Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Caring For Your Original Artwork

I thought I would share some basic tips for caring for original art - specifically oil paintings.

First thing to consider, especially owing to the frequent sales of freshly completed paintings from artists participating in the "daily painting" movement, is that oil paint will dry to the touch within a week or two, but may take up to a year or more to fully cure. During that time, the paint will be softer and susceptible to dents and scratches. Paintings with obvious brushmarks and lots of texture can be smudged or flattened.

Cleaning: Use a dry, "micro-fiber" cloth to wipe the surface. Do not use too much pressure, and check the surface for flaking or damaged areas. If there is a heavy buildup of dirt, take the painting to be professionally cleaned. Dust buildup and pollutants can allow molds to grow.

Lighting: Very high light levels can cause the darkening or fading of an oil painting. Conversely, storing a painting in the dark will cause the oil painting to become darker over time.

To avoid damage caused by light, don't expose paintings to direct sunlight. Lighting shouldn't be positioned too close; avoid using lights that are mounted to the frame. Try to use diffused lights that are positioned at least ten feet from the painting to avoid damage from heat.

Temperature: Extreme heat, cold or humidity can cause the stretchers and canvas to expand and contract, leading to cracking of the paint surface or causing the canvas to sag.

Hanging: Don't hang the painting in high traffic areas where it is likely to be bumped or scraped. If you are moving the painting, be careful not to lean the canvas against anything, as it can stretch or be punctured. Carry it by the sides, and protect the surfaces with stiff board and heavy fabric.

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