Edges are big, maybe huge in painting. But let's talk about the edges of a canvas rather than the edges within a piece! I've gone through quite an evolution in terms of how I handle finishing the edges of my larger pieces. Currently, I use black gesso that I've thinned out to a sticky, not soupy consistency. I mix a good amount of this up ahead of time, so it's ready to go when I need it. I have a couple brushes that are the right size and keep them just for the task of painting the edges.
I have gone to this "black gallery stripe" rather than painting the image around the edge or leaving the canvas raw. I received feedback from a couple galleries that the method of painting the image around the edge was too similar to a giclee wrap and made original pieces feel like reproductions! Not good. Leaving the raw canvas didn't feel right either, making me feel the pieces weren't quite finished. It's also hard to keep the raw canvas tidy when you are throwing paint around.
I'm working on some new stuff that is on wood panel. I've taped off the edges just experimenting with leaving the wood edge, but I'll have to see how that looks. I may end up painting those edges black too.
I think it's important to put some thought into how a work is finished and presented. Next blog post; signatures. Happy Painting!!