Painting the Edges?

I’m torn about painting the edges of the canvas or not.  Is there a ‘rule’ or is it just personal preference?  I’ve been doing a little of both – when I finish a painting sometimes I’m just ‘done’ and don’t go back to edging until much later which isn’t good because the paint doesn’t always match.  If I remember sometimes I’ve edged right as I’m finishing the painting so the paint does match.  At this point I’m not sure if I”m going to frame or not so I’m torn.

Is it unprofessional to leave the splatters of paint that may have gone over the edge?

What are your thoughts?

Paint the edges or no?


8 thoughts on “Painting the Edges?

  1. As a non-professional, non-artist I’m not sure my opinion on this matters much, but it certainly doesn’t seem that you should feel bound to any one approach or a “rule”. That said, the edges of any composition are critically important as they set the frame in which everything is located. In my little travel photos, I’ve discovered that the right cropping can make a blah picture into a really exciting one. You might want to take a look at this too:


    • Thanks for the link Fil I’ll check it out! To clarify ‘edges’ I mean the sides of the canvas – I work with a 3/4 inch profile that could be blocked by a frame…but since I don’t know whether I’m going to frame or not it poses an interesting dilemma πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by while you’re in India. Miss you!


  2. I don’t want to sound too “rules on artsy” but, hell yes you need to paint the edges!! Lol, my husband (the one who is not an artist) always laughs at me and says, “You should know, you can’t put rules on art.” And I guess that’s true, but look at it this way-

    When someone buys an original painting on canvas from you, one of the few things that sets it apart from a reproduction is the edges. Giclees are amazing at reproducing these days, but they can’t reproduce the edges (unless you paint the edges all black or something). Think of them this way, they are a little gift, unique solely to that piece, to the buyer/owner of the original only. I think they are very, very important.
    I personally make all my edges unique and give them lots of love and don’t consider a painting done until they are done. πŸ™‚
    I know they might frame it, but I like to point out the speciality of the edges. πŸ™‚


  3. hi Sandra, bit late this comment but hopefully still of some use? At least make sure the edges are clean and tidy – in my early exhibiting days, having been assured by friends that messy, paint dripped edges looked more authentic, I could have curled up and died of embarrassment when taking my work to an exhibition I was in and the owner of the gallery gave me a lecture on professionalism and presentation – never again! I have since seen this in some works in galleries, but not many. I now make sure they’re masked off with tape to help keep them clean until finished, but I still tidy them up with white paint where needed. I’ve started painting the edges of some of my canvases in a colour that tones with or enhances the artwork, this is popular with some buyers and I like it. I wouldn’t extend the image around the edges, personally, as it looks contrived and artificial to me, but I know a lot of artists do. Hope this helps. πŸ™‚


  4. I’m not one for rules, dear Sandra; I break them all the time. That is, fashion rules, but if I were an artist, I’d break a few rules too! As long as nobody gets hurt!

    ❀ carmen


  5. The edge issue is a pain! Argh. So here’s my take on it. I personally think paintings look unfinished, basically “ungrounded” with the edges left unpainted. But painting edges is a pain-it’s never a sharp edge on the canvas, so either you get paint on the front of your painting or leave white spaces on the front when painting edges My solution for (relatively) easy edge painting after 5 years of experimenting (and sweating over this): quickly wipe a little of the paint from the front of the painting to the edges WHILE creating a painting to avoid possible white areas on the front of the painting (you’ll paint over that color/colors when you paint the edges), varnish the front of the painting so you can wipe excess paint off with a damp sponge while painting the edges/put 2-3 coats of paint on the edges to ensure an even coat/varnish the edges. Hope this helps! Naomi


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