CARING FOR YOUR OIL PAINTINGS
Frame Shop works with many customers who wonder how to
care for paintings and other artwork on canvas. Often,
these paintings have been purchased while our clients
travel all over the world.
Sometimes paintings are
very professionally prepared, but other times, the
canvases and substrates utilized by the artist are rather
fragile and require special consideration in handling.
Other times our customers come to us with
"paintings" that are really computer-generated
prints. These types of prints may be referred to as
Giclees by the seller.
With this in mind, we
thought it might be helpful to offer a few suggestions
about caring for your precious canvases. These tips are
mainly geared toward the care and preservation of real oil
paintings, but may also help preserve your other pieces on
|Avoid Excessive Light or
Very high light levels can cause the darkening or fading
of an oil painting. To avoid damage caused by light, don't
expose paintings to direct sunlight. High light levels
also can cause excessive exposure to heat. In addition,
commercial lights shouldn't be positioned too close to the
painting. Avoid using lights that are mounted to the frame
or too close to the painting. Try to use diffused lights
that are positioned at least ten feet from the painting to
avoid damages from heat buildup.
Last, oil paintings should not be stored in a the dark for
long periods of time. Storing a painting in the dark will
cause the oil painting to become darker over time.
High Temperatures and Humidity
Extreme changes in humidity and temperature can make the
canvas and wood stretchers supporting the painting expand
or contract. This expansion or contraction can damage the
painting. Canvas and wood stretchers can absorb moisture,
which may cause them to expand on humid days and shrink on
dry days. Oil paint can crack and flake off as a result of
the expansion and contraction of the canvas and wood
stretchers. It can also prove damaging to your art if it
is hung too close to a heating or cooling vent in your
home. The constant change in temperature is hard on your
canvas and stretcher bars.
To properly display your oil paintings, try to maintain
the following temperature range:
Temperature 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit
Temperature 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit
|Handle Your Oil Paintings
When transporting an oil painting, hold the painting on
both sides. Avoid grasping a painting from the top of the
frame, and don't hold it by the hanging wire. Try to avoid
bumping oil paintings on canvas because even the slightest
bump can cause future cracking of the paint surface.
|Keep Dirt Off Your Oil
Dirt can attract mold, pollutants and moisture to the
surface of a painting. These elements can damage the
painting. So, remember to keep paintings away from areas
where people smoke. Also, paintings shouldn't be hung near
fireplaces or very close to candles.
Your Oil Paintings Carefully
You can usually keep your paintings clean by lightly
wiping the surface with a soft, clean micro fiber cloth
or an anti-static cloth. Both of these cloths act like
magnets that lift loose dust off the painting while
avoiding scratches to the painting or varnished surface.
Cotton swabs that have been dampened with distilled
water can be lightly dabbed on the surface to remove
surface dirt that can't be removed by wiping. It is
usually unwise to for the amateur to attempt a serious
cleaning and varnishing of paintings. Only a trained
conservator should be permitted to handle these types of
repairs. Check for professional recommendations before
entrusting your painting to someone who claims to be a