An original oil painting should do what a photo cannot. Even the best “giclée” print on canvas cannot match the subtlety and intensity of the original pigment fixed in oil vehicle. Capturing the transparency of glazing effects is simply not possible, not to mention the three-dimensional quality of paint applied in impasto. And even the best print will not last as long as quality oil paint, which can keep its glow for centuries. This is what Keats might have meant when he wrote “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
This is why 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. This happens after 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 short of painting it. We use “Giclée” technology to print a very accurate image of the original 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. For that reason 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. About editions: with “giclée” there is no limit to the number of perfect prints, so a numbered, hand-signed “limited edition” confers no real value. 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 one tournament a year.
In 1974, fencing led me to the Society for Creative Anachronism, where we do live-action knightly armored combat and rapier fencing as well as feasts and revels. A great deal of research and painstaking re-creation goes into our “artifacts.” I used to be known for my manuscript illumination. Now I’m into medieval scholarship. The link below right leads to those items.
In the late 1990s The Ann Arbor Sword Club was fortunate to have Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng in residence. By introducing us to researched historical swordplay, he put us 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.