How to Display and Care for an Acrylic Painting

How to Display and Care for an Acrylic Painting

I always smile a bit to myself when I have my artwork at a show, and a child reaches out to touch one of my paintings. “No! Don’t touch that!” the parent scolds. I don’t want to minimize the parent’s admonition, but I try to reassure them that the painting isn’t as delicate as they assume. In Western culture, from our experiences encountering centuries-old masterpieces in museums, we are conditioned to give artwork its distance, and treat it as an ancient archeological relic. Granted, I do try to show my artwork respect–because it is valuable–and not allow the surface to get scuffed or otherwise abused, but I know the medium I use, and it’s very resilient. So on the one side, I want clients that purchase my original paintings to treat it with care (and almost everyone instinctively does) but I also want them to feel comfortable knowing the painting can live in a house where people cook, children play, pets shed, and life happens. Ever since the Renaissance, oil paint was the standard medium for painting. It allowed for a long working time, brilliant color saturation and blending, but because it could get brittle over time, oil paintings had to be handled with great care. Then, in the 1930’s acrylic paint was invented and became available to artists in the 1950’s. Acrylics are great because of their versatility. High quality acrylics such as Liquitex, Windsor & Newton, and the kind I use–NovaColor– are extremely flexible, non-yellowing, water resistant, and highly resistant to scratches once dry. Although I have tried oils, acrylic is my medium of choice. Since I...
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