Is there a particular coating that I should be using to protect a watercolor painting?
And what is the best storage option for preserving paintings?
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There are a couple of things that will definitely work to help preserve displayed paintings:
You can also get UV archival fixative sprays that are suitable for watercolor work. It's not terribly common to do that, but becoming more prevalent amongst those that don't want glass in front of their painting. My general take is that if the paper gets dusty over time, dulling the color, it's harder to clean than glass... Mind you, for storage long term, it makes a lot of sense to consider.
Tips from Artists & Illustrators:
Before storing your work, take the time to ensure it is as you want to find it. Remove any unwanted pencil lines, or carefully dampen a piece of kitchen towel to lift off fingerprints. Put a date on the back if you haven’t already and place it in layers of acid-free tissue paper. When it comes to looking after and even framing your paintings, it is worth remembering that paper is a fragile, sensitive material. Always store your work horizontal and fl at; a plan chest is clearly ideal. Nothing detracts from a painting more than tatty edges and bashed corners. Never store watercolours in plastic sleeves, such as the ones sold as portfolio pages, as this will ruin the paint surface. As for framing your work, there are obviously lots of personal choices you can make with regards to the frame, mount colour and so on, but let me end with my three golden rules in the column opposite.
3 Golden Rules for Preserving Watercolours
- Keep a gap between the glass and artwork A window mount that conceals the very edges of your work will do this, by the minimum 2mm. If you are planning to just attach your painting to the frame’s backing board, you will need small wooden fillets to create this minimum breathing space.
- Avoid masking tape or sellotape It will rapidly stain the paper and cause irreparable damage. Any good art shop will stock PH-neutral, waterbased adhesive and archival tape.
- Choose where you hang your work carefully Avoid areas of humidity (such as bathrooms and kitchens) and places that will experience extremes of hot and cold, such as just above radiators, or on the inside of exterior walls. Watercolours will fade if hung in direct sunlight too. Modern pigments are far less fugitive nowadays, but careful hanging is still vital to their longevity