Early in my career, I was met with conflicting advice from two of my favorite instructors concerning whether or not I should paint the sides of my canvas.
One instructor told me to always paint the sides because the painting would not look finished unless I did so, and the other told me to never paint the sides because it was tacky, and it did not lend itself well to abstraction.
There is not much consensus amongst artists whether the sides of the painting should/should not be painted, and with what color. As a result of so many differences of opinions, I decided that my best course of action was to do what I wanted.
Personally, I like the look of painted sides. I embrace the drips, smudges and fingerprints as a part of the finished work. I think they offer an intriguing glimpse into how the painting was created, and into the artist’s process.
Another reason I prefer to paint the sides of my canvas is because quite often, my clients prefer to hang my paintings without a frame. Painting the sides makes the painting look more finished.
That said, I paint the sides without meticulously “wrapping” the painting around the edges. I think this gives the painting a more modern and contemporary feel.
Some of my students find the “messiness” created by the drips and fingerprints unacceptable, so I recommend that they wait to paint the sides until they’re finished with the front. Once finished, they can paint the sides of the canvas with a dark color like Payne’s grey. If you decide to go this route, remember to tilt your roller so that you don’t end up painting on the front of the canvas as well.
I believe that creating a piece of art should be personal. So indulged your own creative urges and reasoning when deciding whether or not to paint the sides of your canvas.
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This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.