When investing in works of art, you need to take good care of them to preserve their value and beauty over time. In addition of being an investment with stunning surprises sometimes, paintings are extremely decorative and often reflect its owner’s tastes and personality. But they are also not protected from dust accumulation and contamination. Let's try to understand what care the paintings and frames need, how to clean and store them.
Where To Hang The Pictures?
To preserve pictures, you must first know where to place them. Do not hang pictures in damp rooms. Moisture does not have a good effect on paints and frames. Do not place the pictures in direct sunlight, which will cause the paint pigment to fade. Oil paintings are much stronger than watercolor paintings but exposed to the sun, they would also change color. Avoid placing in direct sunlight. If you want to have works of art in a place where there is sometimes direct sunlight, consider placing it in a frame behind UV-protected glass. There are different degrees of UV protection. But know that such glasses can be quite expensive. Do not place the pictures above a heater or in the kitchen above a stove. Warm air relaxes the canvas or causes cracks. Light and bright works are hung on the sidewalls, and dark - against the window, but not near it.
Cleaning Oil Paintings At Home
Oil paintings are unique and delicate works of art. Over time, stains or dirt may form on them. You should NEVER use water, alcohol or household cleaning products to clean the picture, but there are ways to clean your pictures safely without damaging them. Here are 6 different processes to clean your oil paintings:
Brush method # 1
Remove the picture from the wall and remove gently the frame if you can. Use a dry, soft brush to clean surface dust and dirt. Start carefully from one corner. Work in small sections from top to bottom. Do not press or clean harshly as it could damage the surface of the painting.
Saliva method # 2
Another approach to clean oil paintings is to use saliva and a cotton swab. Using saliva to clean a work of art may seem strange, but that's how museum curators around the world clean their paintings. Saliva has a sufficient amount of enzymes that can destroy dirt and not damage the paint. Remember that this method requires patience. Always start on a small part in the corner of the picture. Make sure there is no paint residue on the cotton and continue carefully.
Bread method # 3
Another harmless way to clean the paintings at home is a piece of bread that will absorb the accumulated dust and dirt and refresh the colors of the canvas. Start at the corners and rub gently. Always remember to take your time and never to press on the canvas.
Turpentine method # 4
The use of a specialized cleaning product is also a way to clean your painting. Turpentine is the most commonly used product. But keep in mind that this is a solvent, so test carefully in one corner of the picture. Avoid using water-based formulas: water can enter through cracks and spoil the paint. Use a cotton swab and work carefully again. Use protective gloves. But before using your turpentine solution, make sure that it is safe to use on your paintings surface.
Cotton method # 5
This process is easy to use and can give stunning results. Use a cotton cloth soaked in soapy water; try to have an oil-based soap for better results. Always clean in a soft and gentle manner in order to avoid breaking thick old layers of paint.
Ready made solution method # 6
The last approach to clean your painting is to buy from a trusted source a ready made solution to clean your painting. Make sure you buy a known and tested product and carefully follow the instructions. This final approach can be used when the painting is very dirty and requires more than just a simple brushing or superficial cleaning.
How to Clean Watercolor Paintings?
Watercolor paintings are much more fragile than oil paintings because oil paint is more durable than watercolor paint. Oil paintings are painted on canvas, or on wood, which is also much more durable than the special paper used for watercolor paintings. Watercolor paintings should never be cleaned with a damp cloth, as moisture will damage the integrity of the paper as well as the paint itself. To protect your watercolors paintings, from dust accumulation and accidents, always mount them under glass. The glass can be easily cleaned with various cleaning products. Sometimes, some dust may enter between the glass and the painting. In such a case, remove the work for the frame and use a soft brush to delicately remove the dust. If the picture has been without a glass for a long time, use the method with soft bread and carefully remove the dirt. If this does not work, seek the assistance of a professional.
How to Clean Pastel Paintings?
Pastel paintings and their color gloss are very stable over time, as long as the surface is protected. To prevent damage, the surface of pastel paint should never be touched and should be protected from water. Pastel paintings can be surprisingly durable when protected with glass. Well preserved, the pastel pattern can maintain the vibrancy of the colors and the freshness of the strokes for several centuries. Use a soft, dry cloth to remove dust and refresh the colors.
When Does A Painting Need Professional Restoration?
There are ways that can limit the damage of natural aging, such as the use of varnishes and the proper storage of paintings. However, over the years, some natural damage will inevitably occur. If you notice cracks, peeling paint or discoloration, seek the help of a professional restorer. Sometimes hidden symbols can be found under the thick layer of dust, which, when carefully cleaned, can turn the painting into a truly valuable work - in this case, seek the help of a restorer again. If the picture looks gloomy and dark again, despite the cleaning, take the advice of a professional to know if the painting can be revived to its original glory.
How To Clean Painting Frames?
Many sorts of frames exist; some are old, some are new, some are in solid wood, some are gilded and some are in metal. It is appropriate to clean the wooden frames with a soft microfiber cloth. However, if the frame is old and gilded with gold leaves, you might damage the frame and remove some gilding in the process. First, clean gently with a towel, and then use a wood cleaner (if it is solid wood not gilded). If the frame is gilded, just use a damp cotton cloth soaked in soapy water. If there are too many ornaments, use a toothbrush. Metal frames are very easy to clean, a damp cloth will make them look brand new in no time, but if they have a little more accumulated dirt, try mixing water with a little cleaning product and clean the frame.
The paintings tell stories and express emotions. They are a creative way to express our individuality and to complement the interior of our home in a stylish way. Take care of them carefully, because they are an art that remains for hundreds of years. Trust the professional opinion of restorers when you can't handle cleaning or storing them yourself.