How should an artist finish the back of their canvas for a gallery

I am trying to figure out how to finish the back of my canvas professionally. Any help would be great

Question 1
To present it professionally does the artist need to do anything special such as use brown paper and staple to the back or leave it without a backing?

Question 2
Does the color extend all the way to the very back of the canvas or should one paint it white? I know the edges are to be colored with black or wrap the color around but the very back always has messy paint, should anything be done with this area?

Question 3
Also, where ideally would the artist place information such as title and signature, size on the lip of the canvas on the back or anywhere on the canvas backing, and is that ideally done in a micron pen?

Thank you for your help.

Hi Roe, I think I can answer two of your questions and will check back to see what others say about question 3. I wonder about that as well.
Question 1. I do not do anything to the back of the canvas except trim any excess folded bits to be all about the same size.
Question 2. Always neaten up the folded edges with white gesso or white paint so it looks clean. This was drilled into us at a workshop years ago and has stuck with me. It does really look so much better.
Happy painting, Barb

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Hi Barb
Thanks so much for responding, this is a real help. Let me know when you have some information on how to sign the back of the canvas with title etc…and if it is in mirco pen or another type.

I have one other question would you know how to safely transport canvas to a art show without them getting damaged? I have damaged so many of them.

I have card board corner on the canvas now but they will not stay on and keep falling off. I read somewhere to use parchment paper and tape it over the front and then place it in bubble wrap

All help is greatly appreicated.

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I paint on primed and gessoed hardboard. I coat the back, white. I write the title and location on the back and my website address. I also write a couple of sentences about, the painting or location or experience while painting there. I paint on location. Collectors love that there is a message on the back of my work. It feels personal. Hope that helps.

Thanks that is interesting about writing about the peice

How large are the canvases you are talking about?
Are they gallery wrapped (finished folded canvas sides meant to be painted) or a standard type meant to be framed?
What are the measurements of the stretcher bars? ie; 3/4", 1", 1.5", 2’ ?

It makes a difference for the answer.

Hi David
I have a range of sizes from 16x12 ,16x20,18x24 and 20x20 they are Michaels Artists 1 and Artist 2 canvas. Not framed they are meant to be painted.

And would you know a nice safe easy way to transport them? How would you wrap them for transport?

Thanks for your help

What type of board do you use?

I use hardboard or what is sometimes called masonite. I buy big sheets and cut them to size. I seal with gak, then apply 2 coats of primer, like Zisser. Lightly sand, then a coat of gesso, sand again and apply final coat. Then I tint with a transparent color. Hope that helps

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Thank you for sharing that info!

If you prefer to extend the background color to the back, ensure that it’s done neatly and uniformly. However, leaving it white or a neutral color is a common practice. This helps keep the back of the canvas looking clean and professional.
With Question 3, I think placing the information on the lip of the canvas is a popular choice. This keeps the information discreet and close to the artwork. You can also include this information on the backing paper you attach to the back of the canvas. This is useful if you want to keep the front of the canvas completely free of any distractions. I find using a Micron pen or other archival-quality pen is great. These pens are fade-resistant and provide a professional look.

Thank you for answering my questions. I always thought the excess paint on the very back of the canvas looked unprofessional so I will be painting it white to have it have the clean look. Over the years I have tried many pens I will retry the mirconpen.

You have been a great help

Many artists choose to leave the back of the canvas clean, without any backing. This is a minimalist approach and is suitable when the back won’t be visible, such as when the canvas is framed. If you go this route, ensure that any excess staples or rough edges are neatly trimmed and the stretcher bars are well-assembled. Besides, I think attaching a sheet of acid-free brown kraft paper to the back of the canvas provides a clean and professional appearance. This not only covers the staples and stretcher bars but also adds a layer of protection against dust and debris.