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If you own a beautiful, warm and tastefully decorated home you obviously possess art pieces that are not only expensive but are also of much personal significance to you. Art is one décor item that will never go out of fashion and will always look nice in a home no matter how many years have passed by.
Since you are keen to preserve your valuable art pieces for posterity it is better you be aware of all the threats your possessions face even within the safe confines of your home.
Being aware of the dangers will help you take proper precautions and if required, simple remedial steps to resolve the minor damages already done. Art restoration is serious business and other than gentle dusting and damp wiping where advised, no further cleaning or repairing activities should be performed by you.
There have been many instances where valuable artworks were damaged beyond recovery by DIY jobs carried out by ignorant owners.
So ensure your paintings and other art are well looked after and cared for, and educate yourself about the unique needs of your valuables. Read on to find out some really handy tips.
Let There Be Less Light
Exposure to light causes irreversible damage to artworks, especially paintings and photographs. The UV radiation present in the sunlight is the most damaging, causing colors to fade. The organic pigments present in paintings and drawings also become brittle after prolonged exposure to sun.
Another aspect is that the damage from exposure to light is cumulative; it builds up over time and therefore the deterioration of the artwork is a continual process. Natural sunlight is an extremely powerful source of energy and more than UV rays it is the visible spectrum that causes the maximum damage.
The flood of sunlight in your home causes varnishes on paintings to darken altering tonal effects and the overall viewing experience. Watercolor pigments fade in a very short period of time when exposed to full sunlight.
It is not just the paint and the colors that are affected, the structural integrity of the canvas or paper support also gets drastically altered. They are weakened and lose their flexibility. Canvases and paper become discolored and brittle.
It is a common misconception that modern ‘pigments’ and canvases are not affected, but just like old art they too bear the brunt when exposed to harsh sunlight for long.
There is plenty you can do to limit the damage from light to your art.
• Do not hang paintings and photographs exposed to direct or reflected light.
• If your living room is well-lit and you have beautiful art hanging on your walls, ensure you coat your widows with clear UV- film. Use incandescent lights which are less damaging than fluorescent lights.
• We offer great options in picture framing glass which will provide maximum protection to your beautiful art pieces. But it is always the second line of defense.
Control the Humidity and Pressure Variations
Moist conditions have the biggest impact on the life and appearance of all artworks. The natural and organic pigments used in paintings and other art forms have hygroscopic properties. They absorb moisture and swell up, or release moisture and contract based on the humidity in the environment.
Extreme fluctuations in temperature cause changes in the amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Rapid changes in humidity levels place your art under undue stress. Cyclic expansion and contraction causes flaking and cracking of the paint layers. This also causes structural damage to supporting materials.
Heat and humidity also speed up adverse chemicals reactions in paintings.
Another byproduct of moisture buildup in organic paint pigments is mold and mildew infestation. It not only cause disfigurement and discoloration, but can even digest entire artworks including canvases, paper and paints!
• You can do well by hanging your artwork in properly-ventilated rooms.
• Do not store them in airtight cupboards and boxes and forget about them.
• Hang your paintings away from heat and moisture sources like heaters and radiators.
• Do not hang valuable art in kitchens and bathrooms.
• Monitor the temperature and humidity levels in your home and make use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
• Check with our local frame shop in Sydney for proper framing techniques suitable in the unique local climate.
Creepies and Crawlies Are Destructive
Dust, dirt and insects like silverfish and borers can completely destroy your paintings and photographs if left unattended for long.
The reasons why they attack your artwork are many. Moist and damp environments, and dust builup encourage insects to grow and thrive on your artwork. Borers will eat wooden picture frames and supporting structures hollow if you do not undertake timely remedial action. Silverfish also gorges on paper and other similar organic stuff found in your artwork.
Ensure the artwork is kept in neat and hygienic places, and allow good air circulation in the rooms. Check for signs of trouble periodically and remediate them immediately.
Good framing techniques will provide adequate protection from insects and dirt accumulation. Insect-resistant backing and other specific techniques will provide your art the required safety.
Improper Framing Techniques Damage Paintings
The right framing techniques ensure the beauty of your art stays intact for years. A well-framed painting will remain beautiful and safe for generations and can outlast almost all other items used to decorate your home interiors.
But if you frame incorrectly it can lead to a total loss of the artwork.
Poor quality backing boards, mats, tapes and adhesives cause irreversible damage to artworks. Ensure you have acid-free mat boards. Linen tapes and other archival quality hinges are great for securing art to the mat board. In addition to acid and lignin-free and conservation quality materials, the picture frame glass also has an important role to play in how well your favorite painting stands the test of time.
We offer several types of UV-protection glasses that ensure your painting can withstand the harmful effects of UV rays and other light sources. Acrylic glass with UV protection is a cheap and viable option for residential use. For more valuable paintings you can go for museum glass.
All artworks require loads of TLC to live for hundreds of years. Keep them away from dampness, moisture and full sunlight exposure. Quality framing and safe display will ensure the best care for your precious art collection.