Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction and Paint Along Videos!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

How to Display Unframed Pastel Paintings

'Make a Little Magic'         5x7         pastel
 It's a Daily Painter Dilemma.  How will I  decide what paintings to share at my Open Studio?  I paint just about everyday so that adds up to a lot of paintings. Sure some are just small studies and some have  been sold and some just aren't up to par.... but that still leaves quite a few paintings in need of a good home.

I have read some tips for successful Open Studio.  It is suggested that your studio should be like a gallery with only a small number of framed paintings on display.  Oh how I wish it was that easy.  My studio is a working studio and classroom. It would be hard to make it look anything close to a gallery. And Framing!  I rarely frame my paintings since I sell them unframed through my online galleries.

I need  a good compromise! I think I found one.  A way to display unframed pastels while keeping them protected...and no frames are needed!

Crystal Clear Bags to the rescue!

A painting with it's foamcore and clearbag package
I've actually used this method of displaying pastels for years. And I can vouch that paintings left in the bags for years are no worse for wear. Here is what I do:
  • Order a selection of Crystal Clear bags to fit your painting sizes. I usually allow for a bag slightly larger than my painting size so it fit's snugly.  What are Crystal Clear bags? They are high quality clear bags with an adhesive flap seal. They are acid free and archival safe. They come in an huge array of sizes. I order mine from clear
  • Cut a piece of foam core the size of the painting. Slip this piece of foamcore into the bag.
  • Slip the painting into the bag. The foam core backing will provide support. Since it fits snugly in the bag there is no need to tape the painting to the board. Also the snug fir means the painitng won't move around and get smudged.
  • I take an extra step and include a preprinted slip of paper with my contact information and care instructions. I suggest that the bag be cut off and pulled away from the painting. You can take the painting out without cutting the bag if you are careful.
Yes you do get some residual pastel dust on the inside of the bag but it isn't enough to make a difference. The key is to make sure the painting and foamcore fit snugly inside the bag. You do not want the painting to be able to slide around.

To give you an idea I order bag B75 for my 5x7 paintings. They measure 5 7/16 x 7 1/4

A basket full of recent 5x7 pastel paintings
I have selected some of my favorite paintings and packaged them in clear bags. I put them into baskets so my visitors can easily look through them and actually touch them without smudging them.

I hope my local friends will be able to visit during my Open Studio this year. Check out our blog for more information about the other artists on the tour. It's going to be fantastic!  Art Mob Open Studio Tour November 15,16, 17.


David King said...

Thanks for the tip Karen. Care to share the size of bags you use for the standard painting sizes? The number of different sizes they carry is quite bewildering and I'm not sure how much oversize is needed for a foam board mounted painting.

Divajoolz said...

Hi. Great tip for displaying unframed paintings......however I am confused on what size bag you buy - you say "allow for a bag slightly larger than the painting size so it fit's snugly". If you have a 8 x 10 painting what size bag do you buy? Thanks for your help

Divajoolz said...

Hi. Great tip for displaying/protecting unframed paintings. Can you please clarify - you say "allow for a bag slightly larger than my painting size so it fit's snugly". If I have a 8 x 10 painting - what size bag do I get?

Karen said...

Hi, I use B75 for 5x7 paintings. They are 5 7/16 x 7 1/4

robertsloan2art said...

This is a great idea.

What I used to do years ago was backing board, window mat and shrink wrap. I didn't have the shrink wrap machine I used to use at the print shop so I just taped the shrink wrap tight across the back before shrinking it with a hair dryer.

Same notion - it'd be lovely, well displayed, secure for storage and ready to sell. I like the clear bags but the advantage of the shrink wrap was being able to use it for odd sizes.

Vanessa said...

What a great suggestion Karen! I'll definitely give these a try. I've been hesitant to display unframed work but this would be a huge help and cost savings.

Karen said...

Thanks everyone! And thanks for your suggestions!