Preserving Artwork: Care and conservation of original oil paintings

Traditional artists whom work in oil paints are guaranteed a body of work that will outlive their own lifetime, serving as a legacy to any collectors. Oil paintings last for thousands of years after the time of creation and become a lifetime investment. With this in mind, to be kept in tip top condition, oil paintings require special care and conservation.  


Oil paintings can be cleaned with a piece of bread

Oil paintings can be cleaned with a piece of bread

As a collector of my original oil paintings, it is important to understand that my work is much more than a commodity; it is an eternal piece of my soul, shared with the world. Here are some basic points to follow when caring for a piece of my he(r)[art]:

  • Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will fade the colours in your oil painting. Please be aware of this when choosing a location to hang the work.
  • Oil paintings need to breathe, so should never be framed under glass. Oil paintings can be safely hung without a frame.
  • Instead of using big nails, hooks must be used to hang the painting as inserting nails can develop cracks in the painting, while using hooks provides extra support without any threat of damage.
  • So that a thick layer of dust does not build up, very lightly and infrequently dust the surface of the painting with either of the following: a lint free silk cloth, a feather duster, a piece of bread or a soft bristled bush. Do not spray anything (such as household cleaners) on the work. Watch this YouTube video for further guidance. 
  • If you must transport the work, lay a flat piece of cardboard, over the front and back surfaces and then wrap in bubble wrap or styrofoam wrap. Try not to keep it wrapped up for too long as to avoid moisture buildup which may cause damage to the work.
  • If something bad happens to the work (i.e. it crashes down on someone’s head and gets a big gash in it) bring it to a professional conservator who can fix it properly. Don’t do it yourself! Bring it to someone who knows what to do. I will greatly appreciate you doing this.
  • If you ever need to get rid of my work for any reason, always contact me, to be informed of the work’s new home so I can update the work’s provenance records. Please never, ever destroy or throw away any of my original work! If you absolutely can’t keep it for any reason, offer to give it back to me.

P.S. For inspiration on how to hang artwork in your own home, take a look at my pinterest board.