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Old 12-18-2006, 08:44 PM
wpy wpy is offline
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What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Many people choose not to frame their paintings, opting instead for hanging the canvas sans frame on wall. If you hang your paintings this way, I was curious as to whether the sides of the canvas are painted, and, if so, what color? An underwash that was used on the painting itself? A neutral paint?
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Old 12-18-2006, 09:02 PM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

it depends on my mood, sometimes I bring the color over the edge other times I go with a dark color even though I don't use a gallery wrap and the canvas's SHOULD be framed it's an expense I try to avoid
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Old 12-19-2006, 04:41 AM
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Hi wpy, welcome to the Studio Tips forum. I've seen the three obvious options in work hung this way done by professional artists - colour(s) used in the painting taken over the sides, some sort of neutral colour used (including black) and leaving them unpainted (and not neat either!) So it would appear that there's not much consensus among artists about what's the best way of dealing with the edges.

You might also like to ask this in the forum of the medium you'll be working in to get some input from other members using the same paint type.

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Old 12-19-2006, 01:59 PM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Leaving sides unpainted is not cool. Black is usually first choice. I think anything is better than unpainted sides. Nothing screams lack of ambition like unpainted sides.
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osidianrose
Nothing screams lack of ambition like unpainted sides.
I have to say I sort of agree, I like a high degree of finish generally. But I have seen some pretty high-end work (e.g. BP portrait competition entries) with unpainted sides.

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Old 12-19-2006, 03:21 PM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

I personally like to see the art continuing around the side of the canvas. I think this shows the artist has put some thought into the piece and gives it a nice finished look.
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Old 12-23-2006, 01:15 PM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

I tend to go with the dominant colour of the painting or if there are many continue the composition around the side.

Don't like the look of unpainted around the side - looks unfinished, as though the artist didn't bother (although I'd love not to bother myself sometimes!)
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:35 AM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mick11
I personally like to see the art continuing around the side of the canvas. I think this shows the artist has put some thought into the piece and gives it a nice finished look.

not to be contentious...but just offer a difference of opinion...which I have, and that of the works I've seen do that...they are distracting and a bit trite, IMHO when the painting continues around the side. Seems too much like a gimmick...like something unframed canvases might offer at those "nothing over $49.00" famous Carren Art shows held at hotels.

Its nice to have the canvas have a clear separation from the wall and not melt into confusion...something that says..."this is the painting, pay attention to it....and here we have the wall, you may ignore it!"

White (that is clean) or neutral...even black would seem best to do that in my opinion.
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Old 12-27-2006, 01:48 AM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Simple! Mix all the unused paint on the palette at the end of the painting and use it on the sides. I do and it harmonises beautifully.
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Old 12-27-2006, 04:56 AM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
Its nice to have the canvas have a clear separation from the wall and not melt into confusion...something that says..."this is the painting, pay attention to it....and here we have the wall, you may ignore it!".

Whilst I understand what you are saying, that is one of the reasons we frame art. To me a white / black or any other solid colour you like round the sides, looks like the artist was to tight fisted to finish his/her work with a proper frame
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Old 12-29-2006, 01:47 PM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

just goes to show though, Mick...doesn't it...that opinions are a bit like armpits?

everyone has at least two and most stink....

so...I share with the foreknowledge any and all of my opinions may for whatever reasons be summarily dismissed. I'll agree to disagree with you here...though respect artists that paint around the sides. I see them, and its my reaction...so I have to honestly testify...I find something inside me cringing and negatively responding. Just want to walk away.

ITs not about laziness...
heck...I see painters of realism that tirelessly render detail upon detail, and I did so myself for near 20 years putting 200 to 300 hundred hours into a single work. Now I paint plein air or instudio with few works ever taking more than about three hours. I'm not lazy...didn't come to paint as I do today because of laziness. I came to realize a difference between realism attained, and that which projects a sense of REAL'ness. Least for my eye...

Its about taste...and taste differs for all of us, and for all of us...taste may even change over the years.

I don't think laziness when I see sides painted or not...any more than Sargent painting a bold mark in one thick stroke of paint could be accused of laziness versus another artist that might have endlessly glazed and built up to suggest the same passage in paint. Again...just my potential stinky opinion...so I hope you don't take my disagreement personal.

peace...
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Last edited by LarrySeiler : 12-29-2006 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:42 PM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
..so I hope you don't take my disagreement personal.

Hi Larry,

It would be a sad boring old world if we all liked exactly the same things.
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Old 01-16-2007, 11:37 PM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydad
Simple! Mix all the unused paint on the palette at the end of the painting and use it on the sides. I do and it harmonises beautifully.

I agree

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Old 01-17-2007, 10:45 AM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Excellent idea!. I usually do Wh or Blk, but I'll try that mixed leftover idea on my next one.

I do appreciate a good frame on a smaller piece, especially a landscape or portrait. But as far as large scale contemporary works, I'd just as soon not see any frame at all.

Last edited by rassilier : 01-17-2007 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:35 AM
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Re: What color to paint sides of hung canvas?

Rassiler, I think you've got it right...small paintings, especially done in a traditional manner look very nice with a frame. But for large contemporary work I prefer not to see a frame.

I have seen a six figure painting in a gallery in NYC without a frame...and though I don't really mind not painting the sides, what bothered me was that the stretching staples were on the side not on the back...now that irked me:-)

Personally I usually wrap the color around the side...but I'm toying with wrapping the underpainting around the sides...normally I start with very bright contrasting colors and then modify them.

The most important thing for me if not framing a large painting is make sure to use heavy duty stretchers...nothing says cheap in my opinion more than using light weight stretchers...even for small works:-)
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