But is it Archival?


Well-known member
Ran across this, and it reflects my feelings exactly - how 'bout you?

Not to put too fine a cynical point on it but most of us produce work that will not be marveled over by successive generations. Our paintings and our varnishing techniques will not baffle museum curators. So, try to keep your feet on the ground when it comes to preserving your paintings for the 400 years to come. The lighting in most thrift stores isn’t that great anyway
My personal opinion is that paintings should be able to outlive your grandchildren.
I have some of my grandmothers painting that she had at her place and I wanted. I figure that would be a common occurrence in families. wouldn't want a grandchild taking a picture they fell in love with from grandpas place only to have it fad out on them or something.
That said. I still don't even have any children of my own and most of my paintings are kept in a box so.....
I use the very best materials, but I really don't think art is supposed to last 1,000 years. That's just silly. For the sake of what? Even if I had children, they should know better and take care of it if it really meant that much to them, and same for people who buy art. They should preserve the best they can and know what they're buying. Picasso made guitars out of cardboard. And really, all the stuff I use will be toxic to the air when someone, someday, sets it all on fire.

I collect old manuscripts and we take care of them. That's our job as collectors of these things. I don't see how that responsibility doesn't fall on art collectors as well. If you know you're buying sensitive work, then be carful with it. Don't frame it without UV or place it in the sun. Ask the dealer what kind of paint the artist used, etc.

Art is generally cheaper than a new car (at least the art I buy), and it lasts 100s of years longer. Is it supposed to last longer than 500-600 years? Isn't 300-400 enough? Though, I bet mine would last longer than a few hundred if take care of.

But, really, who really cares? I honestly think it would be a giant burden to leave my work to an heir. That is cruel and unusual punishment!
I also think it's about quality, not about my personal delusions of grandeur🤣
In my case it's most relevant for the watercolor medium (charcoal, graphite, silverpoint and the likes are inherently very archival). I don't want to work with fugitive pigments, especially in the application of WC, transparent washes and the like some can, when exposed to light significantly fade in just a couple of months.
That's not good enough, so I try to do my research and use archival lightfast materials.
I use Golden acrylics and Lukas 1872 oil paints on hardboard panels (masonite). These should last a very long time. But I have many hundreds of paintings and they're kept under non-archival, borderline despicable conditions. Even so - no damage to date.
But passing this many paintings onto an heir though would be abuse.

A good solution imo is to take quality hi-resolution digital photographs and store with multiple mediums (ssd,dvd,stick, etc.) in multiple locations - studio, safety deposit box, safe, friends, cloud,-- whatever. Then every five years or so copy to fresh medium and/or latest technology. I'm doing a watered-down version of that so the images should survive if the actual paintings do not. It's also a lot less of a burden on someone to toss a memory stick in a sock drawer than maintaining a temperature-humidity controlled, fireproof chamber.
I hope to sell most, then when I am as close to death as possible, I'll have to figure out a way to destroy what is left.
no kids for us either, just my two nephews who love art and are quite good sketchers and his two nephews. Only one of his likes and collects my art. Mine already have lots of my work. I do try to use the best archival products.
This is an interesting discussion. I've read several threads *elsewhere* about the archival properties/light fastness of different brands of oil pastels. Some posters went to great lengths to conduct tests at home, and were kind enough to share their results.

Not surprisingly, the less expensive, student quality op's performed poorly against the highest quality, or so-called artists quality.

But often times it comes down to what people can afford, or what their intentions are with their creations. It was a conversation killer to show how certain well loved brands didn't measure up to the top of the line. Not everyone could afford to make the jump to expensive sets, but sure made beautiful art with what they had.

I agree with the above suggestion to take photos of anything you personally would like to see last for future generations.

But at the end of the day, it's up to whoever is around at the time. Right now, my stuff just kinda piles up. 😄
I agree that artists should use whatever they can to make art (do we have a choice?), but if you are selling your work for a big dollar amount, it's probably nicer to use the best materials--nicer to the buyer, that is. But the buyer should still take good care of what they purchase.
Absolutely. Actual sales changes your outlook. I doubt I'll ever sell anything I've done in oil pastels, 😉 but I have sold photography at art fairs. It's certainly worthwhile to let folks know about your processes (darkroom work itself is generally very archival), and good acid-free matting and all that only helps.

I did want to cry inside when someone once purchased a framed photo and let me know, while I was wrapping it up, they were intending to remove it from the frame. They were literally paying for the good care I'd used in framing and it didn't seem to matter. A puzzlement.
That's the thing with framing (most of the time)...you can't know how the collector wants it framed. I always frame as simple and generic as possible for that reason, still doing it acid-free and all that, but I try to keep it very simple. I usually use a simple blonde maple frame.
Slender black frame with white-cream matte here. :)

Looks good with B&W prints, no interference with the subject. Pretty basic, really. I also kept prints just matted and bagged, stacked in bins,, so people could get their own frames. There must not have been any unframed ones left- I can't even remember what print it was now.

I was advised going in to have a few framed pieces around, but I never liked having to charge more.