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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Thanked 91 Times in 58 Posts

    Storing\Preserving Gouache paintings

    I've been Googling, but I haven't managed to really find something satisfactory on the subject. I'm at the point where I'd actually like to keep some of the paintings I make, at least for now, and I'm trying to find the best way to store them. Usually, they just get piled on top of each other with no care in the world. I know gouache can be very fragile, so right now, I have them placed in a drawer separated by a sheet of printer paper inbetween each one. They still have gum tape around the edges where they were stuck down and stretched to a board. Is this good enough to keep them in an okay condition?


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Thanked 7 Times in 6 Posts
    You should consider the fact that standard printer copy paper is not meant to be an archival quality art material, and therefore could contain some alcohol/acids that with time, might damage your paintings.
    With gouache, as with regular watercolors, the luminosity of the colors should hold up slightly better to light exposure than oil paints, due to the nature of their respective binders. So most artists would say frame them in glass and display them properly! However, you obviously can't do that with all of your practice art. I would say stacking them is just fine, as long as the pile doesn't get heavy enough as to force some of the dried pigment powder to come off the surface. Also, as I said before, you should use something other than copy paper to separate them from each other. I remember that back when I used to do Pastels, I used to separate the paintings from one another with something that in spanish is called "Papel de Cebolla" Wich translates to "Onion Paper". It is an extremely thin type of translucid paper (Which really does feel like onion pealings) that avoids surface friction. It's archival/acid free, and quite inexpensive. Visit any reputable art supply store like "Pearl", "Jerry's Artarama" or online retailers like "Dick Blick", and I'm sure they can get you this paper, or anything similar.
    Good Luck!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Thanked 91 Times in 58 Posts
    Thanks, Holydivered7. I guess I'll take the copier paper out then and just have them on top of each other for now. I have thought about swapping to something like acrylics or acrylic gouache for something more sturdy, but I find I just can't get the same level of detail with those, even using finer brushes. I don't know if it's just lack of experience or if they are just generally quite chunky compared to gouache.

    If my hands are having one of their better days and not trembling so much, I can get some very fine lines with a small brush using gouache, but with acrylics, I have to water the paint down a lot to the point where it loses its opacity.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Thanked 2,591 Times in 1,616 Posts
    Storing them flat is the right idea.

    You should cover them with something like neutral-PH vellum or "onionskin" paper. Use bits of low-tack gaffer's tape to fix the vellum sheet to each piece of artwork so it does not slide when you move the art about.

    Also, a lot of a painting's durability depends on the quality of support. The sturdier the support is, the less it will flex and so the gouache layer will be subjected to less mechanical stress. Board is better than paper in this regard.

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