An original oil painting should do what a photo cannot. Even the best “giclée” print on canvas cannot match the subtlety and intensity of real oil paint. Capturing the transparency of glazing effects is simply not possible, not to mention the three-dimensional quality of impasto. And even the best print will fade before oil paint, which can keep its glow for centuries.
The Provenance sticker on your original will remind you to have the painting revarnished once every century. Varnish is not as durable as oil paints once they have polymerized, about six months of drying time. Varnish should not be applied before then.
If for whatever reason you cannot own the original, a reproduction is a good choice. “Reproduction” implies matching the original as closely as can reasonably be done.* My printers use “Giclée” technology to print in high resolution directly on real canvas, with a no-fade life well over a century. At a glance, with a coat of varnish, these reproductions can be mistaken for an original. That’s why I add a data block at the bottom of the image. When the canvas print is stretched like the originals on wooden frames, the information shows on the back as shown above. NOTE: with “giclée” there is no limit to the number of perfect prints. Thus the only value in a numbered, hand-signed “limited edition” is based on artificial scarcity. I don’t do that.
* If the original is on canvas, so is a reproduction. If you print it on paper, it’s only a photo, not a reproduction, of the original.
I started in 1963 in Sault Ste. Marie with John Bailey, who later became a master. I became his assistant coach at age 17 and have not quit teaching for more than a couple of years since. I currently teach at the Ann Arbor Sword Club and the Ann Arbor “Y.” Between 1973 and 1985 I competed intensely, including five trips to the Nationals. Now, maybe two tournaments a year.
Fencing led me to the Society for Creative Anachronism, which does medieval re-creation from armored combat to courtly revelry. A great deal of research and painstaking re-creation is done without a rule requiring it. Earlier I was active in manuscript illumination and event design; since 1995, mostly armored and rapier combat. The SCA led me to medieval scholarship. Links below.
Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng came to Ann Arbor in the mid 1990s with his historical swordplay research well begun. By introducing it to us, he triggered the Sword Club’s rebirth on the ground floor of a movement now hitting its stride worldwide. Jeffrey’s translations of medieval “fechtbuchs” reflect his historical, linguistic and swordplay expertise and make him a top authority for HEMA.
In the Coast Guard I served two years “before the mast” on a slow freighter to China – literally – and never quite got the salt out. Visits on HMS Victory and USS Constitution, plus six times through Patrick O’Brian’s 20 sea novels haven’t done it. I want to be ready for the next chance to stand on a rolling deck or go aloft. In the meantime I am painting more maritime subjects, some historical.