Art is a part of life and for some, it is their way of life. Others usually consider art as a worthy investment. Regardless of how you see art, restoring and preserving art pieces are important techniques to maintain their value. Painting restoration is a serious matter; that is why most people prefer to have their paintings professionally restored. However, if you like the thought of restoring your own pieces, lots of practice and familiarity with techniques are necessary. Because according to statistics, more paintings and art works are destroyed each year by inept restoration and cleaning than by accidental burning or fire.
Clouded varnish, dirt, and smoke are the usual culprits that cause paintings to become dirty. Restoring paintings by cleaning it is the logical step of most owners. However, wiping paintings with rags or whatever liquid is damaging. Art restoration professionals recommend researching restoration techniques on the internet or attending seminars on restoring paintings before embarking on a restoration mission.
Art works look more elegant and classic when preserved in their original frames. As it is, detaching paintings from their frames is necessary and important before the actual cleaning. Non-removal of the frames not only causes discomfort and unease in cleaning, it also causes scratches and abrasion. Remove the frames by laying the picture backside up on a flat surface layered with foam or cushion to avoid scratching the frames. Vacuum accumulated dust on the frames’ back and remove nails gently with a metal ruler and pliers. Secure the nails on board with labels of their previous positions. For example, secure and label the nails plucked from the lower right side of the frame as “lower right”. This way, each nail fits exactly on its previous place without causing added strain on the frame. Marking the frame is also a good idea to be able to return it to its original position.
After removing paintings from their frame, it is better to inspect the kind of dirt build-up on the paintings. Knowing the kind of dirt to be removed is necessary in finding and using the right product and tools. Anti-mildew solutions remove mildew build-up or “foxing” effectively. However, soaking the painting in these solutions damages the colors and the painting. To prevent this, soak or spray the solution on a cotton pad and wipe on the area affected with foxing. Follow up with a water-dipped cotton pad and wipe dry. Periodically check cotton pads to see if some color or paint was dissolved. For dirt build-up that requires light to medium cleaning, slicing an onion in half and dipping it in lemon juice remove grime and dirt off art work. Rub paintings with lemon-soaked onion using a circular motion for even application. Slice the onion regularly to expose a fresh layer. An alternative is using warm water with lemon detergent or washing soda. Finish either treatment by wiping their painting with a moist sponge and leaving it to dry. Art works respond to this treatment with improved depth of color.
Experts recommend leaving varnish removal and painting repair to the professionals. Art works do not sell well or look good if extensively damaged. As these types of restoration require complicated techniques, the chances of botching the job are high if done by amateurs. The job is expensive but make the value of your paintings appreciate.
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