Inside Art and Frame > Canvas: Framing the Painter's Surface of Choice
Canvas: Framing the Painter's Surface of Choice
Jul 27, 2010 --
A stretched canvas.

Since about the 17th century in Europe, canvas has been the preferred support for many painters. Being lightweight, flexible, and easy to store and transport, painting on canvas has a lot of benefits. So, as an artist or art consumer, what do you do when you have a canvas you want to hang in your home?

If you have a stretched canvas, then all you need to do is put a frame on it! Stretched canvases with a clean outside edge can even be wired to hang on their own. If you do choose to frame it, there are a few routes you can take. First, is a traditional frame. Typically, a canvas painting looks best with a relatively wide frame. You can also add a fillet or a linen liner to the inner edge of the frame to increase the frame's width and offset the painting. Second, you can use what's called a "floater frame" - unlike a traditional frame that sits on top of the canvas, a floater frame creates a narrow casing that the canvas sits inside of. The effect is clean and unobtrusive, well-suited to contemporary works.

A framed painting by Vermeer.

Sometimes, in an effort to make their work easier to store and transport, an artist will cut a canvas off its stretcher. You see this quite often when buying art abroad or from street vendors. Typically, when you have unstretched canvas, the first thing you want to do is have it stretched. A framer can easily take care of this step, but depending on the condition of the canvas, certain factors may need to be taken into consideration. If the canvas is cut too close to the painting, some of the image may be lost wrapping the canvas around the sides. You can consult with a framer to see what can be done with your individual piece.

Depending on the media applied to the canvas, other mounting options are available. A canvas can be stretched onto foamcore the same way a piece of needlework is mounted, and then framed like any other flat piece of art. A print made on canvas can even be drymounted, then matted and framed like a regular print. However, keep in mind that oil paintings, no matter how they're mounted, should never be put under glass - oil paint is best preserved when it can "breathe".

With canvas art, there are a number of options to meet your style and budget. Take some time to explore your options, and adorn your walls with some classy canvases!


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