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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Framing and Caring for Your Artwork

The right frame can make your artwork stand out from across the room but it is also intended to protect your artwork from dirt and moisture. The placement of your artwork is not only about aesthetics but also about protecting your artwork and keeping it in pristine condition . Even if your artwork is painted on the most expensive watercolor paper using professional quality archival paints, as mine are, it is still important to choose your framing and display area wisely.

The artwork, regarless of the medium used, (watercolor, oil, acrylic, pencil etc) should not be hung anywhere that it would be subjected to direct sunlight or long periods of artificial light. Areas where major changes in humidity such as a kitchen or bathroom should also be avoided. If you choose to hang your artwork in a bright room or a room where artificial light is on for long periods of time, then you may want to consider using glass or plexiglass with Ultraviolet protection built in. It is more expensive but if you value your collection it will help prevent fading enormously.

If using plexi glass, any piece shipped framed over 11x14" is framed with plexi glass for safety reasons, do not use any cleaner on the plexi glass.  Just use a soft microfibre cloth to wipe any dust or smudges from the frame.  If you do want to use a cleaner, buy the cleaners made specifically for plexi glass and spray onto the cloth then wipe.  Spraying any cleaning product onto a framed painting whether it be plexiglass or glass is never a good idea as particles from the cleaning solution could find their way through the cracks and onto the surface of the matt of paper.
Choosing a Frame

I prefer a simple clean frame so that I can really focus on the artwork. I also like the fact that I can easily move the artwork from room to room and not worry about it fitting in with the color scheme or decor of the new room or areas. A sample of some of my framed work, ready to go to the exhibit are below.Framed Artwork
Choosing a Matt



The matt board prevents the artwork from making contact with the glass which can create moisture. I prefer an acid-free off white or ivory matt for all my paintings and drawings as I can easily move my artwork from one room to the next and it fits in with any decor.
I also like the way the simpler matt kick the colors and tonal definition up a notch. For a bit more detail or interest a matt with a thin line of black or other color also is nice and does not distract from the painting but sets off the color nicely. When mounting the artwork to the matt, never use any plastic tapes or any masking tapes. They can turn brown and brittle leaving a dirty residue on the artwork which could ruin it and alter its value over time.

Choosing your Backing
The backing board pushes the artwork onto the matt to help keep it flat and keep dust and moisture out. Always use an acid-free backing or a acid-free piece of paper or card between the backing and the matt to keep impurities away from your artwork. The back of the frame should then be sealed with water soluble gummed tape to prevent the airborne dirt or moisture from penetrating the frame.

Cleaning your Artwork

Once properly framed you should never need to clean or worry about your artwork inside the frame. When cleaning the glass, spray your glass cleaner onto a clean cloth, clean the glass and wipe off immediately. Although the frame has been sealed, when spraying, some of the cleaner could find its way in through capillary action and do damage... better safe than sorry!

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