View Full Version : help -assistance needed

07-26-2003, 02:22 AM
I normally post on animals and wildlife but need advice on pastels.

An old lady has a portrait of her husband which is done in pastels some 55 years ago and it has a lot of sentimental value to her. Unfortunately it has been damaged by water and what looks like mould (dark spots) in certain areas.

Question is to the pastel experts ( I know nothing about pastels):

a. could it be restored somehow to a decent state
b. what would be the best method

For reference here's a pic of the pastel


I look forward to receiving your expert advice

janaalt's web site (www.janaalt.co.za)

07-26-2003, 08:45 AM
Hi Janaalt... What a shame this has happened to such a fine painting.....I wish I could help but I have never been faced with this problem before, all I know is that mouldy books can be restored with some sort of powder, I suppose my gut instinct would be to try to lift the mould gently with a dry brush and then touch up the areas that are damaged with fresh pastel... but as this painting is old and obviously valuabe to the person that owns it, maybe try an art gallery for advice, sorry I'm not much help, hopefully someone else will see this and have the advice you are looking for.


07-26-2003, 10:24 AM
thanks Mo, every little bit helps.

07-26-2003, 01:41 PM
I would think you'd need a professional to repair this, or at least get advice from...did a search and came up with these names under art restoration in South Africa...don't know how current the site was but might help...

Art Restoration
Ernest Bellingan, Fine Arts Restorer/ Conservator: PO Box 411787, Craighall, 2024, Cell- 083 310 5903
Teresa Wimberley Fine Arts Restorer/ Conservator Tel (011) 4473922.


07-26-2003, 01:59 PM
I like the way it looks now.

Mold may be a legitimate problem. Try rubbing it off the paper or call a professional.

I like the water marks with the pastel. I may try it myself sometime.


07-26-2003, 03:02 PM
Thanks Dyin,
that certainly seems to be the best option, thanks for taking the trouble. This art restorer is only 10 mins away from where I live.

Deborah Secor
07-26-2003, 03:54 PM
Your art restorer is no doubt the best idea but here's a little information about this mold. I think it's a beautiful painting and worth taking care of. Hope this helps.


Mold growth in paper often shows up as dull rusty patches that discolor the sheet. This is called "foxing" and may be caused by the chemical action of mold on metallic salts often present in paper [Figure 1]. Mold feeds on sizing and paper fibers and thereby weakens the sheet. It grows easily on pastels, which contain good nutrients for mold in their binding media. Foxing is the usual result of prolonged, high atmospheric humidity, but if water itself seeps into the picture or book, rampant proliferation of mold may completely envelop the object. First-aid treatment is to remove the object to a dry environment. Open the frame or spread out the pages so that air can circulate freely to the infested areas. Expose to direct sunlight for about one hour to kill the mold or, preferably, place in a closed container with some crystals of thymol, a fungicide, for two or three days.

1. Keep the humidity below seventy percent; about fifty percent is ideal.
2. Do not store pictures or books in damp cellars or basements.
3. Avoid hanging pictures on the outside walls of a house, especially if they feel cold or damp.

(Lots more there on thispage--just copied the highlights.)

07-26-2003, 04:34 PM
thank you Deborah, much appreciated.Have a great weekend.

07-27-2003, 12:32 AM
I have been told that you can remove or kill mold by using the microwave but that may not be so . I know that Lysol will kill mold but can't be to good for pastrels. I hope you get a lot of help . I would like to know how to prevent this problem.


Deborah Secor
07-27-2003, 12:54 AM
One thing I should mention is that most pastels that are made today have a mold inhibitor in them, of one sort or another. Usually the inhibitor used is a trade secret! But modern pastels aren't usually subject to foxing, only the older ones say from the 60s and before (I know, doesn't seem that 'old' to me either.) Usually I understand that it's the paper that molds more easily than the pastel. I'm glad I live in New Mexico--land of 5% humidity--so don't have much problem with mold. UV and fading are the problems here...