Framing in Art


A composition technique which involves arranging shapes and other elements in a frame in order to catch the attention of the user is called Framing. It draws attention to certain areas in your painting. The composition technique of Framing can be compared to the physical frame of the painting as it helps in drawing the attention of the people. Framing can be defined as a representation of visual elements in an image. It refers to the placement of an object with relation to other objects. It can be used to help focus the view on the framed object. This technique can also be used to added depth to an image and draw attention to an object. Framing in photography is mainly concerned with the viewer’s perspective and position. To give you an example if a viewer is positioned far away from an object in a painting he will gain more information about the object’s surrounding. In case the object is in the middle the viewer might feel that the object is lost as there is no visual orientation of the object.

Framing in Nature

The technique of framing is not bound by the boundaries of the painting. The concept of framing can be used to highlight areas of importance or even areas which are not important. The areas could be small. The using of Framing adds importance to the area. These techniques can be applied by portraying nature in the painting.

Darkness in Framing

The use of darkness in a painting can form a frame for the lighter areas in your painting. The use of darkness in a frame helps to draw the attention of the viewer to the lighter areas,

Framing in Architecture

The use of Framing in architecture gives the artist a more solid frame compared to the frames created by nature. That is the reason why care should be taken when you use this technique in architecture as the result would appear to be dull.

Factors which influence Framing

Repoussoir: The positioning of foreground elements around the sides of the frame helps us to focus the viewer’s eye towards the subject. This can be used to create a closed space in the frame.

Depth of field: The distance as measured between the closest and distant points on which will impact the focus of the object. The more the distance indicates the depth of the field is deeper, and a shorter distance indicates the depth of field is shallower. This selective technique selective enables the artist to control the focus of areas with respect to the viewer.

White space: The aesthetic appeal of a painting can be increased by using the technique of Framing. The empty areas contribute in terms of contrast in providing a meaningful aspect to the painting. The negative space is mainly used as a neutral background to draw attention to the central subject.

Vignetting: This follows the process in nature where the brightness is less on the boundaries of an image. It helps in creating a hotspot which focuses on the saturated parts of the painting.

Perspective Distortion: This is an optical technique which focuses on the distance between the foreground and background using lenses of different focal lengths. When we use the wider lenses it results in more of the background being shown. The use of longer lenses in a frame results in compression of the distance leading to the perception of space being diminished.


Given below are the points which can be applied to your own paintings.

a) The concept of framing as a composition technique can be compared to the physically framing of our paintings. The idea behind both the types of framing is to draw our attention.

b) Framing can be created in your paintings by making use of nature, darkness or architecture. The use of darkness as a framing technique is more effective.

c) You can draw the attention of the people by using Framing so it is recommended to use it in your painting to highlight the important areas.