I’ve been asked about the proper care for a painting using acrylic painting on a cotton, jersey knit bedsheet. It has been stretched for display. There has been some concern about a product typically sprayed on acrylic paintings (a product I’m not familiar with) as it could stiffen the work so much as to embrittle it. Any advice on the best care for such a work?
Is this by a living artist? If so, I would recommend asking about whether he/she wanted it stretched or whether it should hang loose. In any case, I don’t think a coating is appropriate. It probably wouldn’t be removeable,it would likely change the appearance of any of the cotton that isn’t painted already, and, besides, what would be the point of it! I know that it makes people feel better to coat things to protect them, but putting an unknown material on a work of art for an unspecified purpose makes no sense. Unfortunately, the best protection is a Plexiglas box.
Probable if u dont know the nature of varnish, I would suggest to make some spot tests on samples u create alone and place….3…4..5 different types of spray -varnish to see what happens on the surface, after they dry. Try to use same thickness, quantity and close quality to see how materials react. Varnishes used today on acrylics are mostly removable and also acrylic nature (so i dont know if the artpiece is contemporary etc). How u can see the embrittlement and stiffness? U have specific samples? Since acrylics arent so hard material as oils and cotton is also soft material. The varnish or coat that can harden probable such materials may be of oily ingedients,resins, as oil coating.
Thank you, Barbara and Anastasia, for your helpful responses. Would you have any suggestions based on the jersey-knit backing? The artist does want the work to be stretched, but there is some concern about the elastic in the jersey-knit not fairing well over time.
There is no obvious answer! If the jersey is a little-bit “see-through,” then you don’t want to make it look more opaque, which would imply some kind of net for a backing. On the other hand, if it’s heavy, no net that I can think of would do the job. I have treated old silk flags by attaching them to a polyester net, but this may be too heavy for that. There’s really no way to come up with a treatment without seeing it. Don’t know if a photo would provide enough info. If it’s a regular knit fabric then any kind of resinous coating would change its appearance. BTW, the stretchiness of knit isn’t due to elastic; it’s due to the stitch. (Feel free to send me a photo.)
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