The walls in any room are a blank canvas awaiting design. How you decorate them is a preference. It can be photos, paintings, sculptures, or shelves to display multiple ornamental items.
In most cases, prints are what are hung on the walls of homes. On a feature wall, it is not uncommon to hang a framed painting, or perhaps a large canvas.
For gallery walls, one medium is used. Rarely will a gallery display feature photo prints and paintings, or oil canvases. Mixing prints, paintings, and canvas prints are difficult to pull off because as art mediums, they have different meanings.
- Prints are part of photography. Photos capture memories.
- Paintings are a form of creative art. They capture the thoughts of the painter/artist, and (when done right) force you to use your imagination!
Family prints are photography. They remind you of real events from the past. When hung on display, the memories family prints convey conjure up emotions.
Paintings, on the other hand, can be considered an escape. A form of art that lets you escape from the realities of life, and bring your imagination into focus. To imagine the thoughts of the artists as they put brush strokes on canvas. The painting is a glimpse inside the artist’s mind. That is something that cannot be achieved with photography.
With photos, only real events are captured. Think of it as a moment of time captured as a still. Prints can be manipulated using digital imagery, however, when technology is used, there is a lack of the “handmade” authenticity that makes art as valuable and as precious as it is.
By default, every painting is unique. It is created by hand with careful thought put into the colours used, the type of paint, the type of brush, and the pressure applied to each brushstroke.
Art fans who favour paintings over prints appreciate the physical characteristics, and the meaning of the work as well as the message the artist intended to express.
Art fans who favour photography prints appreciate the science captured that takes it beyond the focal point in the print. There are elements of photometry and radiometry, each involving light elements that make prints unique. Still, if one photo can be printed, so can multiple. The value is diminished somewhat, and backups can be made negating the absolute requirement for preservation framing. That is not to say that prints are less valuable than paintings. Both can be equally valuable.
The uniqueness of a painting can never truly be captured in print form. It is for that reason that paintings ought to be preserved in far more superior frames than those designed primarily for prints, or other art forms on paper.
How the prints are framed matters. Canvas floating frames can be used with paintings done on canvas that are finished with a protective varnish.
Glazing can be used to protect the material from excessive moisture. For added protection against direct sunlight, prints can be framed behind a UV protective glazing to prevent yellowing caused by sunlight exposure. At the opposite end of the spectrum, oil paintings can present with dark yellowing when they are not exposed to enough light.
When framing paintings, each aspect of the frame needs to be considered from two vantage points. The viewing perspective, and the protection element the frame provides. After all, there is little advantage to protecting paintings behind anti-glare glazing if it detracts from the viewing experience.
Always consider the level of protection provided by a frame, then focus on the aesthetics. The result will be a beautifully framed painting that lasts for years, possibly decades, without degradation.