Some artworks are their owner’s pride, not just because of their monetary value but also due to an emotional value associated with them. If you own an artwork that has been carefully picked by you or created at the hands of a loved one, it tends to hold more importance and becomes a part of your environment; your story! When the artwork you own is your prized possession, it is of utmost importance to take care to maintain it. Also, art restoration can be a laborious, time-consuming and costly affair. Here are a few measures you should consider to better conserve your artwork.
To Begin With…
1. Framing your artwork correctly is of great importance, if you intend to maintain your artwork. Works on canvas must be stretched properly while being framed. Acid-free tapes should be used while framing, to avoid staining of the canvas.
2. Canvas needs to breathe and thus needs air to move freely around it. It is important to not cover a canvas
artwork with glass while framing it. In humid conditions, glass can trap moisture inside the frame which can be detrimental to an artwork. Artworks done on paper, must be framed with glass or UV filtered sheets to protect them.
3. Art restorers often advise art collectors to protect their artwork with a backboard – a wooden framework with spaced out grids. This can help lend a structure to the artwork, ‘shock-proof’ it, and protect it from damage if you ever happen to transport it.
4. Choosing a right place to hang your painting, is one of the first steps you can take to ensure that it stays good for long. Sunlight and humidity are two main enemies of your artwork. Avoid hanging it in a place which receives direct sunlight. Even though a painting would have a layer of varnish over it, sunlight can accelerate fading of the pigments, and hardening and cracking of the paint. If you still can’t help placing the artwork in a room with plenty of sunlight, manage this using blinds or windows with a tint or UV protection film.
5. Avoid hanging it in areas where the ventilation is poor and places such as bathrooms or kitchens, where steam tends to accumulate.
Monitoring & Maintenance
1. Regularly check the condition of your artwork. Look out for dead insects which can cause staining and form a breeding ground for fungus. Weakening of adhesives, results in peeling of paint and requires urgent attention.
2. Climatic changes can create issues in a painting and fluctuations in temperatures should be monitored. For places in warmer climates, using temperatures must be controlled and a cooler temperature must be maintained using a climatizer.
3. Highly humid environment can increase the risk of fungal growth (molding), and insect activity. Dehumidifiers can help lower the humidity levels and prevent degradation of the artwork.
4. Over a period of time, artworks can accumulate a layer of dust and grime. Clean your artwork regularly using a soft, clean cloth. Do not use any kind of cleaning agent as this may spoil the artwork.
Cracking is an accepted part of the ageing of paintings. When you do see such changes in your painting or if by accident the painting faces a damage, don’t try to fix it yourself. You may further harm the painting by doing so. Take it to a qualified art restorer. The seller of the painting may be able to help you with a referral. Beware of amateur repairs, which can greatly decline the value of your painting.
Maintaining your artwork requires regular attention and care, which, when it comes to priceless artworks, should not be too difficult! As it goes with all the wonderful things in life, so it is with your artworks. Just a little love, can go a long way!