Saturday, November 29, 2014

On The Bench - Finishing Touch on Gallery Wrap Canvas

As painters, we quite often look for economical and innovative ways to present our artwork so that it looks finished and polished, yet we do not incur the cost of framing. To this end, I often wait untill stretched canvases go on sale at my favorite art stores, then buy up as many as I can afford at the time, all Gallery Wrapped with at least 1 1/2 inches depth on the sides.

"Oceans", 4in x 12in x 3panels, Acrylic

Why this type of canvas? For 3 reasons: 1) there are no staples in the sides of a gallery wrapped canvas - they are on the bottom (art show submission guidelines and galleries generally will not accept artwork with side staples showing), 2) having paintable sides for your artwork increases the "real estate" available for your work, and 3) by finishing the sides of the painting, the artwork appears "finished" and can be hung on the wall straight away without having to invest in framing, but rather leaving framing options open to the purchaser of the art.

"Lonely Tree", 9in x 12 in, Encaustic Wax & India Ink

I know many artists, myself included, who actually continue the painting from the front of the gallery wrapped canvas onto the sides, which gives added interest to the work. However, often the front of the painting can be best enhanced by adding a dramatic solid dark color to the sides.

"Us", 30in x 40in, Acrylic & Encaustic Wax on Paper 

While I often see artists paint the sides of their gallery wrapped canvas with flat black paint, I prefer to use a dark dramatic COLOR instead. Most of the time I reach for Payne's Gray, which has a lovely dark blue hue. Sometimes, though, I like to match my painting colors more closely and mix the Payne's Gray in with another transparent color, such as the example below where I used mostly Alizarin Crimson with a touch of Payne's Gray to darken.

By using Payne's Gray as my darkening color instead of Black, I find the resulting colors not only have the dark drama I'm going for, but they also have a depth and interest that comes from light going through and bouncing out of the color.

I hope you will give this finishing technique a try, and let me know how you finish your paintings in the comments below.

Happy Arting!  Tristina :D

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