Sunday, April 10, 2011

How to Feed and Care For Your New Art

So, the blessed day has arrived: You and your family have made the decision to bring home a bouncing bundle of art. But now that you've brought it home, how in the hell do make sure it doesn't crumble to dust? Well, I'm here to ease your fears, dear art fiends. Only artifacts interred in tombs for thousands of years need to live out their crusty old lives in hyperbaric chambers. In my world, trust me, those chambers are typically hyperbolic, not hyperbaric. 

Maintaining an art collection does not have to be intimidating or terrifying in any way. If you hesitate when considering starting an art collection because you're uncertain how to frame or care for your purchase, I challenge you to forge ahead! Spray your walls with 2-d treasures and pepper your pedestals with scintillating sculpture. Here are some helpful hints for when you haul your loot home:

Frame canvases without glass in canvas friendly frames, also (somewhat unfortunately) called "floaters". These can either be custom made or purchased ready to rumble from chain shops such as Aaron Brothers, Michael's or online. If  you've got a mom and pop frame shop in your town, even better! Simply slip the canvas into the frame from the back and secure with canvas clips. I promise you need no knowledge of power tools or hardware to achieve this and you'll save scads of dough.

Works on paper should be first matted and then framed under glass. If the work is a standard size, 5"x7", 9"x12", 8"x10", pre-cut mats can be purchased at most art supply stores. Center the artwork in the mat with the largest border at the bottom of the artwork. Tack the work to the mat with mounting tape (also available at most art and craft stores) and place in a frame of your choosing. The rule of thumb is a more ornate frame for a simple subject and a simple frame for a more complex subject. Try to choose a mat in a neutral tone that doesn't distract you from the artwork. I like to bring paintings with me when I shop for mats and frames so I'm certain of the outcome. Besides, I'm lavished with attention when I tote my work around and it makes me giddy.

Hang artwork out of direct sunlight to protect from fading or bursting into flames (kidding). Sculpture, depending upon the medium can take a tad more sunshine, but generally speaking art prefers a protected environment. For works on paper you can purchase custom frames with UV protective glass, though these types of upgrades can be a bit pricey. It's also best to keep original paintings away from moisture. If you are compelled to keep masterpieces in the "reading room" try to choose sturdy works which are moisture resistant. Mosaics or other outdoor friendly work are a good choice. Though a collection of concrete gnomes perched near the can may wreck your collector cred.

Acrylic and oil paintings can be dusted with a soft, dust attracting cloth as can most sculptures. Don't be afraid to touch the canvas with the cloth, though vigorous rubbing and application of bodily secretions should be avoided. Naturally, the glass in any frame can be cleaned with a cloth sprayed with glass cleaner and the frame can be maintained with furniture polish or a dust cloth. Encaustic ( a.k.a. wax) works can be buffed with a clean, soft cloth to restore their luster.  After all, who doesn't like a good buffing now and then?
One of my Encaustic Sea Dragon Paintings

Finally, if you have any questions regarding how to care for artwork, simply ask the artist you purchased it from. Trust, we want our stuff to stick around and we're happy to help you out with the how-tos. Most of what we do is not so entirely precious or delicate that it can't handle life in an average home. The work we do must first survive life in our studios, which you'll know is sketchy at best if you've ever visited an artist's space while they're in the throes of a creative frenzy.
My studio, not exactly a hermetically sealed environment.

Most importantly, enjoy your collection! Choose what moves you regardless of what's considered "cool" or "sophisticated". Ultimately what matters most is how art makes you feel and feeds your soul each day, not what the glitterati (aka trendouches) think is killer.  Even those abiding in the most humble of abodes have a right to have a daily dose of beauty and with just a little TLC, taking care of your treasures is as easy as falling in love with them in the first place.


Jade Rahl said...

That sea dragon painting is gorgeous! :)
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!
Returning the follow
The Sleppery Mind

Michelley said...

Thanks for the kind compliment and the follow Jade!

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