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How to clean and care for original paintings

How to clean and care for original paintings

How to clean and care for original paintings

Original art is an investment and your painting will be appreciated 
by future generations as much as by those who view it today.
Here are a few things you can do to care for your painting


The very nature of a natural product such as cotton or linen canvas means that there will be imperfections (lumps and bumps) on the surface of the canvas caused by the variations in the threads that make up the canvas. This is normal and a feature of canvas.

Any imperfections that you may see on the surface are a reflection of the nature of the painted surfaces of original paintings. 

My acrylic paintings are painted on a cotton or linen canvas that is secured to a wooden stretcher frame for support. The canvas normally has one or more preparation layers (gesso) applied to its surface before the paint layers are applied. After the painting has been completed, dried and signed, two layers of varnish are applied to protect the painting from the accumulation of dust and dirt.


Do not allow any rigid objects to press against the front or back surface of the stretched canvas as this could create permanent indentation damage. When storing or transferring, take care to protect the canvas surface from becoming dented. When it becomes necessary to handle or move a painting, avoid touching the paint surface or the back of the canvas. Do not apply any kind of pressure (even finger pressure) to the back of a canvas. 

If your canvas painting does get slightly stretched or dented in an area, sometimes spraying water on the back side (the unpainted side) of the canvas can shrink the stretch/dent. It depends on how severe the indentation is. If unsure about doing this yourself, have a professional do it.

 It is not advisable to place the artwork above a heat source such as fireplaces. In addition to the damage caused by radiating heat, dirt that rises with the heat may cause damage. It is unadvisable to hang paintings in a moist environment such as a room which has a bath or shower. Rapid environmental fluctuations may be harmful to the painting.

Ultraviolet light should be kept away from the paintings as much as possible as fugitive dyes and colorants used in paints will eventually discolour under exposure to this type of light. The fading of pigments and dyes will affect the colour balance of the artwork.



Do not attempt to clean the surface by using solvents or cleaning products of any kind.  Cleaning liquids may actually embed the dirt into the painting and cause permanent liquid lines over the surface. In fact, it is discouraged to use any liquid, including water, to clean the surface of your painting. 

Never use dry or moist dust cloths, stiff bristle brushes or feather dusters to clean a painting as threads can catch on areas of raised paint and dusters can scratch the painting. Avoid spraying any fresheners, polish etc. directly onto a painting.



Do use compressed air in a can to blow away surface dust. Another technique involves using a dry soft sable brush to lightly brush the surface in order to dislodge dust while holding a vacuum off the surface, to capture and remove debris. 

The best type of light for your painting is indirect sunlight, recessed lighting and halogen lights (not ultraviolet).

If you have any questions or need advice about your artwork, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be more than happy to advise you.

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