Ivan Dalen Paintings  | Q and A  

About Watercolors . . .

pastel-colored red and purple bars and yellow-pink block, watercolor painting

Q:  May I purchase a watercolor painting already framed?
  I do not offer framed paintings. I find that different collectors often favor various framing styles.

Q:  What is the best way to frame a watercolor painting?
     A:  My preferred framing style is in a shadow box with the watercolor “floating” on a background mat in the frame. I suggest a minimum 1¼" deep frame. I like a white, acid-free and archival mat that measures 3" larger than the painting on each side except for the bottom, which should be 3¼" larger. A “spacer” should be placed between the glass and the mat to keep the painting ¼" back and not touching the glass directly. The back of the frame should be deep enough so that the hooks for the hanging wire can be attached inside the frame between the back of the mat and the back of the frame. This prevents the hooks from sticking out of the frame toward the wall and lets the painting lie flat against the wall, to “hug” the wall without an unsightly gap between the frame and the wall caused by protruding hooks.

vertical green, yellow, black and purple worm-like undulations, watercolor painting

Q: What about framing with or without a mat? 
     A: I always prefer a background mat, preferably white, to which the painting is attached. The mat should be acid-free and archival.

Q: What glass should be used for the framing?
     A: I suggest museum glass, which is glare free and has UV protection and is the best protection against fading.

Q:  Are watercolors painted on acid-free paper? Why is this important?
     A:  Acid-free paper will not discolor. I use paper made from 100% acid-free cotton rag.  

Q: What is cold-press 300-pound paper and why do you use it?
Cold-press means that the surface is pressed between cool rollers leaving some texture to hold the wet paint attractively. I use 300-pound paper because it is strong enough to resist buckling from water washes.

Q:  Do watercolors fade?
     A:  Watercolors are susceptible to fading. Some colors are more affected by light than others. Properly framed with museum glass, your painting will last for many, many years.

orange, blue, red, green stonehenge pillars, watercolor painting

Q: What is the best lighting for watercolors? Is just keeping them out of direct sun, adequate?
     A: Watercolors should not hang in direct light. Avoid direct natural light and direct spotlights. They should only be hung where they receive indirect light.

Q: How important is temperature and humidity for watercolor paintings?
Normal temperatures should not affect a watercolor and normal humidity should not affect a properly framed watercolor. Hanging a watercolor in a humid room, such as a bathroom, is not recommended.

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