Every now and then, a piece of artwork comes through our door that we know is going to turn into something special. It’s always so satisfying to see a project really come together! This particular piece is no exception, and we wanted to highlight what went into it and what our process was. Strap in for the ride!

The Artwork

Just a small fraction of the detail in the artwork — all hand-painted!

This painting shows the Buddhist figure Avalokitasvara, meaning “Lord of the World.” Avalokitasvara is a bodhisattva (one who follows the path towards awakening) who contains the compassion of all Buddhas. One story tells of him vowing to free all sentient beings from the cycle of reincarnation until his head splits into eleven pieces and his arms shatter. The Buddha Amitābha gave him eleven heads and one thousand arms to help him aid the suffering multitudes. Our client found this piece while on a trip to Tibet, and he fell in love with it from the moment he saw it. We were enamored as well! The fine details and striking colors of this original painting on canvas are easy to get lost in!

The Technicalities

First, we measured the piece and discovered an issue: the piece was not square. This is a much more common problem than most people would expect, and is something that we can definitely work around. We discussed two possible options: we could mat the piece in a way that makes it square but covers some of the image, or we could “split the difference” when matting around the image to make it less noticeable. Since there’s so much fine detail in this piece, coming in and covering the unevenness with a mat would mean we would lose some of the image, so we opted for matting around the image and embracing the “unsquareness.”

The final piece hanging on our client’s wall. Can you tell there’s two mouldings?

One other small hiccup we ran into as we were designing was the thickness of the final framing package. With a 4-ply and 8-ply mat, a liner, a fillet, glazing, and coroplast backing, we had far exceeded what the frame rabbet depth would accommodate. But we didn’t want to compromise on the design, so we opted to “stack” a second gold moulding behind the main frame. Not only did this add an extra touch of sophistication, but it made sure that everything was safely housed inside the frame and not sticking out the back.

The piece required a bit of engineering for the final product!

The Design

The corner samples that we chose for the final product.

Once we solved the technical troubles, it was time to fine tune the framing elements! This painting was so large and grand, we opted for an ornate gold moulding from Larson Juhl…perfect! In addition, an off-white linen liner from Larson Juhl adds depth and sophistication when paired with a gold fillet from Decor. We wanted to find a mat that would match the border color of the work to “extend” the art and make the out of square issue less obvious. It took some digging to find the right color, but an oversized mat from Peterboro fit the bill. We even painted the bevel of the mat to match, and everything blended seamlessly. Finally, we used anti-reflective Museum glass to reduce glare, and to protect the artwork from UV light damage – keeping the work in the best condition possible.

In the end, this artwork required a lot of thought and engineering, but it really paid off! Our client was thrilled with the results, and proudly hung it in his home where he can show it off to guests.

The final piece hanging on our client’s wall.