I always make sure my edges, like the corner edge is well covered in paint. So I'll sometimes bring my brush around the edge.
Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions, where we're talking about hot topics for the season, that'll make a difference to your art. I'm your host, Marijanel, joined by my co-host, Charla Maarschalk. Let's get to it. Welcome to the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions. Today, I have some surprise Q and A questions for my co-host, Charla. Maarschalk.
Like, they're really a surprise. I have no idea.
Yeah, they really are a surprise. Now, sometimes you might, you might be familiar with the fact that sometimes Charla and I have pre-show conversations, which really we should be recording, but this time she has no clue what I'm gonna ask her. And, and honestly, you know, we're, we're calling these Summer Sessions, the hot topics of the season. I don't know if this would be considered a hot topic, but it's definitely a topic that artists talk about. And that might mean it's, it seems like a boring topic to other people, but we, there were three artists together in Charla's studio. About two weeks ago, we were all in Charla's studio filming, and there arose a subject in the studio that I thought we all love talking about this. We actually keep talking about this. And it ended up being like maybe a good 15 minute conversation about how artists finish the sides of their canvas. And what's really interesting to me is that, um, I have always felt the need to wrap my painting. And what that means is like, I feel the need that when I'm painting, I need to bring my colors around the side and like have everything be cohesive around the edge. And Charla said something that blew my mind. Do you remember what you said to me, Charla?
You said... You really did like complete mind shift for me. You said, "That isn't a natural part of the process." And I was like, what? Hang on a sec. No wonder I can't stay in flow when I'm doing that. I, yeah, I have not realized that that painting and wrapping around the edge was actually taking me constantly out of my like flow and zone, because I'd be, I'd be having such a good time painting, and right in the, right in the zone, and then I'd be like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Make sure that wraps around the side. And then I start doing that in order to get this certain aesthetic. And you, you don't paint that way. You...
Tell me your process.
Well, when, when we were having that conversation, I remember Liz saying, Liz Ranney was in the studio with us that day. And she was saying like that she, I think I got the, I got the impression. Now, if I went back and could replay the conversation, maybe she said something, a bit differently. But this is how I remember it, that she tried doing it, like after, like she paint the painting and then she would try to wrap it afterwards. And it was like, this is just work. Like it's too much work. to try and, and do it after the fact. And then you're saying that you were doing it during the fact mm-hmm and that's probably where I would've made that comment. Well, it's just not a natural part of the process,. 'Cuz I have thought about it a lot.
'Cuz in photography, when you get a canvas wrap, you always have the, um, option to wrap the photo right around or have the black edge. And when they wrap the photo, it looks kind of cool because it's a continuation of the photo, but it always bugged me because it would take parts of the photo off the front, and then you wouldn't be able to see that entire composition on the front. So, I didn't even love it as a photographer, but people, other people, the viewers thought it was really cool and fun. And maybe it's like slightly 3d or something. Maybe that creates a little bit of an interest, but it Al it kind of bugged me as a photographer. So as an artist, I was like, how can I do that as part of the process? And it just wasn't.
It was like, you can't see it. It's a lot of work. so yeah. So what I do is, um, and I've, I don't think I've ever painted it or wrapped it. Um, I just paint my edges black and what I do now, which I didn't always do, but I buy black Jesso because it's a matt finish. It's a really nice finish. And um, an art, a local artist called Nicky Balfour was one who told me that's what she did. And 'cause I was just using like buying regular black paint, and she's like, well, I use the Jesso because of the finish is so nice, and it's less distracting. And black Jesso is really black .The blacker, the black, it means that the more light doesn't bounce off of it.
So, it almost becomes like a barrier to everything else that's around it. You know, it becomes like a boundary point for your eye maybe. So that's like a border, so it doesn't go off onto something else. That's that's how I look at it in my own head. Um, so I really love a black matte Jesso edge, 'cuz it's like, a really good finish.
And so, do you do this at the end, after you've painted your piece, you then paint it black? Or do you start with a black edge?
I paint it after.
Because you'll, it always drips one way or another out around the edges.
Now, something I do do when I'm painting is -- like, say I'm painting a black or a blue background on the art -- I always make sure my edges, like the corner edge is well covered in paint. So, I'll sometimes bring my brush around the edge just to make sure the edge is painted because sometimes if you've like, if you're painting a low key, like dark blue painting, and you go to paint your black edge, there can be this awkward white space that you haven't painted over. And if you bring the black too far around to the front, it can mess with the front of your canvas.
So, when I'm painting, I do make sure I bring it over the corner. You know, that corner that makes the transition from the front to the side. I always bring the paint around so that I don't have to bring the black too far into the front. So, I guess there's a little bit of an art form to edges.
Yeah, absolutely. And even if this isn't a hot topic, I think it's a very valuable topic. I think every artist has wondered what do I do with those edges? And we're all trying to find our style and what we think works and what looks good on the wall too, because I love a nice wrapped edge. As you said in photography, it's so classy, but it takes away from the photograph. Um, it takes, you know, that two inches off the sides. And then as a painter, I've, you know, I've tried to bring the piece around, but I find it interrupts my flow. Um, but just as a, I guess, a practical tip, what do you paint the edges with? Are you using a paintbrush and then like keeping a really straight line or can you roller? Can you like get a little roller and like, and just be done? Or like what's the process there?
Well, I use a brush. My work is often really textured and if I'm, um, intentionally texturing it, I'll often really like my edges to be very textured and thick. So, sometimes what that will look like is the texture, you know, you've got the edge of the paint, the texture will actually like come out over that edge a little bit. So, if I use -- a roller would never work because there's just too much texture that's coming out around the edge. So, I use a paint brush, and I use a very flat, thin, paint brush that creates a nice sharp edge. And Jesso is also a little bit like ,'cuz I use heavy body paints, jesso is a thinner paint. So, I I'm often weting my brush. So that, that paint stays really liquidy, but doesn't go transparent, and so it can create a sharp edge.
And I also don't create, uh, paint my edges the same day as I paint my work. I usually leave them, like, honestly I just leave them until I have a show. And then when I have a show I'm like, crap, I have 10, 10 pieces that need edges painted, which really takes all day by the time you get it all, especially if they're big. Um, so I do, it would be ideal to probably do that at the end of your painting so they're always completed, and they're finished. But usually you can tell if one of my pieces hasn't been in a show because their edges aren't painted. So, yeah.
That would be the giveaway.
That's the giveaway.
So, another question that I hear a lot of Bold School community members ask you is if you varnish your paintings.
Oh, varnish. See, this is a controversial topic right there.
Oh. Well, let's just keep it, we gotta keep it short today for the Summer Sessions, but just, just the nutshell of, um, you know, how Charla feels about varnish.
This is how I feel. Don't take this...
Yeah. 'Cause it's controversial.
Yes. This is just maybe, um... Well, I used to varnish them. When I first started, I was terrified I was gonna do something wrong, and if I was gonna be a professional artist, then I had to do everything exactly right. But there's not a lot of right ways. Well, no there are right ways, but there's usually a variety of right ways. And so I was always taking the time to varnish my work and I... So, there is a couple of reasons to varnish your work. If you're using, um, I'm probably jumping ahead, but I started realizing that sometimes I would use matte paints and sometimes I would be using glossy paints, and depending if I was using like a gel medium to mix in and I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. And then if you use a, these fluorescent paints, like these super neon paints that Golden has now, they have a different glean to them.
Is that the right word?
Um, so by varnishing your work, you can just create a surface that's, you know, get rid of all of those different surfaces, which is definitely a reason to varnish your work. Other than what people think is the typical reason to varnish your work is to give it, um, like, archival quality. So, there's a couple of different ways to look at it. I was always varnishing my work, but what I was realizing was that the advice I was getting was I was varnishing my work with the, um, varnishes that had the same properties as acrylic paint. And like some, I think there was one guy was talking about like a, a watered-down version of a medium or... So, I can't even remember 'cause it was so long ago. And then I just, I, I heard probably somebody on a podcast say, your varnishes are made out of the same thing that acrylic paint is made out of.
And acrylic paint is very durable and light-safe. And it's just the way it's made now. It's, it's almost like nothing can harm it. Like I am not too, um, careful when I'm moving my work because it takes a lot to damage an acrylic surface. Now, I have done it. So, I wouldn't say throw your work around, but, um, it's very durable. And so I actually stopped varnishing my work because it was another step, and it... Time consuming step that irritated me, and I wanted the easy way out. So, I stopped varnishing my work. But I know I've talked to people who still talk about life, uh, light safeness, I guess. Like, the life of your artwork. If you're putting it in front of the sun, and the sun is blasting on it every single day, there is a possibility that in a hundred years that work will have faded even in acrylic piece. And varnishing, a lot of the time, is to, to protect the colors so that they stay vibrant. So, that's as much as I know about the topic, I don't have a lot more knowledge on it to share, but, um...
No, that's excellent. Both of these, um, tips that you've shared today about finishing the sides, how you finish the sides of your canvas and even your approach to varnishing, is really helpful because I know every artist has to make those decisions for themselves of how they're gonna paint the sides, and how they're gonna finish with the, you know, some sort of top coat or not. And so, I appreciate you sharing with us here on the Bold Artist Podcast, Summer Sessions. And I hope that all the watchers and listeners will make sure to get on our newsletter. You can find that @boldschool.com and you can find us on Instagram @boldschoolinc. And right here on YouTube, on the Bold School channel. And then until next time, keep creating.