Before I started my career as an artist I was fairly unaware of what goes into making a piece of art last and I have learnt a lot on my journey! Here I want to share some top tips with you, as well as the steps I take to extend the longevity of your art.
Anyone who has ever seen older artworks or watched art restoration programmes will know that, over time, artwork can deteriorate. When you commission a piece of artwork, especially one that may hold personal and sentimental feelings you will of course want it to last.
What I do
First of all the materials that I use to create your artwork are high quality and made with archival qualities in mind.
Pencils – All the pencils I use are artist grade, high quality pencils. The colour pencils I use are highly pigmented and lightfast (this means they have been tested under museum conditions and will not fade for up to 100 years). Different colours have varying degrees of lightfastness so it is important to be careful which ones are used. The brands I use include:
Faber Castell 9000 series graphite pencils
Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils
Faber Castell Pitt Pastel pencils
Caran D’ache Luminance pencils
Derwent Lightfast pencils.
Paper – I have experimented with lots of different papers my two favourites and the ones I use most are Claire Fontaine Pastelmat and Fabriano Artistico Smooth Cotton paper. These are both designed with artists in mind and are acid free. Over time any acidity in the paper can cause deterioration and discoloration of the piece. Another thing to think about is touching – or should I say, no touching! Natural oils in your skin are transferred to the paper which can, over time, cause deterioration so avoiding touching the surface is advisable. Using a sheet of paper or glassine between your hand and the artwork helps protect it against these oils and also smudging!
Fixative – I’m sure I’m not the only one who remembers being told in art class to use hairspray to fix your final artwork in place! Now, this works and for GCSE art, where you are mainly concerned it lasts long enough to get you a good grade, it is probably fine. But, when you have longevity in mind it’s not a good idea. The number of layers that go into a piece often fix the pigment in place and Pastelmat in particular holds the pigment in place pretty well so fixative isn’t usually needed but I have recently discovered UV protectant spray which I am using on my artwork. This adds a layer of protection against, you guessed it, UV rays as well as avoiding smudging from over zealous fingers! I am using Lascaux UV protect matte spray.
I love finishing a piece with a mount, it just seems to make the piece look final and frames it beautifully. There is also an archival reason for including a mount with your artwork. It prevents the artwork from coming into contact with the glass and damaging the pigments, it also gives it some breathing space and allows it to expand and contract with the heat and moisture present in the air. In a recurring theme here, any backing to your artwork should also be acid free! This can come in the form of mount board or foam core and creates a barrier between the art and the back of your frame.
Before sending out, the artwork is placed into a clear pocket to protect it on its journey and finished with a ribbon to make it beautiful. It is wrapped in tissue and packed onto be sent to you.
What you can do
All original artwork is sent with a certificate of authenticity which includes these top tips to take care of your artwork.
♡ Avoid touching the artwork directly
♡ Frame using the card mount provided (or similar) and use an acid free backing between your artwork and the frame
♡ Display away from direct light
♡ Consider asking your framer for UV reflecting glass that not only protects the piece buy helps avoid glare so you can see the work in all its glory!
I hope you found this post informative and interesting! If you have any questions or want to find out more about commissioning your own bespoke artwork please get in touch.