Tag Archives: “packing art”

What to Do With Art: Hanging, Arranging, and General Care

I’ve compiled a summary of information for those that own art or are thinking of buying a piece but have a few questions regarding the care of artwork.

Tips for Hanging and Arranging Art

Before putting holes in the wall, get someone to hold pieces up so you can take a step back and see how they look.  Otherwise, you can trace the outline of each piece onto Kraft paper and cut it out.  Then tape the outlines to the wall using blue painter’s tape.  This will allow you to move the outlines around until you are happy with the arrangement.

When hanging a single piece on a wall, the center of the image should be about 56”- 60” from the floor.  The larger the piece of art, the closer to 56 inches it should be.

When hanging a pair of works, one above the other, treat them as one large picture regardless of their individual sizes.  Find the center point between them and use the 56”-60” rule.

For spacing between art on the same wall, use two inches between larger pictures.  If they’re all smaller works, use an inch and a half between them.  The same rule applies to the spacing above, below, and on either side of each frame.

When hanging art pieces above furniture, the grouping should ideally be about 2/3 the width of the furniture below it.  (For example, if an art grouping is being hung over a 60” sofa, the ideal grouping would be about 40” in length.)

When hanging artwork over a sofa or other furniture, leave 4”-8” of space between the top of the sofa/furniture and the bottom of the art.

Installation view of paintings and prints by Amy Guidry; (c) Amy Guidry 2018

Arranging multiple works can be done as a grid or the current method of clustering varieties of styles and frames together.  These arrangements can be small or take up the entire expanse of a wall.  They can even be arranged from floor to ceiling.  Start in the middle and work your way out.

Unique Ways to Display Art

Hang art above a shelf of personal objects and collectibles with similar colors to the artwork

Divide a group of frames on mounted picture ledges.  Lean and overlap frames; stagger the height of the frames for visual interest.

Highlight a particular work of art by hanging it against a contrasting wall color

Use the “rule of threes”: odd numbers of objects are usually more visually interesting.  This works with both symmetrical and asymmetrical arrangements.

Installation view of “Evolution” by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 4″ x 4″; (c) Amy Guidry 2018

Consider the shape and size of your wall surface.  A long narrow wall would be a great way to spotlight a tall work of art or multiple small pieces.  Even the smallest wall space can be utilized as long as the art is the right size and scale for the area.

Try creating a gallery wall in your stairwell for visual impact

Display a collection of works in the corner of two walls

Hang works centered along a single line just above eye level and let it wraparound to the next wall

A variety of styles and frames can be unified when sharing one wall of color together

Try displaying art on a slanted ceiling

Hang art along the staircase itself

Display art on the back of a door (just be sure the art will not hit the wall when the door is open)

Hang art directly on bookshelves

Try displaying small works of art above door or window frames

How to Create a Gallery Wall in a Small Space

Even if you live in a small space, there’s no need to limit your art collection.  A gallery wall is a great way to display your collection and can make a bigger statement than just a single piece.  They can provide a small space such as a stairway or a bathroom wall with a strong visual impact and really pull the viewer in.  Gallery walls have a personal feel because they consist of works you’ve collected over time, possibly during your travels, and they may take a little time to fill.  For this reason, you could opt to do a gallery wall in a more private space of your home.  Otherwise, you can simply arrange a small collection together and rearrange as pieces are added over time.

 Should  Art and Color Scheme Match?

Art can match your color scheme, but it certainly doesn’t have to.  In fact, art with a contrasting color scheme can add a visual point of interest to your décor.  It can add a pop of color to a neutral color scheme.  A colorful work of art can liven up an otherwise boring room.

It would be best to collect what you love first (especially since original art means there’s only one available) and figure out the wall arrangement later.  You can always rearrange your collection as pieces are added.  And if you really feel the need to match your color scheme, you can always add accent color items such as pillows or lampshades that match a color or two in your art.

Lighting Art

Track lighting and recessed cans are the preferred types of fixtures for lighting artwork because of their flexibility for aiming at artwork. Recessed lighting with adjustable heads have a clean look, however they are not as flexible as track lighting.

MR-16 low voltage bulbs are popular for lighting art because of their compact size. They emit a small amount of UV rays which are filtered by the glass lens that comes with most MR-16 fixtures.

PAR 30 bulbs are larger than MR-16s and have a standard screw-in base. They are commonly used in recessed cans and track lighting.

Incandescent flood lights are not suitable for art lighting.

UV light rays are present in sunlight and small amounts in fluorescent and halogen lighting. They cause fading and should be avoided as much as possible.

Installation view of “Anonymous,” “On the Rise,” and “Ascension” by Amy Guidry at LeMieux Galleries, New Orleans, LA; (c) Amy Guidry 2018

Light placement should be set so that the light strikes the wall at 30 to 45 degrees, measured to a point at eye level on the wall, approximately 60” from the floor.  So for an 8-foot ceiling place your track or recessed cans 20” to 36” away from the wall and for a 10-foot ceiling, 42” to 60” away.

Tips for Hanging Art in Sunlight

Truth be told, the best way to hang art would be in a cool, dark area void of any windows or fluorescent lights.  However, this is completely unrealistic and while some works like watercolor cannot be exposed to sunlight, there are some that can withstand some sunlight.

Oil and acrylic paint can typically withstand sunlight, with very little fading.  There should be no bare (unpainted) areas of canvas showing, though, since sunlight can damage canvas.

Works on paper such as watercolor and photography should never be hung in direct sunlight.  Even indirect sunlight can cause fading.  UV plexi glass frames can minimize damage but will not prevent it entirely.  It would be best to hang these pieces in an area such as an alcove without windows.  Indirect sunlight would need to be limited to no more than several hours a day.

How to Move Art Safely

You should always pack fine art yourself.  If you’re using a moving company, they must have experience with fine art, and provide references if at all possible.  To be safe, though, it would be best to do it yourself.

First wrap the art with glassine paper, taping the paper to itself (not on the art). A clean cloth (free of any stains or dyes that could transfer) can also be used, especially for sculpture.  Cover with a few layers of bubble wrap and hold in place with packing tape.  Before boxing, cover the bottom of your box with tissue paper or Kraft paper, place art inside and continue to surround the art with more paper along the sides and top of the box.  Be sure to mark the outside of the box as fragile and with “up” arrows as needed.  Purchase crate or mirror boxes, or see if your local art supply or home décor store has any extra boxes they would be willing to give for free.

Art is sensitive to heat and humidity, so unless you are using temperature-controlled storage during the move, it needs to be relocated as soon as possible.  Letting it sit in the box to acclimate to the climate for a day or two is fine, but it should be removed from the box soon to prevent any warping.

If you have a large collection, you may want to consider hiring a professional art handler.  Find someone with many years of experience moving art.  If you are moving far, use a company with climate-controlled trucks to avoid any damage from heat or humidity.


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Art in Transit

Bad example of packaging on so many levels
Bad example of packaging on so many levels

Occasionally I get asked if I ship my work, which is a common question among artists and non-artists alike. The thought of packaging an original work of art and handing it over to a carrier is scary. I will admit that it makes me anxious. However, after reviewing the methods of other shipping companies, as well as researching the internet, I have been successfully packaging my own work for transit for a few years now. I have to say that this was not only a financial decision, but also based on a bad experience in which one of my paintings was damaged by a shipping company. So here are the steps I follow when shipping my paintings:

– Wrap the front and sides of the canvas with glassine paper. This can be found online at just about any art supply shop. Be sure to tape the paper to the back, not the front of the canvas.

– Then wrap the painting front and sides with a sheet of mylar. I like Grafix Dura-Lar which you can find on Utrecht.com. This helps protect against moisture due to climate/temperature change.

– Bubble wrap the painting with large bubble wrap, covering the back as well. I like to then wrap it again with another sheet of bubble wrap. Try to limit the tape to just along the sides to help prevent someone from cutting into the painting when removing tape.

– Prep your box for transit. I like the ones offered by U-Line (uline.com) since they have boxes specifically for artwork. I suggest getting one that leaves a minimum 3 inches of space around your painting.

– Tape one end of the box together with clear packing tape, covering it horizontally and vertically as well as along the seams of the box and corners.

– While the box is empty, I like to mark it with a permanent marker, writing “Fragile” on all sides of the box and I put an “up” arrow along where the top is. Also, it helps the gallery if you write your name (I just use my last name since it’s unique enough) on the box as well. Just be sure that it is away from the “Fragile” signs to help with visibility.

– Before stuffing the box, I use a few extra sheets of cardboard to protect the “body” of the box and the painting. I like to have 2 sheets on either side of the painting, but if it’s really thick you can use one on each side. The cardboard should be cut to cover the painting but be just smaller than the inside of the box to ensure a good fit.

– When shipping a larger painting, I like to use a couple of sheets of thin wood such as luan, which I get at Home Depot. I will also add a couple of sheets of cardboard as well, if space allows.

– Line the bottom of your box with crumpled brown kraft paper or tissue paper. I advise against colored tissue paper or newspaper in case of bleeding. Magazine pages are okay, but don’t look as “professional” so maybe consider where this is going first. Pack the bottom well, especially the corners of the box.

– Place the wrapped painting in the box, between the sheets of cardboard so there are even amounts on each side. If using luan, place the painting between the luan, leaving extra cardboard evenly on each side.

– Line the sides of the box with more kraft paper or tissue paper. If the box is large, you may need a dowel or broomstick to help push the paper down the sides to ensure they are properly stuffed.

– Finish with kraft paper or tissue across the top of the painting. If including a gallery contract or other paperwork, I put that information in a 9×12 envelope and place it across the top of the painting before adding kraft paper. Then seal with clear packing tape, again going horizontally and vertically.

In cases where the work will be shipped back to me, I like to include a typed packing instruction sheet for the gallerist. Make sure your name, contact info, and the name of your painting is on the sheet as well. This way you can ensure that your painting is packaged in the same manner as it was received.

Also, I won’t promote any one carrier, but I will say that I prefer 2-day Air shipping. It can be expensive depending on the size of the piece, but it goes through the least number of hands. (Other than overnight, which is $$.)