Friday, August 1, 2008

Fragile! Handle With Care...

August 1st?? I can hardly believe it,  but the heat is a clear indication that it is indeed... the middle of summer. 

Today I'm not only working on commissioned paintings, but also trying my best to repair two paintings that were sadly damaged. The studio heats up pretty quickly when I'm busy... and today is one of those especially melty summer dog days. While the heat has me mostly thinking about Otter Pops.... (mmm.... Otter Pops....)...

...the artwork has me thinking a little more about the fragile nature of all things. 

 And so ... I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips on caring for your artwork

There are so many great books and of course detailed information at your fingertips with the internet, but for now here are a few quick guidelines and gentle reminders...  (I found an almost overwhelming amount of information when I looked, but felt that a great art blog I stumbled upon really summed it up in a short, clever, fun way, so I'm re-posting here with a link back and would like to thank the Art Addict.)

Now go get your ice cream/popsicle fix and don't forget to take good care of your precious works of art! :-)


Never hang or place artwork in direct sunlight. The sun is death to art. Photographs and drawings are particularly susceptible to fading. If you want to be extra protective of your artwork, rotate it as often as possible allowing for some time in dark spaces or storage.

Do not hang artwork in or near sources of heat or humidity, i.e., bathrooms, heaters, etc. No matter how well you think something is framed or protected, humidity will surely warp and damage most surfaces.

Do not leave artwork outside (unless it is designed for outdoor viewing). Basements and garages are not recommended places to store artwork because of exposure to inclement weather, humidity, and dampness.

Do not throw, dropkick, dribble, juggle, finger-spin, break-dance upon, or otherwise disrespect your artwork. Treat it like art (and I say your heart!) and you'll enjoy a long and fulfilling life together.


If you are collecting paintings, photographs, framed drawings, and most sculpture made from a hard material - bronze, plastic, etc. - there are some basic rules to follow when cleaning your art. If the artwork is made out of something odd - chocolate, urine, blood, primordial ooze, etc. - make sure to contact the gallery from which you purchased it to learn about how to clean the work.

Avoid letting dust accumulate on artwork. When dusting your artwork, use a can of compressed air, or a very soft, non-abrasive, lint free cloth. Paper towels are a no-no because they can leave tiny scratches.

Use a plastic cleaner, not commercial glass cleaner, on Plexiglas. (Art Addict recommends Novus Plastic Clean & Shine). Apply the plastic cleaner with a soft non-abrasive cloth. NOTE: Spray the cleaning solution on the cloth, never directly onto glass or Plexiglas.

Keep artwork away from dogs, flying fish, cats, flying cats, ponies, potbellied pigs, ferrets, llamas, constricting snakes, lemurs, monkeys (flying or otherwise), and pretty much any and all animals exhibiting claws, feathers, hooves, fangs, bottomless curiosity, and/or opposable thumbs.


When handling artwork, always try to use white art-handling cotton gloves. Never touch the surface of an unframed artwork without gloves; even clean hands leave a corrosive residue. To purchase art-handling gloves check your local art supply stores or click here.

Avoid damage to fragile edges and corners of artwork by padding the work during installation or hanging. Always use padding -- a blanket, bubble wrap, or foam -- when resting artwork on hard surfaces.

Never handle, move, or hang large works of art alone; you can easily damage the art. Or yourself. Art Addict's foot broke the fall of a large photograph she was hanging alone once. She broke a toe. The art was spared.

When packing and storing artwork, always use stable, pH-neutral, archival materials. If you are unsure what that means, contact your local art store or framer and they will show you materials that fit these requirements. One favorite tip for the handling of art is that the bubbles in the bubble wrap should always be on the outside.

1 comment:

Alan said...

Hi Jennifer. Nice work, very interesting. I came to you through the Microwzve! And adr artists supposed to be as pretty as you are? Alan