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220 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 431-9588
Framing An Oversize Watercolor by Smirnova

When our client, Sarah Cobey, contacted us by email to get a framing quote, it was to get a price and framing options for a very large watercolor by E. Smirnova. The watercolor is 51 x 89 1/2" and heavily rolled. It is, actually, a really interesting image, for it has the look of someone looking out a car window in the rain, behind another car with its brake lights on, approaching a cloverleaf or interchange on a highway. When you stand back a ways, you really see the visual. Up close, it is a bit distorted and almost pointillistic in style. The photo, above, was taken from about 15 feet away. Please ignore the light fixture reflections at the top.

Brian Flax standing next to the finished framed watercolor.

Flip-over hinge details



We decided to frame it in a Studio Moulding Matte White frame that is 1 5/8" wide on the face and 2-3/8" tall outside (moulding number ST23460). We hinged it (in about 48 places since it was so curly) to an oversize piece of Rising Museum Mat Board, which was adhered to a cotton fabric-covered foam board, with 2" of the fabric showing all around the watercolor. OP2 Cast Plexiglass was used (u/v filtering) with white Framespace 3/8" spacers to keep it off the art. We built a strainer to attach to the back of the frame, so that the French Cleat used for hanging would not just be attached to the top rail of the frame. The strainer distributes the weight of the whole package across the french cleat without stressing the top rail.  We carefully packaged it up and had it delivered by our local messenger service, who had to bring it up 3 flights of exterior stairs.  It turned out great and our client was very pleased with the work.

Framing designed and executed by Brian D. Flax, CPF
Photo credits:  Brian Flax
Images shown by kind permission of Sarah Cobey

Z-Bar cleat for hanging attached to top rail of wooden strainer.
At the mid-point, we attached an aluminum "Frame-Tite" cross bar to give it stability.
You can see how the strainer is toe nailed (in this case, screwed) into the inside face of the picture frame. All the weight is borne by the strainer and prevents the plexiglass from bowing and popping out.