piece of art.

Claude Monet and his ‘attention to detail’
Like many artists of his time, Monet suffered with cataracts. As his vision blurred and colours lost their hue, he reluctantly agreed to have treatment (something which came with more than a little risk in those days). Thankfully he recovered but records show his doctor believed he had developed the ability to see UV light as a result of the operation. This is thought to be a major factor in what differentiates his style and makes his paintings so recognisable. He wasn’t painting what he saw, but instead the way the light enveloped those objects. His alternative approach to painting didn’t make him any less of a perfectionist though, with reports that he once employed a gardener to go out onto his pond every morning and dust the waterlilies before he would even consider putting brush to canvas.

Tamara de Lempicka and her supreme confidence
A lesser-known but no less renowned Polish-American artist by the name of Tamara de Lempicka began her career by the age of 12. Having sat for a famous painter, she hated the resulting portrait and was convinced she could do a better job herself. She went on to create her first ever picture, of her sister Adrienne, and went on to become a famous art deco painter.

There’s no doubt that with great talent comes eccentricity and a total lack of fear in showing your true self to the world. If you know of any other amazing artist anecdotes, I’d love to hear them.

Make Your House A Home With Artwork

Welcome to the first blog in my “It’s All In The Detail” series. I’m going to be taking a regular look at the finer points of artwork and framing and exploring how your pictures can really be brought to life – as well as making your home and surroundings come to life.

We take energy and inspiration from what’s around us. Whether we’re walking in the countryside or visiting a new city and enjoying the architecture, what we see builds memories and affects our mood.

It stands to reason, then, that we can really make the rooms in our house inspirational and thought-provoking by hanging artwork that we love in a place where we can truly appreciate it.

According to this article by, artwork is an important part of our décor because;

  • A picture can add depth and warmth to interior design
  • A picture provides an intricate design element to the overall décor
  • A lifeless wall can become dynamic with the right pictures and arrangements; and
  • Pictures can reinforce a formal or casual room design

Bring your artwork to life

Of course, the artwork itself is one thing, but getting a frame that does it justice is quite another. I wonder whether you’ve ever inherited or been gifted a picture or painting which isn’t framed to your taste? If so, and if you’ve gone on to change the frame, the results can be incredible. I’ve seen dusty old oil painting come to life with a more sympathetic frame; beautiful prints pop out with renewed vigour once their frame has been colour matched; and seemingly faded old photos get new energy with a thoughtfully matched frame designed to make them the focus of attention.

In fact, to quote House and Garden, “virtually anything can look good when framed and hung properly.” This article on their website explores how to hang, display and decorate with art.

I particularly love their statement that “the way art is displayed is crucial and transformative.” Having framed literally thousands of pictures, paintings, photos and objects over the years, I can certainly confirm this to be true.

The article also includes some excellent advice on how to hang a picture properly. This is key to getting the best from your picture and also to protect the frame, and that’s why I always attach fixings in the right place to any frame I supply.

Whatever your taste in frames, or your style of décor, adding artwork and pictures into the mix will personalise your room and make it unique to you. Whether you do this with family portraits or works of art which feature your interests and passions, the main thing is to have some fun and create a home which makes you smile as you walk around it.

5 ways reframing can bring new life to your favourite pictures

We redecorate our homes regularly, as fashions and our tastes change, but why do we almost never get a favourite picture reframed? Maybe we should. Giving a much-loved work of art a fresh new look makes it stand out and be noticed once again. There are, in fact, lots of reasons why we should make a point of reframing our artwork – here are my top five.

  1. Damage or wear and tear

Time, ambient UV light and quality of materials used by some framers can all come to bear on a framed picture eventually and, once the frame and mount deteriorate, you run the risk of the artwork inside starting to be adversely affected too so it’s important to take a look at your pictures every so often to check they’re still in good condition.

Some of the most common problems are the presence of woodworm, damaged or worn frame corners. Anything with woodworm needs replacing as soon as you notice the problem as these insects can spread to other objects or structures within the home and cause a lot of damage.

Damaged or broken frames may be repairable, depending on the extent of the problem. A professional framer’s advice should be sought to see whether the frame can be clamped and re-glued. However, if the frame has been dropped, the damage may be too extensive, in which case it could be time to review the whole piece.

Beautiful Oriental Mirror Back | Framed by Jules Sainter
  1. On second thoughts…

Let’s face it, something we thought looked amazing 20 years ago might be showing its age in terms of style or you may even be moving your artwork around and find that a frame which looked great in one room is now clashing terribly with the décor. It’s amazing how much a new mount and frame can freshen up a painting. You’ll see the colours and details anew and it can completely change the feel of a piece of art if you change framing style. Try putting a more modern, simplistic frame on an old oil painting and see what a difference it makes.

  1. Something inside the frame is bugging you…

No, not the picture itself, instead what about those tiny black bugs that miraculously find their way inside your picture frame only to die where they are least wanted? These are thunder bugs – also called thrips – and despite only being about a millimetre long, can be really distracting if they lodge themselves somewhere on your picture. They often get inside frames which have not been sealed properly. If you look at shop-bought frames you’ll see they’re often just clipped into place. A Guild Certified Framer will always seal the back of a frame with tape to ensure no dirt, bugs or moisture can get in and ruin your picture.

Angela Fielder Original | Framed by Jules Sainter of Lovingly Framed
  1. Something’s just not right….

If every time you look at a favourite piece of art, your eye is drawn away from it to something you can’t put your finger on, it could be that the mount the picture isn’t right. We often recognise subconsciously that something just doesn’t look right and it could be down to the mount being the wrong colour, or the wrong proportions for the piece of art it is meant to show off.

A strongly coloured mount can murder a delicate picture. Or the picture may have slipped slightly – this can happen if the wrong tapes have been used or if a picture is hung over a radiator or other heat source and the tapes dry out over time. Or, age may be taking its toll on a once-white mount. There are now ‘conservation’ mount boards available which will not discolour over time. If you do see this, it needs your attention because not only does it not look good, but a non-conservation mountboard contains acid which can actually damage the picture itself.

  1. Creating a brand, new piece of art

You might have a collection of framed items which have something in common. Things that show personal achievements, such as medals, sports shirts and pictures of events can look so much more impactful if framed together in a montage. If you’ve collected things over time and simply hung the pictures together in a group, why not think about reframing them into one themed grouping. This can make an amazing gift or keepsake for a family member and, by choosing a professional framer to do the work, you will be protecting the memorabilia against future wear and tear, fading or other damage by setting them safely inside a beautiful frame.

Cricket Montage | Lovingly Framed by Jules Sainter

Hopefully, I’ve managed to get your creative juices flowing with the ideas above. Have some fun with your artwork – you look at it every day so it should make you stop and smile rather than frown and think “I really must get that picture sorted out”

Professional Qualification Awarded to Jules Sainter

Bledlow Ridge / Chinnor based picture framer, Jules Sainter GCF(APF) has just qualified as a Guild Certified Framer, the professional qualification that distinguishes framers and provides consumers with a recognised way to find excellent craftsmanship and service. Over 1000 framers have achieved this qualification, and Oxon / Bucks  residents can take advantage of having this local expertise at Lovingly Framed.

Guild Certified Framers are awarded their qualification by the Fine Art Trade Guild, the international trade association for the industry. Framing skills and knowledge are examined rigorously by an independent Guild appointed tester.

By qualifying as a GCF, Jules has demonstrated that she understands the importance of conservation framing, the use of appropriate materials to avoid future problems and also the range of framing options her customers may require. Unprofessional framing may allow unsightly stains to appear, or gradually cause the artwork to go brown and the paper to weaken; eventually a picture may literally fall apart. These things can be avoided by choosing a qualified professional. Knowledge and technology are improving all the time and precious and valuable pieces should be checked by a professional framer who can take remedial action to protect works to be kept for future enjoyment. Jules Sainter GCF(APF) has proved herself able to advise on the framing of unusual objects and memorabilia.

10 Top Tips To Get The Most Out Of Framing Pictures Or Objects

Tip #1

You should avoid hanging pictures above a radiator or heat source. The temperature changes can cause problems to paper art causing moisture within the frame and cockling of the artwork. In addition, tapes used to seal pictures can dry out preventing total protection from dust and bugs.

Tip #2

Artwork should never be in contact with glass because of moisture that can build up within a frame. It is not unusual to find old artwork stuck to the glass, causing damage when it is removed. Therefore a single or double mount is always recommended to provide the necessary spacing, and of course to also make your artwork look amazing.

Tip #3

Many picture framers make a mount with a deeper base. This is so that the proportions look correct when the picture is hung at a certain height. However the illusion is negated when a wide mount is used with the same dimension all round.

Tip #4

Photos or posters on thin paper will often acquire a cockled effect due mainly to temperature changes within the frame (see #1 above). To prevent this, experienced framers can bond pictures to a suitable substrate to flatten the artwork permanently, but this should never be undertaken on artwork with sentimental or financial value. We will often ask you to sign a disclaimer if you choose this route when it is considered inappropriate.

Tip #5

If you want your pictures and artwork to look good for the long-term, choose a framer that uses conservation materials and techniques. Non-conservation materials deteriorate over time causing irreversible damage to artwork. It is easy to check the quality of mount board – if it is discoloured, e.g. yellow or brown this means that non-conservation mount board has been used.

Tip #6

There is a huge difference in types of glass that are available for framing these days. The best ones are almost invisible and the degree of UV protection can vary. For valuable, irreplaceable pieces, Choose the highest degree of UV protection which is over 90%. It costs more but is worth it in the long run.

Tip #7

Canvasses usually don’t need glass (if they are acrylic or oil paints).  However a ‘tray frame’ or ‘L-frame' can still do a really nice job of finishing them off.  If the sides of the canvas are unpainted or look untidy, this type of frame hides this and looks smart.

Tip #8

Fixings on the back of your picture used to attach the cord or wire to the frame should be attached to the frame itself and NOT to the backing board. This spreads the weight through the frame and reduces the risk of it falling off the wall.

Tip #9

Handling framed pictures: you should always carry pictures by their cord/wire or by holding the 2 sides. They should never be carried by grasping the top edge alone, thereby supporting the whole weight of the piece from one strip of wood, as this weakens even the most well put together frames.

Tip #10

Experienced framers will use ‘bumpers’ on the bottom corners of a frame. This not only protects your wall from scratches but also allows air to circulate behind the piece which, if not allowed to do so, could mean that the backing board gets damp over time.

Men and Colours

Men and Colours

I recently saw a sign in a paint shop that read 'Men choosing paint colours must have a note from their wives'.


Funny? Sexist? Or based on a truism that men can't see colour differences as well as women?


After years of dispute with my husband about the colour of top he was wearing in our first date (he says khaki, whereas I don't have one iota of doubt that it was mustard), I think there are differences.


Doing a quick count up of the number of men versus women coming to Lovingly Framed with their pictures to choose colours and styles, I find it is 76% women, 16% men, and 8% men accompanied by women (possibly to give men the illusion that they can choose but under the watchful eyes of their spouses.)


Certainly if we look at the statistics for colour blindness it does support a difference. 8% of men with Northern European ancestry have the common form of red-green colour blindness, versus only 0.5% of women.


But even taking out the issue of colour blindness in all its guises, it appears that there are some differences between the way men and women view colour which may be linked to the 'hunter gatherer hypothesis', which postulates that the sexes have developed specific psychological abilities in line with their prehistoric roles.


In tests, it emerged that women tend to better distinguish subtle differences between colour shades, whereas males show superior skills in tracking fast moving objects and discerning detail from a distance. According to the theory, men's vision has become honed to excel in ways that would have been most valuable in their roles of feeding and protecting their families, such as distinguishing and detecting prey from a distance. In turn, the vision of women, it is proposed, may have developed in order to help them recognise and catagorise near, stationary objects, such as wild berries.


Interesting stuff, but what does it tell us?


If we look out of the window of our semi-detached and see a lion peering at us over the recycling bin at the end of the cul-de-sac, call for alpha male. Or alternatively, ladies, perhaps pop out alone for a quiet moment with your friendly, local picture framer.

‘Dancers in the Sky’

‘Dancers in the Sky’ is the first published book of a young author from Bledlow Ridge, Anna Kate Fischer. Only 10 when she wrote it, the book is told from the perspective of one of the famous red kites, which were reintroduced into the Chilterns in the 1980s and 90s.

See the world through the eyes of a kite

Soar over the Chiltern skies with Kitty Milvus, a young red kite. Kitty and her best friend Azalea have started training for the Annual Airshow, a competition which tests a kite’s agility, speed, nerve and airborne skill. Both girls have been dreaming of victory their entire lives. However, on the day of the finals, Kitty’s plans are dashed, and she has to make a choice: save her sister or her victory. However, the choice is not as easy as it seems. There is a very high chance her sister is dead, and red kites do not have the same connection with their siblings as humans do.

'Dancers in the Sky' artwork framed in a chunky white frame| Framed by Lovingly Framed near Chinnor

Q. Who framed Carl Fogarty???

‘Carl Fogarty’ I hear you ask? Who’s he? Well, according to one of my clients and her proud son, he’s the most successful world superbike racer of all time. This was the shirt that the young lad was wearing when he and the family bumped into Carl recently. Thinking on his feet and keen not to miss an opportunity for a momento of his hero, he got the sports champion to sign his back and got a photo with him to boot.

And now I’ve framed the items together, he can recall this momentous occasion whenever he looks up at his bedroom wall!


The importance of glass | Lovingly Framed

The importance of glass

When you’re having a photo or picture framed, it’s worth considering the type of glass you  choose. The poster at the bottom is the  same as that at the top, but has been framed with standard glass. Of course, it has also been hanging in direct sunlight which is not advisable. However, a glass with  high UV protection (90%+) can help to protect  your valuable artwork from light damage, giving you years more to appreciate and enjoy it.IMG_0095