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Old 10-02-14, 06:33 PM
arbrador arbrador is offline
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Default Storing Completed Egg Tempera Paintings

Hi All~

What is the best way to store ET paintings- framed or unframed? I'm assuming framing NOT under glass since the glass may solve some of the issues. But I don't like the look of glass.

Up until now I've been storing them wrapped in pillow cases or fabric for the larger ones. I always store them upright. A long time ago I stored a couple of paintings flat in their pillow cases. There was a leak in this studio and the gesso soaked and the paint lifted. Egg tempera is not water proof but it is water resistant so if I had stored them upright I believe they might have been OK. Except for the pillow case which may have caused the gesso to soften and lift even if the paintings were stored upright.

I am now considering a storage method called Art Pak (artpak.com) which is, I believe bubble wrap encased in some mylar type sheeting which is somewhat fire resistant. I'm thinking of first wrapping in a pillow case or cloth and then in the Art Pak. I'm thinking of asking Hamish, the ArtPak founder to include a foldover flap which would keep the paintings dry. I am concerned about the lack of air circulation.

How are you ET artists out there storing your ET paintings???
Thanks,
Lora Arbrado
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Old 12-02-14, 05:01 PM
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PhilS PhilS is offline
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Lori,
Here's an idea just off the top of my head.
2 boards (3/4-inch plywood?) 2 feet wide, screwed together to form a 90-degree angle.
2 strips of black foam pipe insulation (available at any hardware store - cheap!). Attach one strip on the outside of the bottom board and one to the top of the vertical board. If you cut corresponding slits in the two strips, maybe 1 inch apart, you could slide your paintings into the slits, parallel to each other.
I actually use this method to hold my paintbrushes. Hint: a thin strip of wood slid through the hollow foam tubes and screwed down at the ends holds them to the plywood.
Just an idea. It would ensure that air circulates around the paintings and nothing touches the surfaces (except the 1/2 inch slits in the foam.)
Phil
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Old 13-02-14, 03:30 AM
arbrador arbrador is offline
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Default storing Egg Tempera

Hi Phil,

Thanks so much for your comments! So your idea of the ideal storage is nothing touching the painting! Very interesting. That solves the problem of what substance is safe to have touch the surface. I'll just need to construct what you suggested. Right now I'm storing them in a cabinet so I'll need to reconfigure the cabinet or find another spot to create the storage rack you describe.

I'll be curious to hear how others are storing their ETs.

Thanks!

Lora Arbrador
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  #4  
Old 17-02-14, 06:13 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hello Lora,

I don't know the best way to store temperas, but here are some considerations….

- For nearly any type of painting, humidity/water is perhaps the biggest concerns. Both gesso and wood are hygroscopic, i.e. they attract and hold water. So even a well made, properly polymerized (cured) egg tempera painting, while water resistant, is vulnerable to water damage because its support (a wood panel) and ground (gesso) attract water. The support will move (swell and/or shrink), the ground can become moist, both of which can cause paint to delaminate.

So an important consideration in storage is to avoid humidity, and/or big changes in humidity levels. Shoot for a stable environment; if there is humidity, allow for air circulation so moisture doesn't get trapped within paintings. I believe it is generally best not to wrap paintings because condensation can occur (which could also lead to mold) - let air circulate, and the paintings breathe. This is one reason framing temperas under glass is problematic; it does protect the surface from scratches, but condensation and mold become concerns.

- Temperature fluctuations are also detrimental to paintings, particularly ones on wood supports. Again, shoot for a stable environment, to the degree that is possible.

- Be careful of what lies against the surface of a tempera painting. I've seen temperas that have sat in bubble wrap and, when unwrapped, the paint has taken on the texture of the bubble wrap. Mylar might work well enough - but be careful of plastic materials that might be temperature sensitive (i.e. they get warm and stick to the surface). When I must wrap my paintings (which I don't generally do, or recommend on a long term basis) I use acid free kraft paper. You could also use get acid free cardboard.

I've visited various museum storage rooms. Paintings (including temperas) are stored on large racks, made of wood or metal (I presume stainless steel or aluminum or something non corrosive...). Very little touches the paintings (except where a painting’s back leans against a rack). In some instance the racks are surrounded by glass walls (i.e. a glass room within the larger storage room) which minimizes dust. The rooms are obviously humidity and temperature controlled. I know, we don't live in museums…..

For my own work, I keep the work framed (the frame acts as a cradle, helping to minimize movement), upright, unwrapped, in as stable an environment as I can find (given I live in New England). I have a small inventory so it doesn’t take up a lot of space. I throw a light sheet over to protect the work from dust.

A good question - hopefully others will chime in with more ideas.

Hope you are well, my friend!

Koo
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Old 17-02-14, 06:19 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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One more thing……as mentioned, a frame can acts as a perimeter brace of sorts - but make sure its a well made and stable frame. Wood frames attract and release moisture too, can change shape and also cause a painting to move. Sigh…… In short, moisture is the enemy of paintings - but is difficult to fully avoid!

I like your storage idea, Phil. Simpler and more reasonable than trying to emulate a museum system.

Koo
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Old 10-03-14, 05:43 AM
arbrador arbrador is offline
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Default Storing Egg Tempera Paintings

Hi Koo,

Thanks for the detailed explanation! All's I remember is the flood that happened in Florence in the sixties and people were desperately trying to get the temperas out of the water before they melted or delaminated as you said.

Anyway, I'm getting the message loud and clear from you and Phil that the paintings are to be stored unclothed preferably not touching anything or at worst the back of one painting touching the frame of another painting. For short term storage or transport acid-free kraft paper or acid-free mat board.

When you say you "keep the work framed (the frame acts as a cradle, helping to minimize movement), upright, unwrapped" are you saying that the frame is wide enough that the paintings can stand up on their own? This is true of some of my paintings.

Besides a dust cloth thrown over them I am concerned about sudden leaks in the building so would figure out a way to put a plastic sheet over them without it touching the paintings.

Thank you so much Koo and Phil!

Lora
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Old 17-09-14, 03:53 PM
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JeffG JeffG is offline
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Sorry about the delayed reply.... i forgot all about this place!

Anyway, my biggest trouble in storing work for its first year, aside from avoiding damage from abrasion, is having silverfish nibbling on it. I don't have very many paintings to store, but I always keep them vertical, on open-air shelving in my house that's in a bright place, uncovered as I hope that deters silverfish or mice, and its easier to keep an eye on them. Ive lately been putting permanent strainers (cradles) on my panels, and I've taken to tapping in a few nails or pushpins into the side, to support the panel when it's stored vertically and deterring any little critters from climbing up on it. So far so good.
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Old 24-09-14, 04:47 PM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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my biggest problem is silverfish as well
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Old 09-09-15, 07:47 PM
marknatm marknatm is offline
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I know that the Tretyakov Gallery stores their pieces mounted vertically on large sliding racks that are in temperature and humidity controlled vault-type rooms.

I have found that a plastic art bin is useful to keep unfinished works in. This allows me the peace of mind to store them for a few months before finishing the work. When I lived in South Carolina the palmetto bugs were supposedly attracted to the protein from the egg so it keeps any types of critters at bay.

Mark

Last edited by marknatm; 09-09-15 at 07:48 PM. Reason: spelling
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