I am often asked how I finish my paintings. For the last several years I have been "gallery-wrapping" my paintings, this means I continue my art work around the edges, so that it is visible from the sides, top and bottom. These art works are not meant to be framed, they are finished as is. I like this process, it looks clean and uncluttered. There is no matt or frame to detract from the art work and no glass is needed to protect the art work.
I start with a sheet of 140 LB Cold Press watercolour paper (Arches), cut to fit the wood cradled panel and the excess to wrap around the edges, like wrapping a present. When the art work is finished I turn it over to the "wrong" side and mist it with water to dampen the paper. Then I sandwich the paper between 2 linen tea towels, put a board over that and weigh it down with books and weights. It usually takes about 24 hours to dry, then I remove the weights, books, board and tea towels.
I like to give some extra protection to the wood cradled panel by putting a regular acrylic medium (thinner than the gel medium) on the inside and outside, or using a white acrylic paint.
I place the cradled panel on the wrong side, marking the back for even placement. I then use Golden Matte Heavy Body acrylic medium to stick the paper to the cradled panel, starting with the top side only. I then turn it over and use a "breyer" (a small rubber roller) to smooth out the paper and make sure that there is even coverage and no bubbles. I then weigh everything down again with books and weights and let it dry for 24 hours.
After 24 hours I remove the weights, turning it over so that the art work is on the bottom and the back of the cradled panel facing me. I mist the sides of the paper that will be wrapped up the sides, let it soften for a minute or so, and then when pliable, gently bend the paper up the sides of the cradled panel. I start with 2 opposite sides first, putting some of the acrylic medium evenly on the wrong side and again gently wrapping it up the side of the cradled panel. A friend made me some 3/8" thick wooden bars that are 30" long and 1-1/2" high, I use these and wood clamps to clamp the 2 sides. Once dry (about 24 hours) I repeat on the other 2 opposite sides. I am then left with a little triangle of paper on each corner, once the 4 sides are dry I mist the corner triangles to soften them and use a little of the acrylic medium in the triangle and on one side where I will fold it against one side of the cradled panel/artworkAgain I work on opposite sides and clamp them like I did the sides.
Once that is all dry (again 24 hours or so) I apply a very thin coat of Gamblin Cold Wax Medium, working in circles (no it does not disturb the paint or india ink...don't know why, but it doesnt!) I let that dry 24 hours or until it feels dry and then add a 2nd thin coat. Once it is all dry...we are done! Protected!