To Frame or Not to Frame

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If you purchased a stretched canvas painting you can display it right away, even if the sides of the canvas haven’t been painted.

(To paint the sides or not: Some artists paint them, but others prefer not to. Leaving the edges unpainted suggests that the work can, but doesn’t have to, be framed. Some artists never paint to the edge of the canvas. They even leave an unpainted border around the front of the painting. It all depends on the artist. Personally I don’t like to see a painting where the subject matter has been painted on the sides. It reminds me of those stretched canvas prints you buy at your local store for $20. I don’t like my paintings to look like wallpapers – so I usually don’t paint the sides of the canvas.)

Back to the framing:
In any case, you don’t need to frame your stretched canvas painting. In fact, you can create a gallery wall where you can display all kinds of paintings: framed and unframed. It all depends on your taste.

When thinking about framing your artwork, consider the following questions:

  • Is this a stretched canvas painting?
  • How big is the canvas?
  • If I’m purchasing it for a specific wall, will it fit after I frame it? How much does the frame add to the size of the painting? 
  • How much am I ready to spend on framing? What are the linen liners for the painting and why are they used? (Linen liners are the canvas version of the mat. Like mats, linen liners are often used to add a decorative accent to the painting.)

I prefer to frame all of my paintings. If you’re thinking about getting your art framed, you might want to shop around for a good quality and reasonably priced frame. The frames can be expensive, depending on the quality and make. Sometimes you’ll pay more for the frame than you will for your smaller size painting.

Take a look at some differences between framed and unframed art work.


Written by Vedrana Vodopivec
March, 2021