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Tips for caring for original oil and acrylic paintings:
Properly caring for an original painting is important to maintain its condition and value over time. Below are some tips that you should be aware of when it comes to caring for original acrylic and oil paintings:
- First and foremost, ALWAYS avoid using solvents or abrasive materials.
- Avoid exposing acrylic paintings to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can cause the colors to fade or the paint to crack.
- You can dust or clean acrylic paintings gently with a soft, lint-free cloth. Another good option is to dust off the surface with compressed air prior to wiping.
- Keep acrylic paintings framed with acid-free matting and UV-protective glass to protect them from light and dust.
- If the painting is dirty or has fingerprints, use a damp cloth with mild soap and water to gently clean the surface.
Additionally, oil paintings should be kept in a stable environment; it's important to avoid extreme changes in temperature or humidity. Oil paintings should be avoided to be placed in areas with high levels of moisture like bathrooms or kitchens.
How often should I clean my painting?
It's recommended to clean your painting every few months or as needed, depending on the environment it's in, and how much dust and grime it's exposed to. But it's also important to avoid cleaning an original painting too often as it can cause damage to the surface of the painting.
If the painting is particularly dirty or has discoloration or other issues, it's always best to consult with a professional conservator who will be able to safely and effectively clean the painting. They will also be able to assess the overall condition of the painting and recommend any necessary repairs or conservation measures.
What if I need to re-varnish or restore my original painting?
Depending on what kind of varnish was used on your painting, there may come a time when your painting needs to be re-varnished when the currently varnish layer becomes discolored or cloudy. This can be done with paintings that have removable varnishes only. The need to re-varnish or restore a painting can happen due to exposure to UV light, humidity, and pollutants in the air. The frequency of re-varnishing will depend on the painting's environment and the type of varnish used. It's always best to consult with a conservator for specific recommendations for your painting.
Now, if your painting does not have a removable varnish, it can be more difficult to restore. In this case, you should consult with a professional conservator or restorer who can assess the painting and determine the best course of action. They may recommend a surface cleaning or a more complex cleaning process that involves removing the discolored varnish and applying a new one. Depending on the condition and age of the painting, re-varnishing may not be the best option and other methods may be used to preserve it.
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I'm Chuck Black, landscape and wildlife artist based in Southwest Montana.