Should I paint the sides of my canvas? How do I do it if I want to? Amylee’s here to answer your questions!
Should I Paint the Sides of My Painting or leave it blank?
Today, I decided to write about a sensitive subject, a topic that divides many artists, gallery owners and collectors. Do you wonder what I am talking about?
The edges, the sides of your painting … (drum roll) Should you paint them or should you leave them blank? That’s the big question.
If you are observant, you will have noticed that sometimes paintings have their sides painted. Some artists feel the need to paint the side, though others do not. Some gallery owners or buyers prefer that the sides be painted and others will happily leave them blank.
Is there a rule for this?
Personally, I have never heard or read that such a rule exists. It’s more of a habit, or a matter of taste.
The Effects of a Blank Edge:
- traditional, “old fashioned” method
- looks genuinely handmade from a studio
- adds separation between the wall and canvas
- can appear that the work is waiting for a frame
- Offers the possibility for the buyer, or the gallery owner to frame the piece of art according to their taste.
GOOD TO KNOW: In the United Kingdom and United States, galleries tend to frame canvases. It is better to stay focused on the creation and not waste time on the edges if you exhibit there.
The Effects of a Painted Edge:
- modern method
- gives a finished side, neater, more pleasant to look at
- avoids the need for framing
- hides fingerprints or smudges that may appear during the creative process
- protects the fabric and makes cleaning easier
- brings a 3D effect to the composition
GOOD TO KNOW: A sharp, white edge is generally better, especially if the gallery has white walls.
The Disadvantages of a Painted Edge
- One might think that the painting was originally stretched on a bigger frame
- One might think that the image continues on the back of the canvas
- The composition sometimes appears distorted when it continues onto the sides
8 Suggestions if you are Painting the Edges of your Canvas
- PURE WHITE – Apply paint for a clean, neat look.
- ALL OVER – Paint an extension of the composition.
- DESIGN – Create a new design or use strips of decopatch paper.
- POURING – Pour the paint over the edges as part ofthe composition.
- NEUTRAL – Apply one colour (black, grey, brown, or a dominant shade).
- LUXURY – Apply a metallic paint (gold or silver).
- ARTY – Use all the colours of your palette.
- PROTECTION – Use an adhesive cloth fabric tape (available in black, white, and grey).
- SHOW OFF – fit a molding frame or floating frame.
What materials should I use?
- acrylic paint (it dries quickly)
- painting roller
- or use a flat and wide brush (between 1 to 2 cm)
- Masking tape (paper-based, preferably “Precision” adhesive tape that makes lines without smudging)
- adhesive fabric tape (available in white, black and others colours)
- DecoPatch tissue paper + glue varnish
- gold leaf, silver + gilding size or metallic paint
- gesso (white or transparent)
Most of these products are currently available at GreatArt Online or in their art supply shop in London Shoreditch..
GOOD TO KNOW: Some artists do not add colour to the edge but just apply 1 or 2 layers of Gesso to prevent dust from getting into the fabric of the canvas. The top edge, the horizontal one, picks up more dust than the other sides.
Many Artists, Many Opinions:
Tastes and colours are not chosen according to a specific criteria. It is therefore pointless for me to try to convince anyone which option is the right one when it comes to covering or not covering the sides of a painting. No way is the true ‘right way.’
I personally feel a sense of accomplishment when I paint the sides of mine. The most important thing is personal taste!
GREAT TO KNOW – Find all Amylee’s posts published in GreatArt online Magazine by clicking here!
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