Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tips for the Conservation and Care of Your Oil Painting

Oil paintings can be very delicate and easy to damage, but by following a few simple guidelines your painting can have a long and happy life. I've come up with a few tips for the care, conservation, and hanging of your oil painting with a little help from the Conservation Register. These tips are especially relevant for oil paintings, but it would be wise to apply them to all artwork in general.
  • Avoid touching the surface of the painting.
  • Avoid hanging your painting close to shelves, furniture, in busy corridors, behind doors, or where people can knock it.
  • Try to avoid hanging over direct heat or moisture sources, for example, right over fires, radiators, heaters, hot water or central heating pipes; in bathrooms, kitchens or around swimming pools.
  • Avoid hanging over or next to outdoor vents, or on damp walls.
  • Picture lights attached to or near to the top of a painting can get hot and lead to localized heating. It is best to take advice on lighting.
  • Bear in mind that paintings will build up dirt more quickly in rooms with an open fire or where people smoke.
  • Hanging fitments should be fixed to the sides of the frame, not the top. Choose a thick and solid part of the frame. Make sure screws are secure but do not push them through the front.
  • As with all objects in your home a painting will collect dust and dirt. Dust can be removed using a very soft brush with metal elements protected so that they cannot be a cause of damage. Avoid feather dusters, sheep skin dusters, however soft, as they catch.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight.
For every oil painting I create I also include a printout of these tips to ensure that you get the most out of your new acquisition. I hope these guidelines allow you to take better care of your artwork so that you can enjoy it for many years to come, as can the generations following you.

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