Art restoration

Old Family Portraits – Ask yourself these 3 important questions!

I know my last post was about family portraits but you have GOT TO SEE this one! This family portrait was brought to us by the exhibits coordinator for the National archives and was really in sad shape. Notice the 18″ slash down the left side. Here’s a raking light shot of the distortions/gathers in the canvas.

The painting canvas was so brittle that the tacking edge nails had pulled through the fabric so the edges were loose and the painting was barely hanging onto the stretcher bars. The surface of the painting was LOADED with dirt, grime and discolored varnish… nicotine? How did this painting get into such precarious condition? Except it was adopted by a preservationist soul, this portrait and piece of history was destined for the trash.

Professional art conservation and painting restoration to the rescue. The rip repair of this painting’s ripped edges were rejoined under the microscope and, in fact, here’s a video to show how we do it:

The cleaning was actually, surprisingly not so difficult. Once the varnish was dissolved, the rest of the dirty layers washed away with it’s removal. What a difference!!!!

So again, how did this painting get into such precarious condition? As you might imagine, all of this damage is caused by handling and the way it was treated. In other words, all of this damage was avoidable… or preventable! What circumstances do you paintings find themselves? Are fragile old paintings displayed in high traffic areas? Are paintings not on the walls simple leaning against themselves in the closet, garage or basement? Immediate action to remedy the situation may save you many $1,000′s of dollars!

Art conservation questions? Call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate 805 895 5121

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After Conservation Family Portrait

This painting has minimal touch up done (inpainting) and many imperfections, that are original to the painting or are a result of the artist’s technique, remained. The goal was to have the portrait look great… but have it be as original as possible.

To learn more about what you can do at home to take care of your stuff, download now a copy of Scott’s book, How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster at 50% off!

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Family Portraits Need Love Too – Quick video of portraits in the art conservation lab

Family Portrait

We get family ancestor’s portraits in our painting restoration lab all the time. Some of them have some financial value, some of them are historically important and some are only important to the family members… all worth the tender loving care to protect, save and restore for future generations!

Is it worth it is a common question. I often ask back, “Well, what are you going to do? Throw grandpa in the trash?!”

Sometimes we also get the portraits copied and printed on canvas so several family members can have a copy of the family portrait. We have some great suggestions for making your copies look like the real thing!

Perhaps you would like to see some of the family portraits that have come into our lab in the last little while? Some of them will surprise you. Here’s a quick video:

Call Scott M. Haskins to chat about your family portrait at 805 564 3438!
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121
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Leave a comment about your family portrait below!


House Grime and Yellowed Varnish on Oil Paintings- What Are Your Options?

This oil  painting’s varnish is covered with grime and discolored- yellowed leaving the original colors dim and darker than the artist had originally intended. If you are thinking about whether you should have a painting cleaned, remember this: cleaning artwork is usually an aesthetic issue/question… not a preservation question. If all you are concerned about is preserving the painting, then don’t have it cleaned. If you want to have it look its best, then cleaning may be required.

Also on this painting; towards the lower left side there is a small 2″ tear in the canvas. This is a preservation problem to be corrected. But here also you will be asked to make a decision: to patch or to “line” the painting. Actually, there is third choice. We don’t patch paintings because they set into motion other problems in the future (cracking patterns, puckering/bulges). But a local “reweaving” of the rip may be possible and the rip may be repaired without a patch and without lining. Your local conservator/restorer can explain this to you. Each choice has a long term preservation consequence.

The lost paint at the rip will then need to be filled and inpainted to match perfectly. If you decide to have the painting cleaned and treat the rip so it is not visible, after restoration the painting will have brighter colors, enhanced depth of field, the tear will disappear and the varnish will look even and clear. Then, you’ll need to think about lighting at home or the office… but that’s another blog post.

Here’s a quick video that may be of interest:

Questions about conservation/restoration? Call us toll free at 888-704-7757

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Questions about art and antique appraisals? Call Richard at (805) 895-5121

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Also see:

What can you do at home or at the office to protect and save your artwork and collectibles from damage in an earthquake or hurricane?

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Here’s another 30 second video


UV Black light a Smart Way To Inspect Collectibles, Heirlooms – See Short Video

You don’t have to be a sophisticated collector of art to need a UV black light in your pocket when you are antiquing, gallery hopping or wandering around auction previews. If you have one in hand, its FUN to see the hidden conditions, restorations etc! Here’s a short video about a painting collector who didn’t use one and got taken big time!

See another VERY INTERESTING 2 min. video, an informative article and a UV blacklight package at

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Art conservation questions? Call Toll Free 888 704 7757

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