Are you new to buying original watercolor artwork? If so, my one big tip is to think about the size of the painting before you buy it! Unless your new original painting is ready-to-frame (i.e. painted on a stretched canvas, panel or already matted and framed), you will need to figure out how to display it yourself. Custom matting and framing can be super expensive, so it really pays to purchase a painting that is already a standard frame size.
Here in the United States, some of the most common frame sizes that you can find ready made are 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 inches. If you purchase a painting that is one of those standard frame sizes, you will easily be able to find a frame to frame it yourself cheaply and easily at home! My best resource for beautiful standard size wall or table frames is Hobby Lobby or Michael's.
If you live by a Hobby Lobby, make sure to wait until their frames are on sale. To check current sales, visit this link. They will eventually be up to 50% off, so I'd wait to purchase until they are running that special. Also, another good tip is Hobby Lobby usually only has either their wall frames or table frames on sale and not both. Table frames (those are the ones with the little stand on the back so they can sit on a table) generally only go up to 8x10", so if you want something bigger, wait for the wall frames to go on sale. If Michael's is your store of choice, they usually have a 40% off coupon every week in the newspaper and it's good for one non-sale item, so make sure to grab that before you head to the store.
I definitely suggest matting your new piece of original artwork. Matting can really complement the piece and help to make a statement on your wall. Just because the painting may be smaller, doesn't mean that it can't have a huge impact on your wall. You can also find standard frame size mats very cheap at Hobby Lobby and Michael's. If you purchase a 5x7, you can mat up your painting to an 8x10. If you purchase an 8x10, you can mat your painting up to an 11x14 and so on. This is another reason why it's great to purchase an original painting in a standard frame size.
I have gotten in the habit of painting my original watercolor paintings in standard frame sizes to allow my customers to easily frame and mat their pieces. You can see all of my fantasy original watercolor paintings in my Etsy store here. However, that's not to say that originals painted in non-standard frame sizes aren't incredibly beautiful and deserving of being purchased! Having a very uniquely shaped original painting, like a long skinny piece or a round piece, can also be very lovely and eye-catching. But just keep in mind the expense to mat and frame a piece like this will be much higher.
If you purchase a piece of original artwork that is not a standard frame size, don't fret! You can still cut your costs significantly by just purchasing a custom mat that will mat your painting to a standard frame size. Say for instance your painting is 6x7." You could purchase a custom mat that would mat it up to an 8x10" size. Just talk to the friendly people at your Hobby Lobby or Michael's frame counter. Then you can purchase a ready-made 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 or 16x20 frame as I mentioned above. You will save a lot more money doing this than if you were to purchase both a custom frame and a custom mat.
Here's an example of a framing job that I did for my own wall. This is an 8x10" print of my fairy painting, Arden. The original has sold and gone to a good home, but I loved the piece and thought that she was deserving of a place on my wall, so I decided to hang a print of her! I found this gorgeous, ornate frame at Joanne Fabrics on sale. The total price was around $20. This particular frame was great, because it came ready with a mat that mimics elaborate carving. This also shows that even though the print is only 8x10", it can still look big and impressive on a wall just by matting and framing it a certain way.
Of course it all comes down to personal preference and what works best for your budget. Most of the time, when we have our heart set on a new piece of art we will buy it no matter what the size! But hopefully you all found this little guide helpful so that you can save a few extra dollars which you can then use towards investing in your next original painting!