Preserving your artwork

Preserving your artwork
A tad bit of care can ensure a long life for your art collections. There is a lot to consider when it comes to caring for your artwork at home. An artwork enters your home as and when it hits your emotion, giving you the push to buy it straight away.

Valuable paintings are only as valuable as the condition they’re in. There is always a faint possibility of your paintings getting damaged. Artists and art collectors alike share the same fear.

While there are several preventive steps you should take to protect your artwork, it’s very important to note that restoration and repair should be handled strictly by a professional. Here are some tips to keep your art collections from getting damaged:

Keep away from sunlight

Ultraviolet rays can cause serious damage to your art collection, especially to paper, textile and photographs. Draw the shades when the room is not in use. Also, turning off the lights could help prevent mould growth on your artwork; thereby avoiding damage. Exposing your paintings to heat could create cracking and blistering.

Revarnish your paintings

Varnish protects the paint in your art by locking out dirt and dust. Use a flat surface to varnish your painting. Use a flat varnishing brush and apply the varnish from the top. All oil paintings need to be revarnished over time.  However, remember to consult a professional before revarnishing a painting.

Be cautious

Use a product that won’t damage the finish. Avoid using a paper towel as it may leave scratches. Spraying any cleaner directly onto the glass could drip and seep onto the art. Under a glass or clear plastic frame, art is protected from dust and tears. Also, bread, in particular the soft, doughy filling of an uncut loaf, is an unusual but often effective paint-cleaning tool.

Avoid moisture

Moisture is one of the things to avoid at all costs, as it can do untold damage to your picture or artwork. Two areas to avoid hanging pictures are bathrooms and kitchens (especially near the sink). People who live in a humid climate need to take extra precautions with their
artwork. If you are in a high-humidity area, then you should consider using small spacers or a mat to prevent the picture from touching the glass.

Display under glass

A glass or plexiglass encasement is an added precaution you can take when displaying valuable paintings. This will keep them away from dust and unwanted fingerprints that may occur in an open area. Regular glass is heavier and easier to break, but plexiglass is a polymer which may interact with your oil painting over a period of time.

Wrap & store in a dry room

Moisture can be destructive, so wrap the painting and its frame. Use tissue paper or breathable sheets or foam to protect your oil paintings while you store them. Avoid using material like bubble wrap because it can trap moisture in so make sure the painting has air circulation. Also, store it in area that is not prone to bugs, animals or dust.

Dust twice a year

Use a natural hair artist’s brush or Japanese brush while dusting. Tilt your painting forward on a clean, padded surface so that the dust rolls down. Once your painting has been secured, dust it using a  back-and-forth motion until the entirety of the painting is clear.Do not use conventional feather dusters or a rough cloth, as they cause scratches.

Care while cleaning

Remove jewellery such as rings, bracelets, and even watches, as you might accidentally scratch the painting while carrying it or seeing it. Poking the behind of a canvas can create a bulge that will create spider web cracks along the surface of your art.

While transporting...

Never leave artwork in your car for an extended period of time. Carry framed artwork by the sides and avoid resting the canvas against any item that may damage the surface. Roll prints carefully and insert into heavy duty shipping tubes. Remove the artwork and unroll as soon as possible after transport to avoid
permanent damage.

(The author is co-founder, Kala Drishti)

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