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Hang pictures in unexpected groupings

There are no strict rules when it comes to hanging artwork. Mix sizes, subjects and frames to create an eye-catching display that surprises the viewer with its variety.

Scripps Howard News Service

There are no strict rules when it comes to hanging artwork. Mix sizes, subjects and frames to create an eye-catching display that surprises the viewer with its variety.

Most people like to move furniture around to keep their spaces feeling fresh. I move my artwork.

When I get the urge to mix things up I go on a picture-hanging spree. I experiment with new groupings, pairing pieces with unexpected partners and rotating in new artwork to replace ones that have grown tired.

I asked Dillon, the art-hanging guru of Nell Hill's, to give us pointers on how to warm up wide-open walls in our homes.

Pick one key piece of artwork that will serve as a focal point. For an example, he selected a large, lovely landscape framed with a classic gold wooden frame. He hung the piece several inches above the furniture so we can accessorize the top of the furniture without covering up the artwork. He's letting the gold tone of the frame and the darker colors in the painting determine the color palette for the grouping: gold and black.

Dillon never has a set plan when he starts to create an art grouping. But before he hammers in a nail, he does have an idea of what he wants the finished product to look like and uses that as his guide as he experiments with the pieces he selects and where they are placed. In this case, he decided to create a symmetrical look using traditional artwork in a black-and-gold palette. So he picked a variety of art pieces that vary in shape, size and medium. First to go up is a horizontal landscape in an ornate gold frame. Dillon centers this piece above the large painting like a crown.

Next he hangs a pair of decorative plates with an Asian motif. The plates add interest to our growing grouping by introducing a new shape, subject and medium.

I really like art collections that feature pieces in a wide range of sizes. So does Dillon. That's why he frequently adds tiny treasures to the montages he creates at Nell Hill's. In our project, he picked a pair of line drawings whose long, thin, rectangular shape and gold frames mirror the landscape he hung on top of the key painting. When you pull together artwork to create a display, try mixing your mediums, pairing line drawings, architectural sketches and paintings together.

Dillon makes the display 3-D by adding plaster wall shelves. Each wall shelf is a piece of art in and of itself, plus the shelves provide a platform upon which to place other artwork. Try propping a small piece of art in an easel atop the shelf or putting a candlestick or some other accent there.

Dillon added a pair of silhouette busts, one of a lady and the other of a gentleman, to lend charm to this attractive grouping. He nestled them into the dead space above the focal point art, centered on either side of the top piece. The black tone reinforces the black-and-gold palette.

Hang pictures in unexpected groupings 07/05/10 [Last modified: Monday, July 5, 2010 1:00pm]

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