Product Care - Originals
Care & Display of your Original Painting
DISPLAYING YOUR ARTWORK
Hanging: All my canvases are pre-wired and arrive ready to hang. To help keep your painting level, I recommend hanging your painting from a pair of Ook picture hanging hooks spaced apart on the wall. You can also use a small ball of museum wax (or wall putty, it is sometimes called) at the corners to keep your painting firmly fixed in place on the wall. http://picturehangers.ooks.com/category/conventional-picture-hangers
Best Framing Results: With some exceptions, most of my artwork is created on gallery-wrapped canvas and is sold unframed. The wrapped canvas can be hung directly on the wall without framing for a contemporary look. If you decide to frame the artwork, I highly recommend using a floater frame. Floater frames are designed to cradle deep canvases: the frame screws into the back of the canvas, which allows the canvas to “float” in the frame, leaving a small black gap around the painting which offsets the artwork beautifully. The frame stands away from the sides of the painting allowing you to experience every brush stroke in the painting. Floater frames can be made in a variety of finishes, including gold, silver, black, white, custom colors, or in any type of hardwood and stain finish. They are usually simple in design, with clean lines and perhaps carved corners, and perfectly enhance the contemporary paintings I create. Make sure to ask your framer about them. I also invite you to contact me for a consultation before you frame.
Oil paintings on canvas are correctly framed using no backing (and of course, never put glass over the front). This way, the canvas can breathe and the back can be easily checked for mold (more on this below).
Getting the Most out of Lighting: Your painting will look different depending on the changing quality of the surrounding light. Natural ambient light will create a nice feel for your painting during daylight hours, the colors subtly changing as the sun rises and sets throughout the day. At night, however, you will be fully reliant on artificial light to illuminate your artwork. Have you ever noticed how great paintings look in a gallery setting? Art galleries use warm or cool-toned spot lighting to accentuate the colors in the painting, and they usually intensify the light on the painting’s center of attention.
You can imitate this effect in your own home by installing halogen or LED directional spot lighting in the ceiling above your painting. These lights are surprisingly inexpensive for an electrician to install, and if you wish you can purchase the fixtures and bulbs yourself online. As a general rule, use cool lighting to illuminate a painting that has predominantly cool colors, and use warm lighting on a painting with mostly warm colors (the wrong color bulb can cause your painting to look “muddy.”) If you’re not sure, a daylight spectrum bulb is your best choice, or try the other bulbs to see the difference.
Many houses are already fitted with some sort of recessed ceiling fixtures. These can be adapted to directional spot lighting with minor handyman work. Even without direct lighting on your painting, however, the artwork will still present well with nearby lighting. One thing to avoid is hanging your painting behind a hanging chandelier, which will cast a direct glare spot in the middle of the painting, without highlighting the natural colors and texture of the painting. A light that is angled from above, or even from the side, will allow you to see the thick brushwork, see each subtle variation in color, and truly enjoy your painting in a whole new light. Read below for where not to hang your art.
Copyright: Copyright of your original painting is retained by the artist and any reproductions (other than social media or other social sharing) are legally prohibited without permission of the artist.
CARING FOR YOUR ARTWORK
About Your Original: Original paintings are not only valued monetarily. They will be appreciated by future generations as well as those who view them today. Oil paints have been around for over 500 years and we are still enjoying paintings of that antiquity. Acrylic paints are about 70 years old, and though we do not have the test of time, scientists suspect they may fare just as well, if not better in aspects like cracking.
My paintings are mostly done on heavy-gauge cotton canvas stretched over a wooden frame, but occasionally they are on board. The surface has one or more priming and preparation layers before I apply the paints. In the case of acrylics, once the painting is completed and signed, sometimes a matte or satin varnish has been applied to protect the paint surface from dust, dirt and UV. In the case of oils, one must wait six months to apply varnish, so depending on this and other variables, your painting, whether acrylic or oil, may or may not be vanished – in most cases it is not. Your Certificate of Authenticity will show your painting surface and medium and whether or not it has been varnished. Though varnishing is not essential, if you wish to have it done professionally to better protect the painting for the long term, I recommend a varnish midway between matte and semi-gloss. DO NOT, I repeat, do not attempt to varnish your painting yourself as it is a developed skill and very easy to get wrong. Ask your framer for a professional referral.
Lighting and Placements to Avoid: To keep the colors in your painting vibrant for many years, avoid displaying your painting in direct sunlight or under fluorescent lighting, both of which emit UV radiation which can fade even the best pigments over time. Best is to hang on a wall in indirect light and if lighting is needed, LED or halogen is best.
Make sure to avoid hanging artwork above a heat source such as fireplaces. In addition to the damage caused by radiating heat, dirt that rises with the heat may cause damage. Similarly, avoid placement in a moist environment such as a full bathroom. Rapid environmental fluctuations will be harmful to the painting.
Avoiding Physical Damage: When storing or transferring, take care to protect the canvas surfaces from becoming dinged or dented. Do not allow any rigid object to contact the front or back surface of the stretched canvas as this could create permanent indentation damage. Also avoid leaning the canvas against walls in areas where there is wind or draft, as canvasses are light and can fall over, potentially denting or ripping the canvas as they fall. Avoid touching both the paint surface and the back of the canvas. Do not apply any kind of pressure (even finger pressure) to the back of a canvas as mobility in the paint backing can cause the paint on the front to crack over time in that area.
If your canvas painting does get slightly stretched or dented in an area, spraying a mist of water on the problem area on the back/unpainted side of the canvas causes the canvas to shrink as the water dries, and this usually will pull out slight indentations. It depends on how severe the indentation is. In the event of a deep indentation, or the canvas gets ripped in an accident, don’t despair immediately as it very likely can be fixed by a professional.
Cleaning: Do not attempt to clean the surface of your original artwork using solvents or cleaning products of any kind. Cleaning liquids may actually embed dirt into the painting and cause permanent liquid lines over the surface. In fact, it is discouraged to use any liquid, including water, to clean the surface of your painting. Never use dry or moist dust cloths, stiff bristle brushes or feather dusters to clean a painting as threads can catch on areas of raised paint and dusters can scratch the painting. Avoid spraying any fresheners, furniture polish, etc., near or directly onto a painting.
Best cleaning method is to use canned compressed air to blow away surface dust. Another technique involves using a dry soft sable brush to lightly brush the surface in order to dislodge dust while holding a vacuum, off the surface, to capture and remove debris. Another method for spot cleaning is to use a Q-tip moistened with saliva to gently rub away dirt that won’t come off otherwise. Be careful not to bump or scratch the painting while cleaning it. If your artwork is quite dirty, consult a professional art curator, such as your professional art framer as to best solutions.
Mold: The back of your canvas should be checked periodically for mold and mildew. Should your painting get black or white spots of mold on the back of the canvas lightly mist it with one of these to stop mold growth:
- Lysol (a brand of anti-germ/bacteria cleaner – the spray and not the liquid form) is recommended by the New Orleans Conservation Guild.
- Commercial rubbing alcohol (70% alcohol) mixed with water in a fine mist spray bottle is recommended by MOMA.
In rare events, a thin whitish-grey film of mold will form on the front of the canvas. In this case, MOMA suggests a cotton swab lightly dampened with a mixture of 70% alcohol and water can be dabbed onto small clusters of mold. However, this should be carefully tested on a small area before proceeding further. Or check with your framer or conservator.