Monday, January 27, 2014

Looking good 25 years on..

Discovered in Envy Cafe, Summer Hill, Sydney..Painted in the late 1980's and still looking good 25 years on..

Monday, January 4, 2010

Zinc White free palette

There has been quite a bit of recent controversy in the art world about the problems with zinc white in oil paints.

Zinc oxide has been used in paints since the 1850's, primarily to produce some whites.

Since the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute research paper has surfaced I have done all that I can to remove any zinc oxide from my palette.

Most 20th century oil painters have used and continue to use white paint containing a component of zinc oxide. In fact pure zinc white is still produced by nearly all paint manufactures today. A very small percentage of artists have continued to use lead based white paint, most artists have steered away from it because of it's toxicity.

I have never been much of a fan of zinc white, but it is a hidden ingredient in many other white paints, including transparent white, flake white, silver white, mixed white, foundation white and most titanium whites.

The white I have used in the past is Titanium based, is claimed by the paint maker not to yellow with age and dries to an elastic film that has no tendency to crack and painting mediums do not affect its integrity.

While all of this may be true, the most current belief, from paint chemists I have corresponded with, is that the zinc component must be less than 15% to counter the effect of zinc oxide's brittleness in oil paint.

So to be 100% safe I have returned to Cremnitz white (pure lead carbonate)and I blend this with Titanium white (a brand with almost no zinc) when a brighter white is required.

The Old Masters understood their paints, today, for an artist, a scientific interest in art materials is almost mandatory (-:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Caring for your Oil Painting

I have paintings in my collection, both my own and other artists, from recently completed to over 100 years old.
Some I have bought at auction or from galleries or directly from the artist. One of the many things I look for in a painting is it's condition.
I have paintings I did in the 1970's that still look virtually as fresh and blemish free as the day they were painted.The key here is the way it has been looked after.
In addition to my earlier post, I found this article on the internet. It's worth a read....

Caring For Your Oil Painting By Breiana Cecil
Caring for your painting will ensure its longevity. There are preventative measures that can and should be taken when owning an oil painting. Oils are one of the most sensitive means of artistic media, and damages are common. Handling of the artwork, changes in temperature, lighting, hanging, and storage can all cause different types of damage, including:
The cracking of paint, distortions of the canvas, fading and discoloration of the painting
Handling of the artwork too often will inevitably cause damage, so be certain to take preventative measures when moving the painting. Be sure to seal and insulate. In a move, this will prevent destruction from hot and cold temperature changes, as well as bumps and bangs. Bubble wrap your painting even if moving it in a protective portfolio. This way, if the cover is punctured, you still have a safety net.
Changes in temperature will cause your painting to stretch and shrink, just as your door frame does from winter to summer months. This can cause cracking of paint and/or canvas. Some variation is inevitable, but to avoid severe changes hang the painting somewhere in the home or office where humidity and temperature are reasonably constant. Avoid hanging the painting near doorways, windows, and air ducts (this includes fireplaces that are often in use). Bathrooms and kitchens (humidity, smoke, heat) are also a bad idea for your oil painting.
Lighting whether natural or artificial, will have negative effects on your painting in the long term. Never hang your painting in direct sunlight! This will cause fading of the paint, as well as frequent temperature change from day to night, which will cause cracking. Hang the painting on an outside wall (but not near a window) to avoid sun damage. In choosing the correct artificial lighting, try flood lighting or if using spots, use a low frequency bulb, as a high concentration of direct light will have the same effect on your painting as sunlight.)
Hanging Your painting is an important consideration. We've spoken about temperature damage, but you also want to consider 'people' damage. Avoid hanging your painting in an area where people may bump it. Your painting should theoretically be hung at eye level, but in narrow spaces like hallways, a bit higher wouldn't hurt. 8 to 10 inches breathing room above furniture should salvage the painting from mishap. Another consideration is cigarette smoke. If you have a designated smoke area, hang up a poster, this is not where you want your oil painting.
Store your painting with the same consideration that you hang it. Basements and Attics are not your best bet. Temperatures are typically very dry or very wet in these environments. Cover your painting on both sides with bubble wrap or corrugated plastic, box it up in cardboard, and store it in a closet that remains as close to room temperature as possible.
Cleaning your painting is risky. Very lightly and infrequently dusting with a lint free silk cloth or a soft brush may be okay, but it is best to rely on experts and professionals to help with full cleaning and/or repair.

If you own one of my paintings and you want it cleaned or varnished please contact me through the David Brayshaw website

Monday, January 19, 2009

Correct care for paintings

Getting the most out of your artwork.

Once a client purchases an oil painting there are a number of simple straight-forward steps that need to be taken to help keep the painting in its best possible condition.

Paintings leave the studio in perfect condition, with a coat of damar retouch varnish. From then on others take on the responsibility of caring and maintaining the artwork, whether this is the gallery or the collector.

Firstly the environment the artwork will be displayed or stored.
Please do not display your paintings where the room becomes overly hot, either from the sun or heating and definitely keep them out of direct sunlight. Even professional grade oil colours have their limitations.

Oil paintings have been painted for hundreds of years. If you visit an art gallery you will notice the air temperature is cool. The gallery maintains a constant air temperature of 20°C and humidity level of about 55%. While this may not be possible in the average home, it is in your interest to protect the artwork from extremes. Humidity and temperature variations are the enemies of artworks.

Oil paintings on stretched linen canvas generally offer a longer life than works painted on stretched cotton canvas, board or canvas laid on board, but stretched canvas is vulnerable to temperature and humidity variations. The change from heat to cool causes the canvas to expand and contract. If the painting is located in an area that has large temperature variations cracking may start to show in quite a short period of time and if left in this situation the oil paint will eventually start to separate from the gesso canvas surface.

If an artwork has been placed in a hostile environment and the paint surface is showing some early indication of cracks please take action immediately to halt any further effect. Move the painting to a cooler area of the home, have a piece of cardboard placed over the back of the stretcher frame, sealed by acid free tape around the edges, this gives a pocket of stable air behind the canvas. Have the painting assessed by the artist or a conserver as to whether the work needs to be cleaned and re-varnished, or perhaps placed behind glass.

While hardboard/panel/canvas laid on board offers a more rigid surface for oil paint, with less cracking under these circumstances, they have their own shortcomings.

If artworks are to be stored they must be kept in a cool dry area, if the area is prone to heat or humidity the painting will deteriorate rapidly.

Secondly, consider having the painting professionally cleaned every 5 to 10 years or so, and if necessary having a more permanent varnish applied (this can be done once the painting is 12 months old if desired). This is an excellent opportunity to access the painting is in good condition, to make sure it looks it's best for many more years.

Please contact me through my website email to arrange for cleaning and varnishing. You will need to advise me of the size of the painting to provide an estimate of what the likely service cost will be.