Howlett Looking After your Painting... UK Artist David Howlett
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Providing you have made a few careful considerations a painting should give years of pleasure. A painting can make a room feel more homely and cosy and it can also say a lot about you. To help you choose the painting there is a huge range in my gallery, including stretched canvas board paintings or PictureDecor as I've called them. The gallery should cater for most tastes but if you can’t find what you want there is always the option of commissioning exactly what you want!

With the right painting chosen, the right frame and mount needs to be considered. The same careful consideration given with the choice of painting needs to be shown to the mount and frame. It will make such a difference to a picture; it really can ‘make or break’. Having said that - my picture decor will not require a mount or a frame!

When you receive your painting do not get it wet - particularly the watercolours! You will then need to get the watercolours behind a mount and into a glazed frame. You may have your painting framed professionally or you may decide to frame it yourself. There are many types of frame on the market or there is the option of making your own, whichever you decide use the best you can afford. Apart from ordinary glass, Perspex sheeting can be used but whilst it may be lighter, cheaper and less fragile than glass it is easily scratched and attracts the dust. If the painting is to hang in a sunny room UV filter glass would be best to use as it will filter the UV rays in sunlight.

 The painting should first be placed behind a card ‘window’ mount. This will separate the glass from the surface of the painting thus enabling an air gap that helps deter mould. Also, with all the colours and styles available it can really set the painting off. Ensure the mount is acid-free; the cheaper types will probably be acidic and may eventually discolour and can develop mould or brown spots known as ‘foxing’. The mounts' window should be slightly smaller than the size of the painting. When fitting the painting and mount into the frame, ensure the hardboard back-board reaches right up to the inside edge of the frame. Seal the edges with masking tape to help keep out dust and insects.

Your traditional, framed painting should be hung securely using nylon cord if possible. Make sure you screw eye-hooks into the frame and not the backboard. If using D-hooks attached to the backboard, ensure they have no contact with the painting. Whichever type of fixings are used must be of adequate strength and securely attached. The stretched canvas pictures can be simply placed over two secure and level masonry nails if your walls are solid. Use plasterboard fixings and screws for cladded walls.

 The final consideration is where to hang your painting. Do not hang your painting in direct sunlight or damp areas; the enemy of any painting, particularly watercolours. Damp conditions can cause staining, fading and mould and direct sunlight can cause bleaching and ’yellowing'. The paintings on this site are created on acid free paper or canvas which helps avoid discolouration. If possible avoid hanging your painting above a fire or candles as dirt and smoke could mark the picture.

Apart from the occasional dusting and cleaning, there is no other maintenance! Never clean gilded frames with a damp cloth or sponge as this will eventually remove the gold leaf. Inspect your pictures regularly as any signs of damage or staining should be dealt with as soon as possible to avoid further deterioration.

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David Howlett
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