Have you been interested in art? Or just buying it to satisfy your aesthetic desires? What ever the reason it is necessary to protect and care for your art works. Here are a few common queries, and their answers which might help you take care of your art better.
What are the common reasons for damages in paintings?
The primary cause of damage to paintings is due to the storage or display of paintings in inappropriate environment. This includes display or storage in areas where there is excessive exposure to light, high and/or fluctuating temperature and humidity levels, dirt or insects. Damage can also be caused by careless handling (while transportation) and improper cleaning of paintings.
What measures can be taken to prevent fading of colours?
Fading of colours occurs mainly due to exposure to high levels/direct light. In order to avoid damage caused by light, paintings should be displayed in dim areas where no direct sunlight is allowed to fall on them. The suggested light level for paintings is 200 lux. High light levels also can cause damage due to excessive heat build up. Instead of having direct commercially available spotlights, diffused spotlights should be mounted at least 10 feet.
What about the climatic conditions and their effect on paintings?
Extreme, and fluctuating temperature and humidity can cause damage to paintings due to the expansion and contraction of the wood and fabric components of the paintings. This might result in cracked paint and sagging canvases. It is best to use stretchers with expandable corners, so that they can be adjusted according to the expansion/contraction of the canvas (or other material) in varied temperatures. It is also best if the paintings are kept in temperatures between 65-75 degrees F, and humidity levels of 40-50%. Fluctuations in temperatures are to be kept to the minimum. Avoid storing/hanging works in direct sunlight and in basements.
How can I look after my art at home?
It is best to give the work for restoration/preservation to an expert. However, you can personally take care of painting by regularly dusting it with a soft brush (only lightly). Remove the work from the wall/storage and dust behind at least twice a year. Keep a couple of inches distance from the wall and floor when hanging a painting, to avoid seepage of moisture. Also regularly check the frame/wood for insects.
How do you store paintings when not put up for display?
Stored paintings should be raised off the floor to allow air-flow and to protect them from water damage. Covering them with cotton sheets helps, but avoid using polythene which causes mould to appear. Carton/cardboard dividers should be inserted between the paintings to avoid pressure. Choose interior walls rather than exterior walls for stacking your stored paintings. They are drier. Sachets of silica gel will help protect your paintings from humidity.
What about paintings on paper?
Many of the storage tips are the same; however paper-works must always be framed under glass to protect the paper, but without contact between the two (unlike the open framing done for oils and acrylics). A mount/matte surrounding the art-work will protect it. The mount/matte and the back should always be acid-free. Valuable works on paper should preferably be framed with polycarbonate/acrylic sheet with UV filters instead of glass. This will prevent fading. An acid free tape for framing also avoids fading or damage. If the artwork is not on acid free paper & also not framed, the artwork must be aired at regular intervals.
What care can be taken while transporting art works?
While transporting it is best left to the professionals. The greatest amount of damage to artefacts is caused by careless handling. Avoid leaving nails/hooks etc. which might scratch the surface of the painting. Also avoid placing the painting near edges/sharp corners as this might cause cracking on the surface and puncher the paper/canvas. Always move a painting holding its sides and not by holding its top.