Art Care

Taking Care of Your Art

Art is amazing but one must be careful on how to treat it so it can last generations. Whether your art costs $5,000 or $150 it still has to be taken care of. Unfortunately, the biggest threat to your artwork is yourself. Here are guidelines to extend the life of your artwork. 

 

Canvas/Board Works

 

  Handling

  • One should try to always handle their artworks with protection and great care. Without it you may cause tears, smudges or other damages.

  • Know that your artwork may stain form direct contact. So keep food, smoke, cosmetics, and other chemical cleaners away from your artworks.

  • Keep your artwork in a nice cool place away from direct light. Keep it away from excessive heat and humidity as well. That doesn't just include hanging, but storage as well.


  Moving

    No matter the distance

  • Make sure you have thought out the safest route before moving. Ask for help if you need it

  • Make sure you have the end destination cleared and ready

  • Always wear gloves

  • Have enough space to move around

  • Use quality materials and double check that it's secure

  • Use corners to avoid frames from getting damaged

  • Don't forget your artworks and misplace them

 

 

Display

    Wall

  • Do not place on a damp wall

  • Do not place on wall with direct sunlight falling on the wall

 

   Hanging

  • Leave a bit of breathing space behind the artwork and the wall in order to prevent dirt and moisture. Place tabs behind all four corners of the piece to ensure this

  • Make sure that the fittings of the frame are strong and will hold

 

 

Lighting

Avoid displaying the artwork in direct sunlight. Strong artificial light is also not advisable as fixed lights over an artwork may cause localized heating. Lights should be placed a minimum of 10 feet from the artwork to avoid this. The recommended lighting for paintings is 200 lux. Light levels can be measured using a camera's light meter.

 

 

Cleaning

Remove dust by using a very soft brush. Avoid feather and sheepskin dusters as their fibers attach to the surface. Check for flaking paint before dusting, and do not attempt to dust if the surface appears damaged or unstable. It is also important to clean the verso of the artwork in a similar manner. Before cleaning remove the artwork from the display and lay it flat on a clean surface. 

 

 

Framing

  • If the frames are made out of wood check them monthly because they are more likely to be susceptible to attacks from natural elements and pests. Fiber frames simulating wood finishes and frames made out of certain types of metal and plastic are less likely to corrode under natural elements and pests.

 

 

Storage

Environment

A stable storage environment is very important, and fluctuations in temperature and humidity, particularly in the short term, must be minimised. The best environment for the storage of artworks is a cool, dry one with good air circulation. Always seek professional advice for other storage requirements specific to your collection.

 

Pests

Damage to paintings may be caused by pests ranging from beetles and worms to moths and rodents. Therefore don't store it near food sources. Monitor the storage as you can never be so sure. Generally, pests like dark, warm, humid, and undisturbed areas so regular inspection of art is a must even if it's packaged. 

 

Materials

Try to package your artwork in products that do not deteriorate over time. For paintings on canvas it is recommended that they be wrapped in unbleached muslin rather than plastic. This is in part because unbleached muslin allows the painting to breathe. In general, make sure that your artwork is packaged in a way that avoids physical damage and exposure to fluctuations of humidity and temperature.  

 

 

Causes of Damage

Like everything art too must be maintained. Although maintenance is not hard there will still be some damage if you aren't careful. Some of the causes of damage are:

  • Impact and wear and tear over time
  • Accidental physical force
  • Fire and excessive heat
  • Water damage from dampness and excessive moisture/leaks
  • Insects and other pests
  • Contaminants, such as smoke and other pollutants
  • Direct sunlight or strong artificial light
  • Neglect
  • Impact and wear and tear over time