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Picture perfect advice

While waiting for someone to help me fit a photo with too-thick foam backing into a frame at Michael’s, I discovered I have a talent for selecting the perfect picture frame. Even though I can barely draw a stick figure.

There were two ladies ahead of me in line. The guy-employee who worked in the section of the store where they frame artwork and other stuff seemed to know what he was doing. It was as though he had a degree in the sophisticated and mysterious world of art or at the very least, good customer service skills.

The first lady, a blonde woman with a Scandinavian accent who was fretting over possible lead contamination in the frame she wanted to replace, seemed a little clueless as to what new frame would best suit a dark, impressionable painting filled with concrete objects like apples. And squash.

With artful, customer-service-guy gone for a few minutes while he searched for something in the back, I advised lady-with-a-Scandinavian-accent to forego the cheap brown frame she was considering for one that brought out gold tones in the artwork.

“Really? You sink so?” she asked, admitting she didn’t know much about frames or art.

“Yes, I really think this frame suits the painting and blends all those burnished gold tones together,” I said, pointing to the more tasteful frame as though I was Tim Gunn on Project Runway critiquing some talented but insecure designer in the work room before the runway show. “That brown one is too plain and doesn’t show off the painting very well.”

After he returned from his errand in the back, good-customer-service guy agreed with my assessment. Scandinavian-lady seemed pleased.

After ordering the frame that brought out the gold tones and leaving her precious art with good-customer-service guy for framing, she thanked me as though I’d saved her cat from drowning in the neighbor’s pool. 

Gee, maybe I have a knack for this.

The next lady wanted to find a frame for her art deco poster.  As she placed another cheap brown frame sample around the edge and compared it to a black frame, I couldn’t help but pipe up.

“I think black would look a lot better.”

“Really? I think so too, but everyone says I should get brown.”

“Oh, no, black suits that poster a lot more. The poster seems to have a real contemporary feel to it and I think the black frame just sets it off. Brown doesn’t work at all.” 

Who is this person who speaks with such authority? 

“It is contemporary, isn’t it? Even though it’s from 1950.”

“Really?” I said of the poster that appeared to be for a Swedish airliner.

“Yes, my dad worked for Viking airlines and I was so excited to find this. I only paid $200 for it but it’s worth $1000.00.” 

Well then, I shall help you find the perfect frame.

As we set about comparing sleek frames with no design to frames that had some texture (because suddenly, we are a team) I like to think my fine art skills, honed to perfection from the previous transaction, influenced her to make the best possible choice for her cherished, contemporary poster.

She, however, was undecided. “Why don’t you go ahead and help her?” she said to customer-service guy.

Customer-service guy took my photo with the too-thick foam backing and pressed it into the frame; something neither my husband nor I were able to do at home without breaking it.

Thanking him for his help and wishing poster-lady luck, I took my newly constructed frame with photo now inserted home where my husband hung it on the wall in the foyer. 

Wow, this looks great!

It was the perfect complement to the floor vase below and frames on the opposite wall.

And because I don’t know how to end this, I’m tacking on my crap ending here:

“I should work at Michael’s!” 

There were no paintings, photos or diplomas harmed in the making of this story, although a few truths were twisted to accommodate the author’s sometimes less-than-reliable memory.

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September 22, 2012 - 8:14 pm

BECKY - Hi Pam! I love your blog…your writing and sense of humor…great! I landed here after seeing your comment on Stephen McCarthy’s blog. He is a real hoot, isn’t he?? I wish he’d blog again. He always leaves the best comments on my blog….not often, but always fantastic ones! Nice to meet you…Oh, and BTW, how was your trip to Germany? I only scanned through that post, so I hope you DID go!

September 22, 2012 - 9:40 pm

Pam Houghton - Hi Becky – thanks so much for your nice comment. I agree with you about Stephen’s blog – I was so impressed with his humor and writing ability it’s a shame he’s no longer blogging there! Hopefully, he will turn up somewhere else where we can read him. Yes, we went to Germany, and yes, we had a great time. I wrote a column about grocery shopping in Germany, but am saving it for the print world!

October 1, 2012 - 3:32 pm

fadedginger - Oh, you sound like me! I always end up helping people select their mats and frames. It would be a great job, wouldn’t it?

October 1, 2012 - 3:56 pm

Pam Houghton - Well, it was a first time for me! 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

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