If you are wondering how to look after your artworks, here are some tips to keep your artworks in great condition.
Avoid direct sunlight
Get the right light and your art will stay beautiful for many decades, perhaps centuries. Your artwork might have a protective layer of varnish, but it is still possible for it to crack or fade if subjected to bright sunlight for long periods of time.
It is important to hang art where it looks striking but without direct sunlight, for example it is better to place painting next to a window instead of directly in front.
Tamarama Blues by artist Thomas DeLys
Watercolours and other works on paper are particularly prone to colour bleaching or surface degradation when placed in direct sunlight, but even hardier pigments in oils or acrylics will fade over time.
Something to think about when framing artwork on paper.
- The mat and backing of your frame should be made of acid free paper and finished with acid free tape. This is to avoid any moisture reaching your painting and damaging it.
- Frame under non-glare glass, treated with a coating to protect the work from UV sunlight if possible. This not only protects your artwork from sunlight, the non-glare glass makes it easier to see the artwork surface when it is displayed.
Art needs a stable environment
Avoid hanging paintings directly above heat sources, which can cause paintings to warp. When selecting where to hang your new artworks, consider how the requirements of the medium match up with the room in which you’re placing it.
While it’s lovely to have art in the bathroom, it’s important to know that even a framed and sealed artwork can eventually develop mould in a damp environment, same for kitchens.
Also if you put art above the fireplace, it can be a very nice spot, but when lighting a fire, check the temperature at painting height and make sure the painting is not exposed to smoke.
Hanging your artwork
Examine the fixing on the back of the artwork to determine the best way to attach it to the wall. If you’re unsure about the best way to hang your piece, chat to a framer or with us for some suggestions.
Then, consider the weight of the work and the strength of the wall on which it will be hung. Most moderately sized pieces can be hung from two nails or screws, or a traditional picture hook. However particularly large or heavy works may need more substantial fixings.
The places we will go by artist Renée Campbell
Make sure you know the kind of wall you have and the hook you use is strong enough to support your artwork.
Caring for your artwork
Once your artwork is safely up on the wall the hard work is over. But there are a couple of simple things to do, to ensure it looks its best for years to come.
Dust your artworks: for framed works or pieces with hardier surfaces use a dry, soft white cloth and for paintings with heavy texture or fragile surfaces a soft white brush is better.
Don't use cleaning products or water.
When cleaning a glass-covered picture, don’t spray directly onto the glass, spray the dust cloth and then clean the glass.
Know your medium
Painting care varies significantly according to the medium used. Historically, oil paints were the choice of professional artists, and while still popular, many professional artists now use acrylics. Oil paintings have been proven to stand the test of time, and with careful storing they require minimal cleaning.
Some others prefer to use acrylic paints due to its fast drying time, easy clean-up and vibrancy of colours. Then, they coat the finished paintings with a layer of oil-based varnish, which helps enhance the colours and protect the surface of the painting.
Moving your artwork?
Wrap your artwork well if you plan to transport it. Be sure to put a heavy piece of cardboard over the front and back to protect it. Then bubble wrap and place in a suitable heavy cardboard box. Rough handling can damage both the painting and the frame so pack it securely.
Do not cover artworks with plastic for long periods of time. If there is humidity in the air, they may start to grow mold. Cotton sheets are best for keeping dust away.
Kalahari Girl by artist Deb Farrimond
Try not to touch the surface of the painting. While most artists coat their oil paintings with isolation layers and varnish for protection, some artists don’t or can’t because of the medium, and fingerprints can be left behind.
Finally, when you are holding the artwork, make sure you support the base with your hand. It’s very easy to pop the glass or crack the frame.
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THE SPACE gallery is a contemporary art gallery and workshop in Rosebery. We enjoy sharing local and international artists with the community and would love to see you at our next exhibition. Sign up for our newsletter or get in touch to find out more about our upcoming art shows in Sydney.
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