Thursday, August 30, 2007

Don't Try This at Home!

Every now and then I'll be looking at my inventory of paintings and come across one that I don't really like any more. If this happens when I also happen to be out of blank boards, the painting will be "recycled."

When I teach my encaustic workshops, I usually talk a little about storage and shipping of encaustic paintings. One of the things I always say is, "Don't leave your paintings in the car." But secretly I've always wondered what would happen if someone did leave a painting in their car. So, for the sake of science, I did a little experiment with one of those soon-to-be-recycled paintings.

We actually had a fairly mild summer (by Texas standards) until the end of July, when it was in the upper 90's. So I took the opportunity to wrap the painting in bubble wrap and I put it in the back of my car. I left it in there for a couple of weeks and took it out to peek at it. It actually wasn't too bad. But then it got really hot and we had about a week of 105 degree temps, so I stuck it back in the car for a couple more weeks.

It cooled down a bit (back to the upper 90's), so I took it out the other day. As you can see in the photo above, it didn't look too promising. The archival paper that I use to protect the painting from the plastic on the bubble wrap had kind of soaked into the painting. This most likely happened because the wax was so warm that it seeped into the paper. I've never been able to find any Tyvek paper, but that (or glassine) might solve that problem... Also, not letting anything touch the surface of the painting is always a good idea, but it seems like that would involve some sort of crate where the painting is screwed in from the back...

I was surprised when I removed the paper - it's not so bad, really. You can see where the paper stuck to the wax, but I think it could be fixed with a little light fusing. I expected to see a big glob of wax...

But I think if the painting were in that melty stage (that allowed the paper to stick) and was somehow bumped or poked with something, the damage would be much worse.

So while I would never leave a painting in the car on purpose, this makes me feel better about shipping and transporting encaustic paintings, as long as they're packed well.

Other tips:
- ship overnight or second day
- never ship on a Thursday or Friday because the artwork might end up sitting in a warehouse over the weekend

More on packing and shipping here.

Now playing: Spoon - My Mathematical Mind
via FoxyTunes


CMC said...

well.......I remember that you told me you's shipped paintings from Dallas to Atlanta (ground) with no problem. SO I tried it Longview to Seattle...4 days ground with no problem. Of course, it was only one small painting. SO today I took another chance and shipped over a week-end (holiday no less) again to Seattle ground. We'll see what happens. I'll report.

I packed very tightly within the encaustic box I prepared...and with other paintings all around protecting the one encaustic.

Deanna said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you! It should be OK...

Anonymous said...

Could you please tell me what a encaustic painting is?

Many thanks
Diane in Michigan