Thursday, January 21, 2010


Restoration today. Last night I noticed that a few big pictures had a few scratch marks, only slight but these concerned me. Today I decided to fix them up and re-examine every picture. I also decided that and from now on I'd make sure that all works without glass (not that many, only the largest ones) had a cardboard cover to protect the front while stored here.

For Sunset With Rose Petals I know that the damage was caused while on exhibition at Keele University. One picture I showed there a couple of years ago had quite severe damage that required repainting. I've decided not to enter anything there unless it's glazed from now on. Glass really does help protect a painting.

The work was quite hard, but the restoration parts were easy! The day was mostly cutting card and reframing. The Albion picture had flaking paint on the frame, which was plain pine wood painted with acrylic to make it look like granite (pictured). I now know that acrylic paint alone is not tough enough for a frame, so I've varnished it with a tough wood varnish and it's much better.

The Albion Frame
The scuff marks on Sunset turned out to be light marks that extended only to the varnish. A cotton bud dipped in OMS quickly erased them and restored everything to former glory. I decided to reframe Penalties and add glass. This picture was painted flat on my desk, so was quite dusty. I spent time removing lots of dust bit by bit with tweezers and now the picture looks better than it ever did.

Then I came to correct two scratches in 31st Century Crucifixion. These were short streaks in an inconspicuous part of the sky, but they were deeper than the varnish. Unfortunately, the sky on this one uses transparent glazes so overpainting was not an option without using lots of layers, nigh on impossible to do that and colour match the work with the surrounding sky.

There were several options, the most complex being to erase an area down to the gesso and repaint. I have done that on a previous painting and it worked, but it's tricky and the grain of the surface was affected then making the repair visible (if you knew to look for it!) In the end I decided to paint a new feature there, some small clouds which fitted the composition well and covered the marks.

Now each painting has a solid cover. The pictures are out of sunlight which is not ideal for oil paintings, but they are safer, and easier to transport too because I use square flat frames that now form a sort of box that securely encases the picture.


Kathy said...

Mark - your posts reveal the myriad of details an artist must deal with that go beyond creating a painting. Today's post about repair is another good example. I'm always amazed when my paintings return with damage after an exhibition. You'd think that galleries would know how to handle art better than they do. Your attention to detail is great! Shows professionalism.

Anonymous said...

Amazing! I never considered that exhibited work would come back damaged. I would imagine the framing and finishing make all the difference in how a work is perceived. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your process. It's a lot to think about.

The Artist Within Us said...

Greetings MArk,

An artist will always face a storage problem, especially when one is very prolific. I also appreciated what Katharine noted about galleries not being too careful, something I found to be true.

Warmest regards,

-Don said...

Thanks for taking us through your repair processes. It's so frustrating to have to revisit our old works due to someone else's carelessness. This could have been time spent creating the next great piece... -Don