Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Painting Repair

I am not sure why, but the mother of one of my son's friends asked me if I could repair a cracked oil painting. It is stamped on the back with some kind of insignia indicating it is a pretty cheap knock-off or starving artist type painting. We all know the type-- they sell them in motels, they're painted in "art factories", now probably in China. Anyway- they are generally of extremely poor quality - another reason to stay away from them-and this one is no different. The entire sky has cracked in a circular pattern, indicating the paint used was too thin to survive cold storage, or it was just cheap paint. Here is the painting and a series of shots to show the progression of how I am trying to repair it. I told her it might not be possible but she thought the cracks were so ugly she didn't want to hang it up unless they were covered. I saw no point in telling her that the only proper way to repair the painting would be to take it to a conservator who would charge her a few thousand dollars and spend weeks matching color to fill in the cracks. My way to fix the ugly thing is to slather on some thick opaque paint, let it dry, then slather on some more... and hope it doesn't sink in for a few years. I began by sanding the entire sky area with fine sandpaper. I cleaned the entire painting and let it dry for overnight. Then I applied some galkyd medium, rubbing it into the surface of the old paint. Next I mixed up some darker base color for the sky and painted a gradation from the top to the bottom.

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