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Tips for creative block

Tips to Overcome Creative Block

How to Get Rid of Creative Block

Creative block happens to every artist no matter how professional they are. We all go through times where the inspiration isn’t there. It can be super discouraging to be a creative person with no ideas of what to make. As an artist, I’ve had plenty of ups and downs. There are times when my imagination goes so wild that I can’t get it all out, and other times when I can’t come up with an idea for anything. Here are some ideas of how to get past the slump of artist block and get back to being creative.

Pinterest

pinterest inspiration
Pinterest is full of inspiring photographs, art, tutorials, videos, etc. When I’m struggling to find an idea for a project, one of the first things I do is make a Pinterest board with relevant images. It’s an easy way to find and store inspiration for your work. Whether you’re looking for a drawing reference or interior design ideas, it’s a great resource to get the creative juices flowing.

Sketchbooks and Journals

creative block
No matter what kind of creative person you are, keeping a journal or sketchbook can really come in handy. During those times that you’re full of ideas, you can jot them down for later. When you’re having trouble coming up with something, just revisit those old notes and sketches for inspiration. I’m a firm believe that you should always have a notebook with you. You never know when a great idea (or even a funny comment or sentence you overheard) is going to strike. You’ll thank yourself later for having written it down.

Mix Up Your Routine

Tips for creative block
Sometimes doing the same things every day can put you in a rut. If you’re moving through the day repeating tasks on auto-pilot, your brain isn’t working to its full potential. This doesn’t mean you need to switch your whole schedule. Making even small changes like going to a new coffee shop or reading a book on your porch instead of your couch will wake up your mind. Sometimes it only takes going a little ways out of your comfort zone to ignite the spark.

Don’t Wait For Inspiration

Creativity
Waiting for the inspiration to come to you doesn’t always work. Even if you’re proactively trying to find inspiration, it might not happen for a while. That’s why it’s important to keep working on projects even when you don’t want to. Even the greatest artists can make bad art, and sometimes it’s essential to the process. The process itself can even be more important than the end product. We learn from our mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make them!

Framing Art
And once you’re out of your creative block and back to making great art, don’t forget to proudly display it in a picture frame!

Matting Art Tips

Tips for Matting Artwork – Color, Size, and Display

Matting Artwork

When looking at a piece of art, matting can really brighten or enhance the image. People often ask if you should mat a picture based on the image itself or based on the room it will hang in. It’s actually a little of both. You don’t want to have a mat, frame, and picture totally clash with the wall it’s hanging on. But you also want to highlight some of the colors from the art. I like a mat to pull out some of the subtle colors in a picture. You can use just one mat or multiple! We’ve matted up to 4 times on some of our framed art in the retail store gallery.

Matting Artwork Tips
We also play with spacing the mats differently so there is a small gap between one mat and the next. It’s fun to try and pull colors out that you are drawn to or would like to feature. Mats can help draw your eyes to the uniqueness in a piece of art. You can play with the reveal (amount of each color shown) for each mat. Typically we have the bottom mat show 1/4″ and the top mat is 2″, but this can be customized depending on the art and the customer preference.

Another way to mat artwork is to do what is called “floating”. When you float something, the mat is solid behind your artwork. This is really cool when you have a signature that is right at the edge. Some artwork has rough edges and it would be a shame to hide the unique effect this creates in the piece. This is when floating can really help finish off the art.

Using Mats For Non-Standard Sized Images

Matting is also a great way to put an odd size picture into a standard size frame. For example, you want to fit your 10×12 picture into an 11×14 frame. We can cut a mat that will fit both the frame and the exact size needed for the image. We have tons of mats in stock in several colors. Plus we have a large selection of mats that we can order for customers.

Matting Art Tips Art Matting Tips
If you are framing artwork as a gift for someone, it is best to keep the colors and frames neutral since you don’t know where they may be hanging the gift.

Occasionally, we’ll have a customer bring in their framed artwork looking for something to spruce it up. Just changing the mats can totally change the overall look of your image. It can make it look like a completely new piece! We have so much fun playing with colors and finding what looks the best to make the art really pop!

-Laurie Meurer

New Frame Series - Timber Barn Wood Brown

New Series Spotlight – Timber Barnwood Frames

Hello fellow framers! As we all know, summer is quickly coming to a close. And with that, comes all the fall things (HAPPY DANCE!). This season we’re introducing a brand new series to the Frame USA collection called “Timber”. Our new series Timber Barnwood is a great way to spruce up that She Shed, or dust off those old time, sepia-toned photos to hang around the house. It’s perfect for bringing the tranquility of outdoors inside your home. You’ll thank us for it once the weather gets cold!

She Shed
Rustic framing, or shabby chic, is becoming a major trend in home décor! With three different colors to choose from in this series (black, white, and light brown), you won’t have any trouble at all finding a place for these frames in your home. This series is made from real Spruce wood, but gives the illusion of reclaimed wood without the imperfections. The moulding gives a natural appearance with distressed ridges. Whether you’re stuck in the city and miss the country life, or you’re in the country and want to bring that feeling indoors, these frames are exactly what you’re looking for!

New Frame Series - Timber Barnwood Black New Frame Series - Timber Barn wood Brown New Frame Series - Timber Barnwood White
Just like all of our frames, the Timber series is American-made in our warehouse in Cincinnati, OH. Buying from Frame USA means supporting an American company and getting the best quality products! Now through 8/26/18 you can try these new Timber frames for 15% off. Just use coupon code “TIMBER” at check out to take advantage of this awesome discount!

Dry Mounting Art

What is Dry Mounting and Does Your Image Need It?

Does your image need dry mounting?

Dry Mounting Art   Fine Art Prints
The process of dry mounting adheres your image to foam core using a heat press. Sometimes when art is printed, the paper will have slight imperfections. The process isn’t reversible, but it will remove any bends, smileys, creases, or curls that may be in your art work.

Dry Mounting for Paper creases

The best way to determine whether your image needs to be dry mounted or not is based on the value of your piece. It is highly recommended by our team that photographs, posters, prints, and newspapers are dry mounted before framing. This is because they can be reproduced, since the dry mounting process is permanent. The paper they’re printed on can also be prone to creases or bends. Another reason to dry mount a piece is if your artwork has been stored in a tube for an extended time. Dry mounting will smooth out the curl in your artwork.

Signed Posters

If you have a signed or numbered piece, it’s best to opt out of dry mounting as it does decrease value. Foam core is not archival. And once your art has been dry mounted, it is not able to be removed from the foam core.

Dry mounting is a way to make your art smooth and flat. The materials that we use are PH balanced, so your artwork will not yellow over time. Knowing the process of dry mounting will help you determine whether or not it’s the right process for your artwork.

If you ever have questions about our process or what is best for your artwork, feel free to reach out to us! You can contact us or visit our retail store in Cincinnati, OH with your questions.

 

– Manda Hill
Frame USA Retail and Specialty Lead

Print On Demand Art Prints

Print On Demand Fine Art Prints

The Frame USA Print on Demand team is always hard at work.

Every week we get tons of orders for art prints that we process, print, and frame. We’re able to complete about 300 images in a day! We currently have about 28,000 images from artists that we license and sell through Amazon.

Our Print on Demand team goes through the orders and resizes images to fit properly in our picture frames. Once the images are sized, we print them on our large format inkjet printers. Some art prints are printed onto canvas, while others are printed on semi-gloss paper. We then carefully trim the prints and organize them by the type of frame the customer purchased. Next our framing team takes them for the final steps. Larger art prints need to be dry mounted, while smaller prints are ready to be framed.

Print On Demand Art Prints

Working for the Print on Demand department at Frame USA keeps us busy and is always exciting. It’s a fun mixture of working with technology and art. We get to work with beautiful images while exploring creative solutions to make the department run smoothly. Each of us puts a lot of care into what we do because we enjoy it.

I’m excited for our department to continue growing. I enjoy producing home decor for our customers. We’re one of the newest additions to the Frame USA company, and I’m proud to be a part of it!

-Carrie
Print Lead at Frame USA

Barnwood Frames

DIY Projects Using Picture Frames – Tips and Ideas

DIY Projects – Tips and Ideas using Picture Frames

 

DIY Projects
Do it yourself projects are a huge trend right now. They’re a great way to bring out your creative side, manage stress, or decorate on a budget. I look at a picture frame and think the possibilities are endless. There are hundreds of styles and sizes that can be transformed into exciting DIY projects!  We’ll start small and work our way larger.

Let’s take a 4×6 frame and place a photo in it. It might seem DIY Gift Ideas obvious, but this could make a great gift for grandparents or other family members. You could also use that same frame and place a gift card inside – now there is a great gift idea! Using a picture frame instead of a greeting card is not only more exciting and unexpected, but many frames are more affordable than the average greeting card. They can also reuse the frame themselves.

Frames make for great wall decor just by adding printed craft paper or chalk board material. Check out this photo below of one of our customers who decorates the outside of our frames and sells them on Etsy! Our Decorate-It frame series is perfect for this kind of project. These unfinished frames are great for your DIY project like painting or collage.

 

DIY Projects Frames

One of my favorite DIY ideas is to add mirror glass to picture frames. Large or small, they can sit on a table or hang on a wall. This makes your frame a one of a kind wall decoration. We have frames that can be stained, painted, any custom finish that one can think of.

Barnwood Frames
Another favorite is the versatility of Frame USA’s natural Barnwood frames.  This series has a great rustic look and can be filled with any style of photo, or decorated with paint or collage. We have even turned them into serving trays that can be customized by simply adding a seasonal paper or family photo.

Last year the employees at Frame USA had the opportunity to make a project from their favorite frame. Each project was unique, creative, and awesome!
We are always adding new mouldings to our frame lines. The possibility of new ideas for creative DIY projects is endless! Get creative and send us your photos of any projects you use our frames for on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! We love seeing how creative our customers are!

Favorite Frame Series - Decorate It

Favorite Frame Series By Dan Regenold, CEO Frame USA

Our CEO’s Favorite Frame Series

Frame USA CEO Dan Regenold

Favorite Frame Series - Gold Wow, it’s a hard choice for me to try and name my favorite frame series. But, if you put me under pressure, I will give you some personal recommendations of what I would choose to frame my favorite image.

If you are looking for a GREAT gold frame, the American Value #797 Large has always been one of my favorites. It is manufactured at a value price and will look good anywhere. This frame is also very substantial when displayed on your wall.
If you have more of a simple taste in gold, like for a smaller print, maybe for the bathroom or kitchen, I would try American Value Gold #802 Thin—you will not be unhappy with the results.

 

Favorite Frame Series - Corporate Someone told me early on  that with Framing simplicity is usually best. You cannot frame an image more simply that with our Corporate Series. I like the Corporate Narrow frames for just about anything. Corporate is the series you will find that architects choose most frequently for a business setting. It doesn’t take away at all from the artwork and instead enhances the product. A few of my favorite colors—Black, White, Canadian Walnut, Red Mahogany and Brazilian Walnut. You can’t go wrong.

To compliment the corporate frames I might try the Café Collection. The Expresso and Mocha Narrow are colors that are very popular and these choices look great in Narrow or Wide. The Black Series is a profile that will never go out of style. Next to the Corporate Series, the Black Series it is my favorite.

Favorite Frame Series - Clean Cut

 

Under real wood frames—I love the Grande Series Frame in Black or Cherry.  Grande is perfect for doing a lot of the same prints for resale or giveaway. The double finish that the Grande Series offers you will present you with the presentation vs. price you are looking for. The Clean Cut Series is remarkably good—in any color. The green, the blue, the red, the white, they all overachieve with a true “shaker” look. Also, they are at a great price point.


 

Decorate-It Series (especially 1.5 and 2” flat) for a real wood frames offers so many opportunities. Take a look at the “Stem Girls” image that we created where we have lasered the logo on this unfinished frame. It looks great!

Favorite Frame Series - Decorate It IMG_6657

We can laser on the Decorate-It frame or you can have your team decorate the frames themselves with glitter, color, markers, stick-on’s. We can create custom matting. The unfinished segment of our products offer many choices.

Rounding out my favorite series I must tell you I’ve always enjoyed the “stateliness” of our Napoleon frame. Napoleon would be perfect at the Biltmore. It is an old style which is something that never goes away.

Trying for a more contemporary look? Think about the True Depth series. The finish is Favorite Frame Series - Napoleon stunning—white or black, you will not go wrong. At a custom framing shop you would easily pay 3 to 4 times our price.

Finally, Verona Narrow is a handsome frame with a smooth rounded edge. Verona is a little upscale if you are trying for that look. The elegance of our Verona Series will turn heads.

Oh sorry, I’m out of space…I could go on and on…. If they let me write another article I’ll talk to you about our incredible Barnwood and Shadow Box frames.   Until then, happy framing!

Signature

Creative Uses of Frames

Creative Frame Uses by Frame USA Customers

We love seeing creative frame uses by our customers!

creative frame uses

Here at Frame USA, our customers are our top priority. However, they are more than just important to our business – they inspire us! Seeing our products used in such a variety of creative ways brings out the artist in all of us.

For instance, the photo above was sent to us by the owner of an Etsy shop called CreativeGlassByBecky. Becky uses frames from Frame USA to create faux stained glass artwork that she sells in her shop. We love that our American-made frames are being used to create art and help an American small business owner run their company.

creative frame uses

Above is another piece of art made with a Frame USA Wood Frame. This reverse glass painting was also made by an American Etsy shop owner whose shop is called KRAM Gifts & Crafts. Reverse glass painting consists of painting in layers on the back of a piece of glass and viewing it from the other side. It is a technique of painting that has existed since the Middle Ages.

 

10922567_827679290607306_5225431918033211832_n Custom Framing

These next photos are examples of our custom frames. Frame USA offers a wide variety of standard frame sizes, however sometimes customers have pieces they want framed that are not standard sizes.

This customer had these beautiful posters they wanted to display, but needed a custom size to fit them.

All of our standard frames can be made in custom sizes by using the “Custom Sizes” tab on our site.

The Design a Frame section of our website is also an option for designing your own custom frame.

 

creative frame uses

Our Decorate-It frame series is another popular frame that leaves room for creativity. These wood frames come unfinished so that you can decorate them yourself however you please! These photos are examples of how one customer decorated their Decorate-It frames. This series is great for painting on or using to collage onto like this artist did.

 

creative frame uses

Weddings are also an occasion where having the perfect picture frame is important. This customer used one of our frames to commemorate their big day in 2011. It’s a great way to decorate a wedding ceremony or reception, or to show off photographs from your wedding afterward. Jared and Diana spelled their last name “Thompson” in a photo collage and displayed it as a decoration.

We love seeing all of the different creative ways our customers use our frames. If you’ve purchased a frame from us, we want to see your photos! Contact us on social media – Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or email us at [email protected]. We will gladly give you a shout out.

 

Grey Picture Frames

Grey Picture Frames – July Frame of the Month

Grey Picture Frames Are This Month’s Featured Frame

Every month Frame USA chooses a series of frames to feature and provide a discount for 10% off.
July 2018’s Frame of the Month is the Grey Series.

Grey Picture Frames

We chose this series for the cool look during the summer heat! Frame USA offers both a wide and narrow version of our grey picture frames. These frames are sleek and modern, and do an excellent job of accentuating any artwork without distracting from it.

Grey Picture Frames   Grey Picture Frames

Use coupon code “grey10” during all of July 2018 to get 10% off of any frames from this series. We offer grey picture frames in many standard sizes including 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 18×24, and several more. If you need a non standard size for your frame, we also offer custom sizing on our grey frame series. Just scroll down to the “Custom Sizes” tab and enter the size and quantity you want for your frames!

Ralph Steadman Savage Journey

Ralph Steadman – Artist Spotlight

Frame USA’s sister site Posterservice, Inc. recently added two new posters to our growing collection of pieces by Ralph Steadman.

Posterservice has several posters of Ralph Steadman’s illustrations, but the newest additions are titled “The Secret of Dreams” and “Savage Journey”.

Ralph Steadman Secret of Dreams Ralph Steadman Savage Journey

The Secret of Dreams“, pictured on the right, is an illustration of Ralph Steadman’s interpretation of Sigmund Freud having the secret of dreams revealed to him in 1895. The poster shows Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis and one of the early 20th century’s most influential thinkers, sitting at his desk working. Behind Freud is a surreal mass of strange imagery, or “the secret of dreams”. Ralph Steadman spent over three years researching Freud and creating artwork inspired by him. He even visited Freud’s hometown and spent time in the rooms where he analyzed his patients. These works were ultimately published in an art book titled “Sigmund Freud”.

Savage Journey“, pictured on the left, is based on Hunter S. Thompson’s book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. Steadman illustrated the novel which was published in 1971. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” tells a surreal nonlinear narrative of characters traveling to Las Vegas on a psychedelic journey. The book explores themes of the declining American dream and the 1960s counterculture. Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson had a long partnership of Thompson writing books and articles which Steadman made illustrations for.

Fear and Loathing
Posterservice Inc also has a poster of this famous drawing Steadman made for the book. The poster is self-titled “Fear and Loathing”. The Hunter S Thompson novel was adapted into a movie in 1988 which has become a cult classic. Steadman appears in the commentary for the movie in the DVD set, as well as in a documentary titled “Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision”.

Steadman has worked with numerous other authors including Ted Hughes, Adrian Mitchell, and Brian Patten. He has also illustrated covers for editions of classic books such as Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, and Animal Farm.

dr gonz hunter driving self poortrait

Posterservice Inc and Frame USA are incredibly honored to be able to work with such a prolific and well acclaimed artist. We take pride in making the work of influential artists accessible to everyone.