Art Terms & Materials

Artwork largely gets its value from how rare (i.e., difficult to obtain) it is. This is why art from deceased artists is typically so much higher than when they are alive; because with them no longer able to produce new art, the artwork that does exist by them is now more difficult to obtain. The art world, in this sense, follows the principal of ‘supply and demand’ – the more supply there is, the lower the value tends to be. Limited edition artwork means that there is commitment from the artist to only reproduce a finite amount (and almost always predetermined amount) of reproductions (also known as fine art prints, or giclées). This increases the potential value of not only each limited-edition reproduction, but also of the original art piece. Conversely, open-edition prints are unlimited – not only on how many times they are reproduced, but also in the variety of ways they may be reproduced (e.g., on merchandise, uploaded to digital artwork stores such as Etsy or Redbubble, etc.). While open-edition artwork may not necessarily hold the same potential value as limited-edition, it is a lot more versatile, flexible, and often is priced much more accessibly for the consumer.

There is a wide range of reasons for why artwork may be created using archival materials. For example, museums would want the art for posterity, and therefore they would need the piece to last across many years (even lifetimes!) and also many hours of exposure to light (almost exclusively indoor lighting, and not sunlight which bleaches colours). Individuals and collectors may also want the artwork they buy to last a long time, and look as good as the day they bought it. In order to achieve this however, artwork needs to be made with the archival process in mind. While not all art materials need to be archival per se, many materials do need to be archival quality in order to withstand the test of time and light. Watercolours, for example, can be very sensitive to light, and fade quickly. If, however they watercolour paints are lightfast (designed to endure light exposure), and if the watercolour painting is protected from UV rays (either behind glass or with an archival UV protecting varnish), then the colours are much less prone to fading anything if at all.

Watercolour paints are made up of pigments which are ground and bound together with a binding agent (traditionally, gum arabic). Not all pigments are created equal however. Some (such as raw sienna, burnt umber, etc.) are non-staining and transparent, which means they lift off of the paper easily. Others are more staining (like Payne’s gray, alizarin crimson etc.), which means that once applied to the paper, it is very hard to lift them off and return the paper back to white. There are also some which are opaque (such as cadmiums), which means that they go on thicker and need less layers to get saturated colour. Each pigment has its own set of properties, and part of this includes how susceptible it is to fading when exposed to light over time. Colours such as rose madder are known to have a low lightfastness rating; this means that when tested in controlled laboratory conditions, they faded when exposed to light across hundreds of hours. Pigments that are low in lightfastness (i.e. are less durable when exposed to light over time) are often referred to as fugitive – which means that they have less permanency. Whereas more permanent pigments are better at withstanding light and therefore have a higher lightfastness rating. Note: while there are some colours named “Permanent …” (e.g. Permanent Alizarin Crimson), this does not necessarily mean that it is high in lightfastness.

Finishing & Framing

When you commission a watercolour painting from an artist you may be given a few choices for how to “finish” (i.e., varnish or seal) the artwork. In some cases, the artist may simply provide you with the watercolour painting on paper without anything to seal it because they expect you to frame it behind glass. However, depending on the artist you might get a few more types of options: 1) waxing, 2) acrylic UV spray, 3) resin. Each artist will have their own approach to the “best” way to finish a painting; therefore, none of these can realistically be a prescriptive ideal finish, as it will really depend on the method and products of the artist. I like to offer wax as a sealing option, and I also offer acrylic UV spray if the client prefers to have it. (Please see the Wax vs. Acrylic UV Spray FAQ entry for more details).

Watercolour paper is normally made up of either cotton or pulp (some artists may choose to paint on synthetic paper or canvas mediums, but these do not apply to this FAQ entry). Both of these paper types are porous, and susceptible to damage from moisture and light. Watercolour paints (depending on their lightfastness) are also vulnerable to light, but are almost indefinitely vulnerable to reactivation when exposed to moisture or liquid. This is why adding a coating that “seals” the paper is a good idea if the watercolour painting will not be framed behind glass. Also, even if it is going to be framed behind glass, adding a protective coating can help further preserve the painting for a long time (decades to centuries). While there are many different ways to protect watercolour paper, two main ways are wax or acrylic UV spray. Using wax to seal (or varnish) a watercolour painting is good because it helps keep the surface water resistant, and helps reduce fading of paint colours. Wax is also more environmentally friendly than spray varnish because it does not have aerosols when being applied. Acrylic UV spray is good because it (depending on the brand) designed to be archival. It also provides water-resistance to the paper’s surface. Unfortunately, it is not the most environmentally friendly. Depending on the preference of the client, I will use one varnish option over the other.

While I do not offer framing per se, I do have two options for my clients! You can either choose to have your painting mounted to a wood gallery panel (I do this process – please see the ‘Mounting’ section below), or you can choose to have your painting professionally framed by an Ottawa-based artisanal framer who I work with closely: Gesso and Bole. I would make arrangements on your behalf to have the painting brough to him, and even picked if you needed this extra service (for example if you then needed it shipped somewhere). The cost for this will depend on your frame selection (you will need to work this out the framer), and with the type of service you need from me (i.e., pick-up, delivery, etc.). I work with this framer because he delivers a very high-quality product, that is hand-crafted and professionally made. This is the framer I use for my own works.

Shipping & Returns

FREE delivery within Ottawa!

Areas within the Greater Ottawa region are eligible for $15 delivery (this includes Arnprior, Carleton Place, Almonte, Kemptville, and Limoges).

If you need shipping outside of these regions within Canada or to the US or international, it will be done through UPS and includes insurance and tracking. Please let me know in advance if you will require shipping so we can: a) properly gauge the timelines to ensure your painting arrives on time, and b ) obtain the shipping estimate in advance of proceeding with the commission.

There are many courier services, such as UPS, to choose from, and there is a wide array of opinions on which one is best. What matters most though is that your order actually arrives, arrives within the expected timeframe, and arrives in good condition. These are my main concerns when sending anything. While there are surely people who have had good experiences with Canada Post (the domestic postal service in Canada), I unfortunately have not had that same experience and have had several items arrive to clients bent, damaged, very late (several weeks behind), and even simply never delivered to their final destination. This may be only a small to moderate risk, but it is not a risk I am willing to take with artwork which is fragile and not inconsequential. I have had good experiences with UPS, and can rely on my items arriving to clients in good condition and on time. This does make shipping costs a bit pricier, but definitely worth the cost.

Please note that there are no credits or refunds for the purchase of artwork or art supply kits. There are also no substitutions or alternatives being accommodated at this time. If you have any issue with your order, please use the form below to contact us and it will be reviewed.