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Friday, January 09, 2015

Why I Paint All the Way to the Edges

'Lazy Days'                9x12                pastel                ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting here $150
 I used to leave a border. I would paint on a piece of paper larger than what I wanted and draw a box for the painting. I would leave a border of an inch or so. The border was a good place to test colors. I also thought I might need the border for matting and framing.

Borders didn't work out for me though. Too many times I left more paper showing than I wanted. I didn't accurately measure or judge the border size. I also found that when I did frame I preferred no mat so I didn't really need a border. I was using more paper than I needed.

I decided to paint only on standard size paper and paint all the way to the edges. I started using tape hinges (read more about hinges here) which exposed the whole piece of paper. I saved money on paper and tape. I haven't looked back!

Painting all the way to the edges of the paper is freeing.
 My marks don't feel constricted by a border.  

My working method....all the way to the edges.Notice the tape hinges.
TIP: If you paint the the edges of the paper be sure there is nothing important to the composition at or near the edges of the paper. They might get cut off slightly by the frame. Also be sure your signature is not placed too close to the edge.  I like to imagine an large oval shape around the center of the painting. Anything outside of the oval can be less detailed. Nothing critical to the painting should be outside of this oval!

My preselected palette

The black and white thumbnail

my reference photo
 If you prefer to leave a border here are some tips from artist Robert Sloan. He always shares his wonderful tips in the comments and I appreciate his insight!
"The one thing that I always do if I can remember to is mark off the painting area separate from the paper size. I like leaving some border for matting and I will jot in crop marks in the margins in case I go over the lines and corners. I reinforce those and then when I go to take photos of it, crop the photo to the crop marks. I'll mat to the painting rather than paper size.
This also leaves me a little elbow room if my composition is off and I need a quarter inch to avoid kissing or something, having marked the lines I can move the lines. "


Meredith Adler said...

Thanks for this post, Karen. I am trying to decide these issues myself now, so truly appreciate that you have thought through a lot of these points already. The painting is wonderful!

robertsloan2art said...

Wow, thank you for quoting me! I can see why you paint without borders and it does look gorgeous when you do.

One of my reasons for the borders is just that I dislike getting my drawing board stained. I don't have the physical energy to go washing it off in the sink when it gets messy, though it's coated and I could. I do everything I can to make painting physically easy so that I can have more days when I'm capable of it.

Love the painting you posted today too, it's got such a wonderful feel to it. Great soaring depths and feels so vast, looking out a window rather than looking into something small.