The Art of R. Geoffrey Blackburn


Handling: remember, paintings and prints are fragile and susceptible to damage and dirt. Therefore, keep the following in mind when handling art work:

  • Do not crease or dent the painting or print (this is particularly critical if the painting or print is on a paper substrate). This can crack the ink/paint and cause the color to flake off the damaged area.
  • Make sure your hands are absolutely clean and dry before you handle the painting or print as the oil from your skin can discolor the work. Again, this is particularly critical if the piece is on a paper substrate.
  • Make sure that any surface on which you might lay the art work is absolutely spotless and dry.
  • The best policy is to handle the painting or print as little as possible or not at all until it is framed.

Framing paper substrate paintings or prints are a totally different matter than framing oil paintings or Giclées  on canvas. Paper substrate pieces are extremely vulnerable to environmental pollutants and tend to discolor quickly and permanently if not properly framed. Giclées on canvas, (if coated) and oil paintings are less susceptible to pollutants but all are very sensitive to humidity and direct sunlight. Therefore:

  • Avoid storing or hanging your painting or print in a high humidity area. Do not expose it to direct sunlight for prolonged periods as this will fade the inks/paints.
  • Paper substrate paintings or prints should be covered by glass or acrylic Plexiglas as soon as possible. Non glare glass may be used depending on lighting conditions, however non-glare glass can somewhat diminish the color saturation of the piece depending on which type of non-glare glass is used.
  • Frame your painting or print as soon as possible after acquisition to avoid unnecessary handling and exposure to pollutants. While it is acceptable practice to ship certain art works rolled, paper substrate paintings or prints should not be stored rolled for more than a week or so as this will tend to permanently curl the paper and damage the ink/paint. Giclées on canvas can be stored rolled as they will ultimately be stretched onto a frame or mounted on museum board. If you must store an unframed paper substrate painting or print for a prolonged period of time, have a framing specialist shrink wrap the piece to an archival foam core or gator board and then store it in a dry place out of direct sunlight until you can have it framed.
  • Paper substrate paintings or prints are often matted, that is a colored/textured border is cut and fitted over the piece and is used in addition to the frame. Insist upon using an acid free, ph balanced matting material to avoid damage to your art work. This is sometimes referred to as "museum mounting." This is not a brand name but rather a type of specially formulated matting material. It is more expensive to do it this way, but then your painting or print represents a considerable investment so it should be protected. Don't be afraid to ask your framer for museum mounting in the unlikely event he/she does not suggest it first. If you decide on a double mat (one inside the other), the important thing to remember is that the mat that actually comes in direct contact with the painting or print is the one that should be acid free.
  • Traditionally, paper substrate pieces are often framed in a metal frame under Plexiglas although there is no "artistic rule" that dictates this. The acrylic Plexiglas is lighter and harder to break than regular glass, but is also difficult to clean and very easy to scratch. Plexiglas is also outrageously expensive. Feel free to go either way but keep in mind the differences in materials if weight and ease of cleaning are considerations.
  •  Normally, you do not cover oil paintings or Giclées on canvas with glass or Plexiglas. Select a *frame and liner that not only compliments the color of the piece but also adds a sense of importance to it.  Also, factor your decor into your decision. I have one collector who put a cool looking liner on his oil painting and used a painted wall as the frame! It's is all a matter of opinion, so other than the conservation issues mentioned above, there are no hard rules on this. Use your imagination. But remember, whatever you choose, it is the art work that should be dominant not the frame.
  • If you decide to add a frame consider the following: If wall space is a consideration, obviously, the outermost dimensions of the frame will ultimately determine the final dimensions of the art work. If you have other art on the same wall or in close proximity to your new acquisition, you may wish to coordinate your framing with these other pieces. For example, if you have a couple of pieces of art with a 6" wide mahogany frame and a black liner, you may consider something along those lines or something that is harmonious with these other frames and art work. In any event, whether or not you intend to use a frame, as previously mentioned, the most important factor in its selection is how well it looks with the art. (I know, Dah!) If you have a fairly large wall to work with, then the framing issue (dimension-wise) diminishes in importance. If you are unsure about this, please consult with a reputable framing company. 
  • "Gallery Wrapped" —some paintings and prints are "wrapped," that is, the canvas is stretched around the mounting frame so the wrapped edge is actually meant to be seen. In this case, framing is optional but not necessary.


R. Geoffrey Blackburn


Site Map
Revised: 11/04/23