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JeffG
08-06-2007, 11:49 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Aug-2007/1883-silverfish01.jpg

... it's either silverfish or a tiny little ghost of FDR nibbling on my egg tempera painting. No, it's silverfish, the dime is used to show the scale.

I get these little nibbles on the edges of some work that's in progress, from time to time. Mind you, I haven't actually seen silverfish on them, but I'm quite sure that's whats doing it, because I occasionally find a live one in my studio and I saw a pic of what they do elsewhere on the net . I just wanted everyone to see what it looks like. The white gesso actually has teeny-tiny furrow marks on it. They always seem to stick to the edge, and after the painting is finished and cured for a while, they seem to leave them alone.

I find giving the painting a wash of dilute egg medium with a few drops of clove oil keeps them away from it, but I dont always do that after each session; hence the annoying but easily fixed damage I show here.

I keep meaning to buy silverfish traps/bait but always forget when Im out.

pinkrybns
08-06-2007, 11:55 AM
I find giving the painting a wash of dilute egg medium with a few drops of clove oil keeps them away from it, but I dont always do that after each session; hence the annoying but easily fixed damage I show here.
Could you not also add a few drops of clove oil to the paint emulsion itself as you paint along ... or am I completely "buggy" on that notion? :D

meglyman
08-06-2007, 06:25 PM
Wow, that's unfortunate! I wonder why they like the paint - is it the yolk, or do they attack other kinds of paint as well?

dbclemons
08-07-2007, 09:40 AM
They go after all sorts of natural glues, sugar, and starches. They'll eat through paper and fabric to get to the glues and sizing in them. Oils or varnishes are good barriers. I've seen a few of them occasionally darting around my studio, but so far they've avoided making a lunch of my casein paintings.

Jeff, is that a wood panel or paper surface?

JeffG
08-07-2007, 10:33 AM
Could you not also add a few drops of clove oil to the paint emulsion itself as you paint along ... or am I completely "buggy" on that notion? :D

No, that would probably work. However, I don't add clove oil all the time because 1) Im not absolutely sure how clove oil might compromise the medium because it does start curdling the medium after a while, 2) It makes the medium a bit oily to my tastes, 3) I'd be using alot more clove oil (and discarding it) if I did that all the time, and the nibbles are only an occasional thing and as I said, just an annoyance to fix at this point.

Meg, it's definitely the yolk theyre going for. As David says below, yolks, sugar and starches found in paper, glue (including sizing) and some types of paint is their thing. They're often found wherever paper is stacked, and if, like me, you buy or peruse old books, its not uncommon to find the dessicated remains of one in the pages.

David, it's a panel (RealGesso brand). They skim the paint right off, and only barely nibble down into the gesso surface.

pinkrybns
08-07-2007, 10:40 AM
No, that would probably work. However, I don't add clove oil all the time because 1) Im not absolutely sure how clove oil might compromise the medium because it does start curdling the medium after a while, Hmm, thanks for that Jeff. I never thought about the curdling ... hmmm.

Of course, I have never seen a silverfish infestation in my house in Holland.

Had one of my cats lick off a layer of E-T though (the cat survived - the layers didn't) ... I forgot to put the panel in a cat-free zone. :rolleyes:

JamieWG
08-22-2007, 09:20 AM
Wow, Jeff, now I'm nervous! How unfortunate. Please get those traps so they'll leave your beautiful artwork alone!

Jamie

JeffG
08-22-2007, 06:35 PM
Thanks Jamie. Actually, (important for any collectors or potential buyers out there), the little pests lose their taste for it once it's been dried in my studio for a week or two, long before they go out to the market. The pieces that I have that have "cured" over a few years are pretty much bulletproof and brighter than when they were made.

Paulafv
09-01-2007, 12:09 PM
Just another critter to keep an eye on...Thanks for the heads up, so to speak.

Your egg tempera paintings remind me of the Wyeths' works from near your neck
of the woods. All nice. Love the goldenrod with the Monarch. (That's probably like saying anywhere in NE is my neck of the woods.)