Paintings

Protect Your Oil Paintings Against Rips and Tears

By Laura Kadi, Art Conservation Intern, Guest Blogger

Laura Kadi, Guest Blogger

Laura Kadi, Guest Blogger

Rips and tears happen. Sometimes by accident, and sometimes not. Sometimes your beautiful painting is in reach of your bipolar child with scissors who cuts up your art like this painting below.

 

Or sometimes, your angry and vengeful lover knows the value of your painting and tears at it with a knife in the heat of an argument like this painting below.

Ripped Painting by Granville RedmondWhether it be by accident or on purpose, things happen and these are just a few tips for you to consider to prevent any ripping and tearing of your artwork.

 

Art Shipping Precautions

Shipping is always scary because you’re leaving your precious art in the hands of another person/company and out of your control. To make sure your art is safe from being ripped during any rough handling, take these precautions:

Wrap the piece with plastic sheeting, then bubble-wrap, then add one piece of card board on each side front & back, then double-boxed. Remember to never let the tape used during packing touch the artwork or the frame. Consider that insurance and an experienced or more careful mail carrier may bring you greater peace of mind.  An art transport truck could be reliable too if there are multiples or over-sized pieces.

Hang a Framed Item Safely

When hanging a painting from a wall, one needs to make sure everything is set and strong. You don’t want paintings falling from earthquakes or being knocked over by kids playing tag. Not only can the painting get damaged by the fall, but if your wires aren’t properly placed, they can tear the painting as well! Here are some things to remember when hanging a painting from a wall:

-Quality and large eye hangers that hold the wire.

-Thick wire, preferable plastic coated

-Nail in wall hits a stud. If not, use a multi nail hanger made for drywall.

-Use the largest hanger possible on everything… even if the framed item is small

-Use Museum Wax in the lower two corners to anchor the painting against the wall and so it won’t “jump” off the hook when things start to shake.

Click here for a short video

A Lining May Help

There’s a huge difference in the tears of the two paintings above. The first painting is completely cut apart and has to be put back together like a puzzle while the second one is merely scratched on the surface. Why wasn’t the second painting completely cut through when it was ripped at with a knife? This is because of the lining that was added to the back of the painting previously. A good lining adds support to a painting and creates a sort of wall so that anything sharp doesn’t completely go through the painting. Because the first painting didn’t have any lining, the scissors were able to completely cut through the canvas. Paintings don’t usually come with a lining unless they’ve already been fixed before, but having a lining is a good precaution to take if its going to travel, especially if your piece has been damaged before.

 

These are just a few tips you can take to prevent any ripping or tearing of your artwork. To learn more about how you can protect your valuable items at home, follow us on Facebook. Click here.

 

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Shipping Damage of Heirlooms: Liquid Tide Detergent Disaster

By Arianna Spiller, FACL Intern

A man and wife were being moved by her business; the moving company packing up all of their general belongings to go from Atlanta to Las Vegas. When the wife packed up her heirlooms and keepsakes, she took extra care…she thought.  Some of these heirlooms were the paintings done by her father, which happened to be some of the only keepsakes she had of him. This included the portrait he did of her as a young girl. However, she was unable to control where these items were placed, and how they were placed, inside of the moving truck. During the shipping of these heirlooms to Las Vegas, an open box containing Tide detergent overturned and poured into the package of the two paintings and their frames.

Father's portrait of daughter ruined by liquid Tide Detergent?

You could imagine her devastation, opening up the box containing such valued family heirlooms and keepsakes only to see that it had been doused in green goo. After searching the internet and reading blogs and watching YouTube videos, she called Fine Arts Conservation Laboratories, hoping that FACL could restore them back to their “pre-existing condition” (an important insurance term). Scott Haskins, head of conservation paid the owners a visit at their home and inspected the items at no charge. After outlining the options and costs, the owner made her decision and FACL picked up the two framed painting and will personally deliver them back when the work is completed

Luckily, the paintings themselves had a good, strong layer of varnish over the paint. This helped prevent the detergent and paint from interacting which would have made it almost impossible to clean the paintings of the Tide without disturbing the paint. After FACL cleaned the paintings, they were re-varnished. FACL was able to restore the paintings back to their “pre-existing condition” without significant damage.

The frames, however, were not as lucky.  The finishes on them did not allow for the removal of the detergents and stains. Therefore, in order to restore the frames and bring them back to “pre-existing condition” they will have to be re-finished.

Liquid Tide Detergent spilled on picture frame

The shipping damage of heirlooms can be prevented entirely if the proper precautions are taken in the first place. When moving an heirloom, or anything you would like to protect, always make sure it is properly sealed and protected from any outside source. Some of the common problems FACL sees in shipping damage is dirt and dust getting on the items, water damage (and other liquids) and, of course, damage from getting banged around (impact damage). Always get proper instruction for wrapping and packing heirlooms. However, when moving collectibles along with other objects that could potentially damage it, sealing is only part of the work. The proper placement of a valuable when moving is important. Take precaution to not let any other potentially dangerous items spill, bump or fall on your valuables. This involves placing a protective barrier around the item, and not surrounding it with objects that could possibly hurt or damage it.

After this incident happened the owner let some time elapse. She had never thought to check with the fine art insurance of the shipper or the insurance company of her new employer to cover the $6000 worth of damage done to the two paintings and the two frames. Unfortunately, she had to pay for a mistake that was not necessarily her fault.  If you are ever faced with a situation such as this one, where collectibles or heirlooms have been ruined or are in need of fixing, the internet is a great place to do research, find some help and do your due diligence.

What did you think about this article? Leave a comment! We’ll comment back.

To learn more about what you can do at home to take care of your stuff, download now a copy of Scott Haskins’ book, How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster at 50% off! CLICK HERE to know more: http://saveyourstuffblog.com/products-supplies/

For a news article featuring Scott M. Haskins’, Click here: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/media-room/art-restorerconservator-scott-m-haskins-featured-in-life-section-of-newspaper/

For art conservation and painting restoration questions call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438 or faclartdoc@gmail.com

For art appraisal questions call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121 or jrholgate@yahoo.com

See short videos by Scott M. Haskins on art conservation related subjects at YouTube channel “Bestartdochttp://www.youtube.com/user/bestartdoc?feature=mhee

See short do-it-yourself videos on collection care and emergency preparedness for art collectors, family history items, heirlooms, memorabilia at Youtube Channel “preservationcoachhttp://www.youtube.com/user/preservationcoach

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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!

CLICK HERE to know more: http://saveyourstuffblog.com/products-supplies/

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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!

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How To Hang A Painting and Do It Right.

I was featured as an expert speaker this last week at the Laguna Arts Festival Lecture series (http://bit.ly/pVVE6C)where I spoke about general things to think about when protecting and saving collectibles, artwork etc. We talked about protecting and saving items from

Well, yesterday, someone’s disaster walked through my front door. A valuable vintage painting’s wire broke and the oil painting on canvas hit the edge of a table and here’s what you get… a 6 inch x 18 inch “L” shapped rip and flaking paint.

Damage caused when hanging wire broke

Damaged caused when the oil painting's hanging wire broke

Look at the back of the painting's rip

The reverse side of the painting with the rip, caused by the hanging wire breaking

Remember, the weakest link in the chain is the one that breaks and causes the damage. The parts that ALL NEED TO BE REMEMBERED for hanging an oil painting on the wall are:

  • Quality and large eye hangers that hold the wire.
  • Thick wire, preferable plastic coated
  • Nail in wall hits a stud. If not, use a multi nail hanger made for drywall.
  • Use the largest hanger possible
  • Use Museum Wax in the lower two corners to anchor the painting against the wall and so it won’t “jump” off the hook when things start to shake.

“Overkill” is the operative word here. Remember, you are designing this to withstand an earthquake… or your grandkids! You do the math; be a good curator of your collection or mishaps like the one in the photo above are $4,300.00 to fix perfect.

Questions” Call Scott at 805 564 3438

Art appraisal questions? Call Richard at 805 895 5121

Also see http://www.fineartconservationlab.com

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Cracks Cause By Heating Vents

Cracking badly!

Keep art work away from heating vents that will cause cracking and flaking. (Same goes for active fireplaces), never use cleaning liquids on paintings,and last but not least, never try to clean painting with solvents.

 Careful inspections will help save flaking paint. If you find flaking paint, the best thing to do is call an art conservation laboratory for advice. There are emergency treatments you can do at home on most paintings. But it is still good to get some advice.

It is important to remember that we can save the original paint in almost every type of flaking condition. This type of preservation/conservation treatment preserves the original nature of the painting, helps the painting to retain its highest value and in the end will require less inpainting.

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Conservation questions? Go to www.fineartconservationlab.com

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Hidden flaking can be knocked off when dusting

Hard to see flakes knocked off by cleaning lady when dusting.

The photograph looks like it is in perfect condition without any cracks or problems evident. However in the trees to the left, there are 6 or 8 very small flakes of paint that are coming off.

These types of hard to see flakes are often knocked off when cleaning ladies dust art work.

Here are 3 tips to remember:

1. Keep art work away from heating vents that will cause cracking and flaking. (Same goes for active fireplaces)

2. Never use cleaning liquids on paintings.

3. Never try to clean painting with solvents.

Volumes of books have been written about damaging paintings by people trying to clean them. It is a very complicated process.

So back to our problems on this painting, careful inspections will help save flaking paint. If you find flaking paint, the best thing to do is call an art conservation laboratory for advice. There are emergency treatments you can do at home on most paintings. But it is still good to get some advice.

Feel free to call our office if you would like to discuss your situation. 805 564 3438

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Cracking and damaged paintings caused by stretcher bars

Cracking of paintings and damage cause by stretcher bars.

There are 3 types of cracks of Fine Art that are directly related to stretcher bars.

First photograph shows diagonal cracking that will form in each conner, this cracking pattern is very common, and has been recreated in artificial aging tests which have confirmed that they form due to the expanding of the canvass and the ability of the stretcher bars to hold the painting properly.

Second photograph shows a cracking pattern caused by the painting touching the cross bar. This happens because the painting is loose and/or pressure is put on the front of the painting causing it to press against the cross bar, and/or could be the cross bar is not spaced far away enough from the painting.

Third photograph shows a vertical line that goes just inside and parallel to the edges of the painting, that may  or may not be visible on all four sides. Giving the above example the cracking caused by the cross bar. This cracking appears because of the contact with the inside edge of the stretcher bar, as you can see from the photograph this cracking can lead to flacking.

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For great stories, videos and tips see www.tipsforartcollectors.org (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

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Why Do We Touch an Oil Paint That is Flaking?

One of the biggest problems people have is to resist the temptation of touching an oil painting that is flaking. I have been amused to witness even the seasoned experienced collectors be rate themselves after they touch a flaking area and knock paint off.

The problem of people touching damage painting is the reason why, damaged art work should be removed from display once it’s damaged.

This photograph shows the worst type of judgement possible where someone has rubbed off the flaking paint all together.

Oil Paint Flaking

It is important to remember that we can save the original paint in almost every type of flaking condition. This type of preservation/conservation treatment preserves the original nature of the painting, helps the painting to retain its highest value and in the end will require less inpainting.

Questions about preserving collectibles, letters, certificates photos? www.saveyourstuffblog.com (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Follow us on Facebook at (be sure to sign up as our friend!) :

Save Your Stuff  (Home)

Save Your Stuff From A Disaster (Office-Workplace)

Fine Art Conservation

Conservation questions? Go to www.fineartconservationlab.com

Appraisal questions? www.faclappraisals.com

For great stories, videos and tips see www.tipsforartcollectors.org (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

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Proper Art Storage Drama – Landscape with Blue Flowers by Robert Wood

Captivating scenery with broad, flowing trees and colorful flowers.

This painting came into the lab because it contained several problems:

It had couple dents towards the middle and in the lower right hand corner.

There is a small tear.

Also it was cracking badly.

The dents and rips could have been avoided! This damage was probably caused  by storing it badly and obviously leaning things against it with no protection.

Is this anyway to treat or take care of a $15,000 painting???

or.. what if it was a painting of your grandmother? Would you have treated it differently?

As ugly as these problems are, the painting is not flaking or falling apart immediately. In other words, there is no emergency action needed to save the painting. So if are these problems don’t get taken care of right away, all will not be lost. Damage in the form of cracking is now in the process of forming and becoming evident.

If the painting were actively flaking (losing paint) then immediate action would be suggested. If there is enough paint loss, it could make the painting worth less (impact the value).

Let’s say you know nothing about art and you don’t want to spend the money to get it fixed…

  • Would you be tempted to throw this painting away??
  • Or would you sell it for a cheap price at a garage sale??

For instance, the original owner of this painting,  didn’t want to spend any money on this painting to fix it or clean it… so, therefore she gave it away. It’s worth about $10,000.00

What really happened to this painting by Robert Wood? The owner sold this painting, in its dented abused condition, for a fraction of its value because they didn’t know what to do with it.

Here are 5 tips to follow if you find yourself in this kind of situation:

  1. Ask an art appraiser about the painting. (Sometimes they will not charge for a verbal opinion if you do not require a formal appraisal (Also you ask an auction house for their opinion)
  2. Speak with an art conservator to give value/estimate for repairs.
  3. Ask the curator at a local museum for an opinion.
  4. Another suggestion would be, if you can read the signature on the painting research it, and you can find out interesting things. This artist, for example, would show up everywhere in a search. He was quite famous.
  5. DO NOT consult with art dealers right away until you get other’s opinions first. They will try to buy the artwork for as little as possible.

For $1,000.00 this painting can look as good as new, and should be worth the maximum amount of money after restoration.

If this were to be a family portrait the sales price may not be as important but its preservation would be more important than ever.

To keep these damages from happening, do not lean anything on the painting. Cover front and back with card box, or place in a cardboard mirror box. Do not store where the temperature gets too hot or too cold, or where it gets humid or moldy.

When you have a damaged painting, your home owner’s insurance policy may help you pay for it, and may even pay you for lost value. For more information about this, go to www.insurancepersonalpropertyassessments.com or call us at 805 564 3438

For great stories, videos and tips see www.tipsforartcollectors.org (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Questions about preserving collectibles, letters, certificates photos? www.saveyourstuffblog.com (Free downloads, sign up for blog updates)

Follow us on Facebook at (be sure to sign up as our friend!) :

Save Your Stuff  (Home)

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Fine Art Conservation

Conservation questions? Go to www.fineartconservationlab.com

Appraisal questions? www.faclappraisals.com

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