Saturday, March 6, 2010

Restoration for the Jack of all trades

When you are an artist you get asked to do all kind of "art" related things. I've been asked to do logos for someone's business (I don't do that). I've drawn children for the cover of a school phone directory. I hate doing illustration, although I've done them (after giving the art director exactly what they asked for, they tell you it isn't exactly what they asked for) -- animation too -- as a result I can hardly watch an animated film anymore.
One assignment I don't mind doing is restoration.
I was recently asked to clean a painting. It was a snow scene done in the 1950's and covered with yellowed varnish. I went out and bought a picture cleaner which I thought would do the job. I won't mention any brand names, but I know you've heard of them if you paint. Well, the cleaner did little more than clean grime off the surface --- although it did leave a lovely pine scent in the air. I tried it several times to no further avail. I brought out my denatured alcohol and it took the old varnish off. Why I didn't start with it, I don't know. The painting was clear of the yellowed layer of varnish. I let it dry and then applied a light coat of damar varnish. The client, a friend, paid me more than I asked, thank you very much.
I've restored a genre painting from a century ago; taking off flaked paint and repainting in the style of the brushwork that was there to begin with. After taking closeup pictures, I was able to overcome nervousness about tackling the job. That's what the Jack of all trades does -- overcome apprehension and barge ahead, sometimes foolishly.
A brief apology to those of you following this blog. I became a bit tired of doing it. I have been painting quite a bit, won an award of excellence in a group exhibit, sold one at a Holiday show. Since I don't crank out a painting a day, sometimes even one a week I don't always have things to post. I am working on a 36" X 48" canvas and you just don't do those every day, unless you paint abstracts. bad, and I'll try to post more often.

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