OIL PAINTINGS are art pieces painted in oil colors. For most people, owning a genuine oil painting at home or in the office is comes with a lot of pride.
In the past, oil paintings were commonly covered with a layer of varnish to add sheen and protect the thick layer of paint. However varnish reacts differently to the environment than does paint, so the varnish ends up cracking or yellowing over time.
To make your oil painting lasting and durable for generations, it needs proper care and handling. And preserving an oil painting is not difficult provided you do it the right way.
According to Byabushi Namwandala, a visual artist at the Ubumwe Creative Arts Studios in Kacyiru, all oil paintings must be hang away from direct sunlight, bright overhead lights and fireplaces. One should also keep the piece away from rooms with fluctuating temperature. The wall where the painting is to be hanged must not be damp/moist, as all these conditions tend to affect the painting in many ways.
For new paintings, the biggest problem is likely to be a build-up of dust particles, smoke, pet hair, even bacterial or fungal growth. In this case, make sure the paint doesn't exhibit any cracks. Then you can carefully dust the surface with a very soft, dry bristle brush, such as a baby toothbrush or shaving cream brush.
If the surface is sticky, grimy, or oily, you will need a mild detergent solution. Again, generally speaking, oil and water don’t mix, as moisture can damage the art piece.
There is nothing worse than procuring an expensive art piece either as a gift or souvenir, only for it to fall off the wall where it hangs and break into pieces. Byabushi advises that before you hang the painting, make sure the hook is strong and of the right length, so that the painting doesn't fall off. You may need to call in a local carpenter to do the job, especially if it’s a priceless painting.
Whenever in need of taking down the painting for cleaning, always handle the frame without touching the surface of the painting with bare hands. Never use a rough cloth piece to clean the painting. The hands should be washed and dried to avoid the moisture from damaging the surface of the painting.
The painting should not be regularly cleaned, but only when required. The front of the painting should be cleaned gently with a soft brush to remove the loose dust on the painted surface, alternatively a soft fibre cloth can also be used as the painting requires soft treatment and not harsh. The back of the painting could be cleaned with soft brushes.
5. Expert call: If you find any insect infestation, any yellowing or damage on the painting, wrap it in a bubble wrap and take it to an expert for examination or restoration, as the case may be.