Everything changes, and what can you do about it? It is not a mystery to know how to take care of your paintings. Day to day efforts will assist in a longer existence for your artwork. Begin by asking a few questions: What, when and how. What kind of painting do you have? When did you last look closely at it? How can you help it to remain healthy?
Paintings are created using differing materials and techniques. Each artwork is unique and has its own character and needs. A paintings condition can be jeopardized by environmental conditions, display methods and handling. The materials and techniques used in an artworks construction can affect its level of endurance or fragility. Sometimes, a contemporary painting can be more sensitive than an old ancestral portrait.
Looking with raking light to check for
distortion and irregularities.
Preservation of an object begins with observation. Changes are inevitable, and the best preventative care tool you have are your eyes. Take a look at your art...come a little closer and let the light play along its surface. What do you see? Are there areas where the canvas has undulated or are there bulges at the corner of the painting? Has paint begun to crack and pull away from its surface? When fragile conditions arise, their early detection may prevent the development of serious damage. Look at your artwork and monitor its condition.
DISPLAY: Consider more than the aesthetics when selecting a display area for your painting. Preassess sources of heat, draught or temperature variations. Do not display the artwork in direct light. Avoid outer walls, as the temperature will fluctuate with seasonal changes. Hanging a painting above a fireplace is not recommended, as variable temperatures occur from the chimney flue and fireplace heat. Be sure that the method of hanging is sufficient for the weight of the artwork and always use two receiving hooks on the wall. Consider the area around the displayed artwork: will traffic or use of the room endanger the work?
ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS: The recommended temperature level for paintings is between 18-20 degrees C (60-65 degrees F). The relative humidity levels should be 50-55%. The goal is to maintain stable environmental levels with minimal variations for day, night and seasonal changes. Too high a humidity level can result in fungus growth or bloom. If it is too cold, paint may fracture or delaminate. Affordable digital thermometers and humidity units are available at hardware stores employ them to assess changes occurring in your home.
LIGHT: Light can result in pigment colour changes, dehydration or cracking. Textile strength may also be diminished or weakended. Assess the status of natural and artificial light sources. The intensity of a light source is recommended at 150-200 lux in value. Employ pot or track lighting and illuminate no closer than one metre from the face of the painting. The small lamps often found attached at the top of frames are destructive to paintings, creating hot spots leading to distortion and dehydration.
For more information visit the FACTS (Fine Art Care and Treatment Standards) website at www.artfacts.org
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