Age Must Not Wither Them
– Taking Care of Your Paintings (Part I)
Indian artists are getting their share of fame and famous Indian paintings are selling for unbelievable prices. On a less commercial note, people are increasingly looking Age Must Not Wither ThemArt and paintings in particular to enhance their décor or to make a statement about who they are or what they like. Whether you buy art for love of paintings or as an investment, i.e. whether your motivation is love or money, you need to look after these valuable pieces.
To understand how to look after a painting, you need to understand what a painting is: a piece of the artist’s soul, an expression of an artist’s feelings, hopes and sufferings. Yes, yes, very true, but on a more practical note, a painting is made up of two parts: the support layer and the image layer. The support layer relates to the canvas or paper that the painting is on plus the supporting frame or stretcher. The image layer relates to “such stuff as dreams are made of” – the painting itself. Artists may use primer and then the paint, which may be oil or water based. Sometimes oil paintings may be varnished to protect the painting or to saturate the colours. The image you see when you look at a painting is an interaction of all these layers. All the layers change and deteriorate and take on different physical characteristics over time – varnish oxidizes with light and air, turning yellow or brown, paint may become brittle, paper may get attacked by insects, in damp environments canvas could grow mildew. Four factors that most affect the health of your painting are temperature, relative humidity, light (i.e. visible light and ultra-violet radiation) and pollution.