Thoughts on the edges of the painting

Over the years I have tried many different approaches on how to finish of the edge of a painting.

My goal was to find out which technique worked best and then be consistent on all my canvases.

My findings:

  1. It depends on the subject matter of the painting.
  2. I prefer a raw edge with natural markings.
  3. The Gallery Wrap approach looks to much like reproduction art.

I found for me that my favorite was an edge that is left untouched and yet showed markings from the history of the painting.  Now to some this might come across as unfinished, I feel that in the age of reproduced art, a rough edge is the first way to tell if it’s a reproduction. When I look at a messy edge of a painting I feel like I am getting a sneak peak into the artist studio, it’s a treasure.  My heart sinks a bit when I see an edge that was painted over to mimic a store bought print.

So below I have made a list of examples and the pros and cons of each.

What are you thoughts? Leave natural or paint the sides?

An example of a Gallery Wrap

An example of a Gallery Wrap, artist unknown

canvas edges, paint, what to do with the edge of a painting?

In this example, the edge is left raw leaving only natural marks.



In this example, The Edge is left natural with my signature.





In this example, the edges were left raw and now show years of painting on the edge.


In this example, I painted the edges black to tie in with the edge on the surface.


In this example, I painted the edge so that it would give it a 3D look and feel.


In this example, I painted on Panel Board and allowed natural marks from the process show.


In this example, I painted the edges a solid grey.