Our homes are meant to make us happy, comfortable, and be a place of peace. We surround ourselves with things in our home that simply give us joy. Many of us have mementos such as art that remind us of special times, people we love, and places we have visited. It makes us feel and think. Art inspires dreams. It evokes memories and illustrates the human experience.
For local Portlanders Jim and Kelli Walker, art has been an important part of building their home together.
“I do feel like an art collector, I’m stunned by the pieces I have, and each piece brings me so much happiness,” Jim said.
“For Jim an art piece is not complete until its framed and framed well. We have been collecting for a long time and Jim didn’t notice many of the pieces as much, until we got them framed,” Kelli said. “A perfect frame highlights the art and really makes it stand out.”
Jim and Kelli have over 60 art pieces framed with Northwest Framing and have been working with colleagues at Raleigh Hills Beard’s for over 15 years.
“You notice things you’ve never seen before in your art when the colors in the frames and mats are brought out in a perfectly designed piece,” Jim added. “The staff at Northwest Framing are artists and have impeccable taste. As a former contractor who worked with interior designers, I knew immediately the frame designers at Raleigh Hills really ‘got it’ regarding presentation, printing, mounting, and design. They are the best.
They know when we’ve found the perfect design but are sensitive to letting the customer come to that themselves during the process. We’re all very honest and frank with each other during collaboration. They have so much talent and are so humble.”
Kelli remarked on one particular 25-year-old art piece they had, a simple abstract watercolor that really didn’t get noticed a lot in the house, till they got it framed.
“The frame designer nailed it. It was perfect. It’s hung near direct light, so the frame is like a gold glow when the sun passes over it. You can see how the left side of the room has more light than the right side. As the morning sun rises, it draws out the gold in the frame and the print. It does glow in a silky gold tone with soft morning sun,” Kelli said.
“These orange flowers, ‘Vermilion Rapsody’ with the brick red mat and gold frame is a serigraph and one of my favorites,” Jim said. “It’s by artists Steve and Bonnie Harmston of HarmstonArts in Phoenix, AZ. The colors just pop off the wall and look so alive. The framing was ideal for it.”
Another piece dear to the Walkers is “My Heart Will Go On,” a painting on canvas with oil and cement by Dontella Marrionni.
“In terms of being a collector, my favorite art was originally realism and then over time it’s developed into a love of bold colors. The ‘My Heart Will Go On’ piece really captures that,” Jim said.
For individuals who have art of great emotional value or monetary value, framing can be perceived as a stressful situation. Add budget concerns and hesitancy can be heightened. An art piece can sit in a home for months or sometimes decades in a closet, or under a bed getting damaged. Developing a relationship with a framer you can trust is important.
“The first attempt of framing an art piece, most of us want a basic mat and frame, in the cheapest way possible,” Jim said. “In partnership with Northwest Framing, we created statement pieces we love.”
“Most people are not satisfied with the cheapest quality they can get. Quality gives a feeling all on its own. When you have quality mats and frames and spend the money on museum glass, the picture is presented in its optimal state. You have the assurance it will last. It continues to please you and you feel that quality each time you look at it,” Jim said.
Jim's wife Kelli is an artist who enjoys working with mixed media collage that incorporates paint, photos, print materials, and fabric. One of her pieces was framed using two frames from the Anvil line that give the look of aged steel. The rustic mood of the frames highlights the gritty graffiti feel in the art. The red mat highlights the brickwork in the image. The texture of the framing materials creates an industrial space worn by time and the elements. The museum glass allows the viewer full access to experience the art.
“We have also had some pieces mounted and stretched for us with Northwest Framing including remounting a few pieces that were poorly stretched by other framers. We use their printing services, like this metal chromaprint of our daughter and her pup.”
Like the Walkers, developing your own art collection can be started at any time and should be personal to you. Whether it’s printing art on paper, metal or canvas, or custom framing original pieces of art, the pieces you choose should just simply bring you joy.