When I sell a painting, I always make sure to teach people how to care for it. I can’t expect them to already know this; they appreciate fine art but generally don’t create it themselves. So here are the instructions I provide with the painting to make it easier for buyers, AND to assure that my “progeny” going out into the world will stand a chance of surviving a few hundred years.
I also include a synopsis of the process I used to create it, which will probably be of more value to a later restorer than the owner, but it does let them know all the pains I went through to provide them with a top-quality product. I’ll post my synopsis of “Process and Materials Used” tomorrow but, in the meantime, here is Part 1, the care instructions:
Caring for Your Classical Oil Painting
1. Apply Vaseline on the inside front edge of the frame
where the painting will touch. This prevents the painting
surface from damage by sticking to the frame.
2. Avoid extremes of temperature for long periods. In an
ideal world such as a museum, paintings are maintained
at 68-72 degrees with 40-55 percent humidity.
3. Do not hang your painting on an uninsulated outer wall, or
where sunlight will hit and cause it to fade, or where heavy
smoke from cigarettes or a wood fireplace will discolor it.
4. Every two months, examine the lighter colors to see if
they are losing their sheen. It is important that I re-glaze
these colors in preparation for the final varnish. When this
process ceases and the painting fully cures (about 6-12 months
in Arizona), I will apply a final coat of protective varnish. Once
dry, it is safe to lightly and very occasionally clean off the
surface dust with a damp, lint-free cloth (water only).
5. Hang the painting so that it tilts slightly forward at the top.
This helps keep dust off and cuts down on reflected light.
6. When lighting the painting, triangulated track lights are
ideal. Given the bonded marble texture, this provides even
light from both sides and minimizes cast shadows and
reflections on the museum finish.