Caring For Your Acrylic Paintings


Whether you are a seasoned art collector or a new art lover, a gallerist or an artist, at some point or the other the concern for safekeeping your artworks is bound to cross your mind. Acrylic paints, a 20th-century invention, raises great concern over its safekeeping as very little is known about its deterioration and ageing process. The popularity of acrylics over the age-old mediums like oil and watercolours is ever increasing and therefore the question of how to take care of your acrylic painting becomes all the more relevant. With proper care and handling, one can easily protect your much-loved art possessions from deteriorating faster.  Here are some tips to help you do just that.

1. Storing Your Paintings

The most important tip for good storage is to keep the area away from direct sunlight and as free from humidity as possible. Dampness is the biggest cause of deterioration for artworks. Make sure your area is well – ventilated and well-lit.

If your painting is not hanging on a wall, then the paintings should ideally be stored flat without two paint surfaces touching each other. It is also absolutely crucial to make sure that the art storage space is free of insects, pests, rats or any other animals.

2. Handling Your Artworks

It is no secret that most artworks across the world are damaged because of mishandling. One should never attempt to lift the painting alone, especially if it is a large size. It is recommended that you always have someone to help you out if you are moving the painting. Secondly, it is advisable to hold the painting from the bottom rather than the top. Eating and drinking near a painting should be avoided as well.

3. Hanging and Framing

Proper hanging and framing also play a significant role in increasing the life of your painting. Never hang a painting on a damp wall or a freshly painted one. Ideally, wait at least one month after a wall has been painted to hang a painting.

The painting should never be exposed to direct sunlight. Ideally, if possible, paintings should be kept in a well-ventilated area. Humidity and fluctuating temperatures are the major causes of deterioration for an artwork. Remember to maintain the light, temperatures and the relative humidity in the room.

While framing your artwork be sure to use frames of disinfected wood. If you are mounting your painting, it is best to use acid- free mounts.  Acrylic paintings should ideally be framed without glass. However, if you cannot manage regular cleaning of dust and dirt it is best to use glass framing.

4. Cleaning Your Painting

It is best to get your favourite artwork cleaned professionally by a certified art conservator if you see that it needs cleaning. However, some basic cleaning can be done to keep away dust, dirt and grime from depositing. Keep away the dust by gently cleaning the painting with a soft hair paintbrush or a microfibre cloth.

Make sure you clean the back of the painting, especially the corners behind of the stretchers. You should never attempt to use any solvent or cleaning agent on your painting, not even plain water. Never over clean your artwork, particularly the paint layer. Cleaning artworks once in 6-10 months is all that it is required. Simple steps towards caring for your acrylic painting will make your painting live longer for generations to appreciate and treasure.

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