A Safe Space

Q. I’m a new artist working with oil on canvas, and I’m wondering how I can store my finished products until I’m ready to hit the galleries. I had my paintings covered in plastic trash bags, but a friend of mine said that they collect humidity. I have very limited space in the dusty cottage I rent. Do you have any storage suggestions?

A. Your friend is correct: Storing paintings wrapped in plastic will indeed encourage condensation and cause possible damage. If you have a closet you can use for storage, neatly storing the paintings in there is the best idea. The second best option is to build a rack in your studio that will hold your paintings. You could cover the rack with a tarp or loosely draped plastic to keep dust off the work. Ideally, the rack should have a separate slot for each painting.

If that’s not possible, try this: Set aside a space for storage in a corner of your studio. Put some 2×4 wooden runners on the floor in this designated area to elevate the pictures and keep them from collecting dirt and dust. Then wrap each picture in plain brown kraft paper—you don’t need to completely enclose the picture, but at least cover the front. Turn the paintings on end and stack them (framed or not) on the runners, with a large piece of corrugated cardboard between each one. This arrangement will keep the paintings relatively dust-free, and the cardboard separating them will prevent physical damage.

Leah Tribolo is a part-time artist and a full-time writer. Currently she lives in Paris. She can be reached at leah_tribolo@yahoo.com.

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