When someone has an original oil painting or even a museum quality reproduction of a beautiful piece of work, it’s to keep that piece safe and sound. Luckily, there are steps that art owners can take to preserve their oil paintings to prevent them from and reduce the degree of degradation over time due to age and treatment.
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Placing a Painting Effectively
Displaying a painting seems like the easiest part of owning a painting but it’s actually easy to get wrong. Even where and how someone displays a painting can affect its longevity.
First, avoid humidity. Moisture in the air can cause problems with your paintings such as molding which requires the attention of a professional. The ideal humidity level sits at between 40% and 60%. A great way to control the humidity around a painting is to set up a dehumidifier to regulate the area.
Heat is also a deciding factor. Oil paintings thrive best at a temperature setting between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 to 24 degrees Celsius. It’s a good idea to avoid outdoor areas and “hot spots” in the home such as around a fireplace or hot water heater.
Sunlight isn’t a friend to oil paintings either. Too much direct UV light means that an oil painting may lift or cracks.
However, sunlight isn’t the only source of UV light. UV lights are often used when inspecting a painting as well. Once you finish inspecting a painting, though, make sure that the UV light used is off and stored safely away.
Physically Displaying a Painting
Now that placement is out of the way, it’s a good idea to go over the technical specifications of displaying an oil painting.
To hang the painting, it’s important to use painting hooks to hang the art without hurting it. Yet, just hammering these into drywall isn’t going to ensure that they don’t fall out, damaging the painting.
That’s why you have to take the time to use a tool like a stud finder to find wooden studs in your wall. These work as better, safer anchor points for the painting.
Art owners can also rely on a glass or plexiglass casing to help further preserve a painting. There are even options that go further than protecting a painting from dust and human touch alone. For instance, there are museum-grade glass options that can help filter out UV light.
Store the Painting Correctly
If the painting isn’t directly on display, it’s important to take care and store it properly. If you don’t, it may degrade even when no one is directly laying eyes on it. When storing an oil painting, keep these tips in mind.
First of all, oil paintings should always be kept in a dry room and it’s preferable that they are wrapped in tissue paper. The tissue paper is gentle on the paintings while a dry room is more prone to pest problems such as bugs or rodents that would damage the painting. Avoid materials like bubble wrap for storage at all costs as it can trap moisture inside the wrapping, damaging the painting.
Moving the Painting Safely
If you’re moving your paintings into, out of, or between storage spaces, only handle one painting at a time. Stacking them may seem faster but it also makes the carrier more likely to damage the paintings accidentally.
It’s also a good idea to remove any accessories that could damage the painting while you move it. A sharp ring or long necklace could cause accidental harm.
You should also make sure to only handle the painting by its frame, especially if you’re handling an original. Not only is this a sturdier position but the oils on human hands are damaging to a painting – especially it’s monetary value. The last thing anyone wants is a painting covered in a stranger’s fingerprints.
Cleaning a Painting
Basic maintenance for an oil painting includes cleaning. At the minimum, art owners should dust their paintings twice a year with a tool like a natural-hair artist’s brush. To do so, just tilt your painting forward and gently dust back and forth.
Avoid using anything too harsh like a textured rag, standard duster, or cleaners that could damage the painting.
If your painting is cracked or chipped, skip out on dusting as it may only cause further distress. If there’s more than the standard fare of dust on the painting, it’s a good idea to turn to a professional to help assess and hopefully repair excess damage.
When art lovers find the perfect oil painting, they want to keep it safe and sound. With the tips covered here, that won’t be a problem at all! As long as a painting is properly stored, displayed, moved, and cleaning, it should stay around for quite a while.