I Framed Them All | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


A picture frame has the function of exhibiting an idea. It keeps the viewer’ eye inside of its borders without letting the surroundings distract his/her fantasy. A picture frame also functions as a curtain over a stage, which like a theatre play will immerse the viewers in the mind of the artist.

A picture frame must not attract attention to itself, it must be decorative enough to embellish the artwork and complement it, while remaining in second position.
Gold, silver, black, white or natural woods are generally the frames most used to dress an image and to stay behind the scene, sort of speaking. (Click each photo to view it larger).


©Valentina Cirasola


What if you have an interesting image you want to frame regardless of the intrinsic value? Or what if you went to a second-hand store and found the perfect frame for an art piece you painted yourself? In both cases you might want to treat the frame as the dress for the image. Decide which is the colors inside of the image you like to pick up and carry it on the pass-par-tout (matt) and on the frame itself. The result will be a very decorative and original piece for your wall.

The procedure to decorate a frame in your style is very simple. You must first decide if you want the frame to show the wood grain, or if you want to paint the frame in color.

If you have a frame in natural wood and want to keep it natural, then you only need to use a clear, non-yellowing varnish, or perhaps use a varnish with a wood tone color, such as Mahogany tone, cherry wood tone, oak tone and much more. Let it dry, add the image and nothing needs to be done. Wash your brush in water when using a water base varnish; for oil-based varnish, use turpentine to wash your brushes.


The challenge comes if you wish to have a colored frame. Don’t le it scare you though, painting a picture frame is a fun project. First choose the color, based as I said earlier, on some color details inside of the image. If the frame is used, from a flea market, you need to sand off the original color almost to the bare wood. Paint a white base coat to cover all wood imperfection and then apply a coat or two of the color of your liking. Acrylic or flat latex paints are both good choices and the brushes used for these paints are washable in water.

©Valentina Cirasola

Now, you might want to leave the frame with a couple of paint coats, or continue to further embellish it. If you look at my minstrel image (above), you will notice that the frame picks up some colors of the image. To add some depth and interest, I also added some gold design on top of the frame painted Chartreuse green. That detail came from a photo of a medieval fabric, just to be in tune with the subject, I outlined it free hand on the frame and then painted the lines in gold with a small brush.

I painted the frame black to echo the black and white silhouette of the subject and added some bronze color rosettes in each corners to also echoes some bronze details in the weathervane sketch.

©Valentina Cirasola


The striped frame picks up the color of the lady’s dress. Green, opposite to pink on the color wheel is the perfect complement. To paint this frame, I calculated first how many stripes I wanted, divided the length of each side by the number of stripes; with pencil and ruler I marked the space, then I painted all the pink stripes followed by the green stripes.

©Valentina Cirasola


Aside from these examples, you can attach many objects to a painted frame as your fancy strikes and really show your creativity.

Looking at artwork made by masters it puzzles me to see how perfect anonymous people have framed famous art for centuries, making it appear as the art and the frame were born together. When you will design your artwork and the frame to go with it, your creation will be twice as much as precious.

The fall brings a new energy, new light and new color, a home should reflect the change in nature. This is the right time to ask me for advice on how to bring that new energy to your surroundings. Ciao.

Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual.
Check out her books on 

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w


The Power Of An Idea | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


(Concept Spatiale 1959 – painting by Lucio Fontana)

Not too long ago, I was 14 years young, and I found myself with a bunch of middle school kids going to visit the Pinacoteca, a large museum of my hometown in Bari, Italy. We were somewhat well-mannered kids, but the yearly school trip in a bus, guided by a couple of teachers was more an excuse to be silly for one day and an escape from everyday routine sitting at a school desk than a time to learn something in the fields of life.

The Pinacoteca is a large neo-classical building with large open spaces and so much art on the walls we had never seen before, of course we were only thirteen and fourteen years of age. Each art piece amused us in some ways or another while teachers were making efforts in keeping us attentive to their explanations and comments on the beautiful art pieces. We arrived in front of Lucio Fontana’s paintings and we were abruptly silenced at the view of sliced up canvases, at least that’s what we thought they were.

Concetto_Spaziale-waterpaint_and_oil_on_canvas_by_Lucio_Fontana_1964-55x46cmThe Argentine-Italian artist was well-known in Europe for his series of slashed monochrome paintings. Sometimes he embellished the slashed canvases with costume jewelry and glitters. Lucio Fontana, lived between 1899–1968. His art was seen a mixture of avant-garde art under Italian fascism and kitsch painting of the postwar economic miracle. “Fontana attacked the idealism of twentieth-century art by marrying modernist aesthetics to industrialized mass culture” said art critic Anthony White. His art was a reflection of his time and it was perhaps the beginning of pop art.

Lucio Fontana started developing the idea of space-oriented art, renouncing the usage of traditional materials and painting objects with fluorescent colors in dark rooms illuminated by ultraviolet light.

The perforated canvasses marked the starting of a new “Concetto Spaziale” Spatial Concept and did not come until the beginning of 1950. It was this idea that really left a mark in the art world.
Today Fontana’s works can be found in the permanent collections of more than one hundred museums around the world.

(Right: photography of Lucio Fontana by Ugo Mulas).


Why did I tell this story? I recalled asking one of my teachers on that field trip to the Pinacoteca, if Fontana’s art was really to be considered art. With all my disbelief, I thought anybody could have taken the knife and slash the canvasses. I thought art was supposed to be an extension of what is in our mind, not just an act of a “crazy moment”.
I said to my teacher that I could have done just the same and make a ton of money like him. She responded by saying: “Yes, you could have done the same, but he had the idea first!”

My teacher’s answer was simple, but powerful and stayed with me my entire life. Never underestimate the power of your idea, regardless of how big or small it might be. Ciao,


Copyright © 2012 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive art. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul. She is the forthcoming author of her book on colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors, which will be released very soon. Check out her books on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Rotate Your Art, Rotate Your Mood | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer


July 20th is Moon Day, I feel like celebrating all the lunatics in my life. I wished, but no, I am joking.
There is no doubt we are under the influence of planets and moon phases. I am wondering if the artist Sydell Lewis (http://www.sydellart.com/) featured here was guided by a fabulous moon when she decided to paint them.

Her art is not only vivid in colors, but my eyes perceive a certain mysticism when turning the painting in different direction. In the back of some of her paintings there is a revolving mechanism, an innovative, brilliant idea, which turns the artwork upside down, or side ways, thus changing the image altogether and offering a completely different interpretation. Not all her artwork comes with the said rotating mechanism, some are still in frames as we are accustomed to see art.

The artist was telling me that the idea of the rotating mechanism came one day while she was hiking. She realized that the path she was on looked so much different coming back than the way it looked going up. Coming back she noticed more views and more details, just because she was crossing different angles.
All artists’ goal is to create an emotional and visual impact, but Sydell, also wants to create a stimulus for the viewers and open more possibility to their imagination. To that thought, I would add that she paints energy in a multi-striate form, which by turning it in many directions helps changing the viewer’s mood and fantasy.

Energy is exactly the positive or negative element which runs in our home or office spaces, it depends on how harmoniously the furniture arrangement flow with colors and light, order or clutter, cleanliness or dirtiness.

Chinese people celebrate endless series of festivals during the course of a year. Most of the festivals take place on important dates in the Chinese lunar calendar. Their furniture arrangements and the direction of a home when is in the building phase also have a lot to do with positive and negative energy.

I remember when my mom changed the furniture arrangement at least three times a year, when we were lucky. Sometimes coming back from school, my room had changed location entirely and not just the furniture.
I don’t know if my mom was guided by lunar changes, she was a fashion designer and a pretty creative type, but she sure allowed herself to be playful with the arrangements of furniture, accessories, fabrics and colors. She even used the backside of a fabric to create an original dress.
Today, in smaller doses, I do the same in my house, but only because I don’t have a huge block of time to play with my furniture. My wall art is in constant rotation, according to my mood. In the spring I put up bright and cheerful paintings, in the autumn I put up painting with warmer colors and other times, I take down everything and hang only mirrors. Accessories and accent chairs also go from room to room and find a better place to shine every time. This is called floating the furniture, a technique I use when I stage a home for resale. Moving furniture around from room to room will save my clients’ money while achieving a good decorating result. Even small objects will change the energy in the house when we place them in a different location, actually they will look even newer.

Nowadays we designers break rules more often than not. A portrait will always be seen with the person’s head up (I think), but an abstract painting leaves so much to the imagination.
Aside from the fact that I never see the artist’s interpretation, why not hang the art on the walls the way I see it, or the way it satisfies my mood in a particular day. Now we have the rotating mechanism to help us feel free to express ourselves even more without incurring in the situation of offending the artist.

As the lunar phases are created by changing angles (relative positions) of the earth, as our mood changes according to the angles of happenings in our life, the same way we should allow the energy of your home to change according to our likings. If you feel to hang a paintings upside down it’s OK, it is no longer considered “lunacy”.

(All photos are property of Artist Sydell Lewis)

As the professional who is always ready, I shall be prompt and ready to help you with any of your needs, whether it will be decorating, designing, or remodeling, just don’t forget to leave your name in the box below. Ciao,



Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior and former Fashion Designer, working in the USA and Europe. She blends well fashion and interior in any of her design work. She loves to remodel homes and loves to create the unusual. She is the author of three books available on 

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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