Oil On Canvas: Cleaning, Restoration, & Conservation
March 5, 2017
Growing up in a family of fine furniture refinishers, it's not surprising that Charlie Saah loves antiques. His passion for preserving the craftsmanship of past generations has spurred him to become an antiquarian--one who studies or collects antiques. And not only does Charlie love antique furniture, but he also has a passion for oil on canvas art. This passion led him to add another form of restoration to his already admirable list of skills: oil on canvas art restoration, cleaning, and conservation.
"Oil paintings don't have to be valuable to benefit from restoration or cleaning" states Charlie. "A piece that's been in the family for generations may have little monetary value but tremendous sentimental value. Why not make sure future family members get that same enjoyment?"
Most old paintings have an organic shellac finish which yellows over time. Discoloration may also come from wood or tobacco smoke. Further grime may be build up from years of dust and dirt. Having a professional cleaning will bring the painting back to the vividness of color as envisioned by the artist. However, it is important to consult a professional, because according to the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute "Methods of removing dirt and other obscuring material requires great skill because any changes to the painting surface may bring about irreversible and damaging results, permanently affecting the aesthetic and monetary value of the work." Fine art conservation is not something to try at home; it is a painstakingly slow process because each section of paint color may have a different solubility.
Another concern is damage to the canvas itself. Tears or rips in the canvas need to be professionally repaired immediately to prevent them from growing larger and creating more damage. In addition, some paintings may benefit from infill and/or touch up painting.
Once a painting is restored, attention should also be placed on the frame. Charlie asks "Why put a beautiful painting in a neglected frame?" The team at C & S Refinishing has the skills to clean and gild frames, as well as, replace ornamental work that may have broken off, touch up dings, and refinish the frame to the customer's choice. A frame may also need repair work to make it stable.