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Old 07-14-2003, 03:25 PM
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Termini. Termini. is offline
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Restoration of Mary's dress

Hi everyone, I thought that I would share some of my restoration work. This very old painting was vandalized, by some kids, involving a tear in the canvas, that was about 18 inches long, through the center of the canvas. The church hired a restorer, or a person who claimed to be. He soaked part of the painting in water, in an attempt to soften the canvas, and bring both sides of the tear together. Not sure if he had bats in his belfry. Well the old canvas shrunk very rapidly, causing the paint film to detach from the support in hundreds of small areas, and some outright fell off. The "restorer" then went to lunch, never to be seen again. I was later asked to fix it, and after losing approximately 1/4 inch of my hair line, and thanks to WN paints, and other materials, I fixed it, the best that I could. I will post a before and after set of images. I hope I haven't bored anyone

Jim T
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Old 07-14-2003, 03:26 PM
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This is after I did the repair

Jim T
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Old 07-14-2003, 04:44 PM
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hey thats pretty cool. is a "restorer" a full time job? nice work
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Old 07-14-2003, 04:47 PM
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Wow, Jim, that was one heck of a restoration job.

Jamie
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Old 07-14-2003, 05:03 PM
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Verdaccio Verdaccio is offline
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WOW! That is a nice job.

Can you describe how you fixed the tear and did the paint restoration?
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For there are many who say that they have mastered the profession without having served under masters. Do not believe it, for I give you the example of this book: even if you study it by day and by night, if you do not see some practice under some master you will never amount to anything, nor will you ever be able to hold your head up in the company of masters.
Cennino D'Andrea Cennini - "Il Libro dell' Arte."
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Old 07-14-2003, 07:56 PM
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Wow !! Do please tell us how you fixed that tear !! Great job

Tina
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Old 07-14-2003, 10:38 PM
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Thanks for the comments everyone.

MphstO- I don't do restoration work that often, This just came upon me, via a quirk of fate. I posted an image of the type of stuff I normally do, last week in the Open Critique Forum, here at Wet Canvas, entitled Triptych. I think that it is on the 2nd or 3rd page now. If you look, don't mind the nude icon, as the Baby Jesus, has no diaper on.

Jamie, Michael and Tina. I first started by studying the painting. I used a flashlight iin the dark to examine the construction of the paint film. Also studied the chips, which although damaged, gave clues. I Noticed that it was done in glazes, many layers thick. I then photographed the painting as a reference, in case of more damage as restoration took place. I then painted a test image, on prepared oak board, to experiment and establish values, and color (I will attach the test image). I determined the colors, and made extensive notes. I then removed the old varnish, and reattached as much of the paint film as I could. The flaking area that had been wet, in the image, was almost entirely destroyed. The pieces just collapsed from the support. The reference images were crucial, as a major portion of the finished product has none of the original paint film, in the damaged areas. I fixed the tear by patching the painting from the reverse of the canvas. I used a pretty decent quality cotton duck, applied it with an acrylic glue, and wax paper, applied about 100lbs pressure, until dry I chose not to remove from the old stretcher, due to the arched shape of the stretcher, and that the rest of the painting was fine, and the tension was fine. Further, the tear frayed, so it couldn't be put back together accurately. Instead, after the patch was applied, I diligently primed and gessoed the new canvas (patch) from the front. I then shaved off any damaged paint/fray, surrounding the tears, and flake spots, gessoed several times, built up low spots with acrylic thickening medium, and then filled further with layered alkyd paints (Prussian Blue-For dark underpainting), starting with thin layers, and then getting thicker, until the surface area of all the damaged areas was above the original paint film, in between each layer, waited till dry to compensate for minor shrinkage. I did overpaint the original film, slightly for continuity. I chose not to use wax. I then sanded the raised areas smooth with 600 grit sandpaper, very time consuming, until the filled in areas were level with the original paint film. At this point. I painted an image underpainting in the various colors, representing the various objects. The fashion of this underpainting, was similar to Michael's Verdaccio technique, establishing values using different colors for the monochrome, however. Ie-on the dress, underpainted with cobalt blue, and a touch of Veridian, then highlighted with titanium white, established the values, as the lightest areas were almost white, and then used prussian blue to establish the dark values. In keeping with the original. After this I glazed the dress with prussian blue, in thin glazes to take the tone down to that of the surrounding areas, and also match the original color, probably 20 thinly colored glazes. I also adjusted from time to time, in the light areas, with zinc white. Did a similar procedure with all of the colors. I don't think that I could have done the image alla prima. After the image was suitable, I waited for the drying, to adjust for any darkening, made many minor adjustments. Had lists of up to 300 things, at times, that needed minor corrections. Upon completion of the image, I applied numerous thin glazes over the entire painting, the later of witch were slightly tinted, to unify the entire painting. 6 months after this, Damar. It took the better part of a year from start to finish.

Jim T
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Last edited by Termini. : 07-14-2003 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 07-14-2003, 11:45 PM
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Forgot to mention that the last image above, is the test image that I painted, before I started on the repair.

Jim T
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Old 07-15-2003, 04:35 PM
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excellent work Jim...what a patient man!! thanks for sharing this...after all the time you spent on this AND your beautiful triptych you DO win the patient award!!
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Old 07-15-2003, 04:48 PM
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Exclamation

your style is quite a science. i hopee they paid you well...
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Old 07-16-2003, 10:14 AM
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Thanks Cathleen, MphstO, actually, I am not a very patient person. In fact, I am probably the most impatient person you will ever meet, or close to it. It seems that oils have taught me patience. I formerly worked in acrylics, and tempera because I liked the drying times. Could knock out a painting in a week, or less. With oils, they are more tempermental. They dry whenever they are ready, and there is a limit to how fast I can push some of them. It is a matter that I must accept that a passage is wet, and there is nothing I can do. Everytime I don't remember this they punish me. In order to stay sane, I have to keep a lot of them going at once.


Jim T



SCIENCE, DID SOMEBODY SAY SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!
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Last edited by Termini. : 07-16-2003 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 07-16-2003, 10:32 AM
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Jim:

Thanks for the info! I figured that you used a linen patch from the back, but I was curious about how you filled the front surface to make it all even again.

I think you did an admirable job and I sure hope they were happy with your work.

[whisper]PSST: Jim, Maroger dries almost overnight... [/whisper]
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For there are many who say that they have mastered the profession without having served under masters. Do not believe it, for I give you the example of this book: even if you study it by day and by night, if you do not see some practice under some master you will never amount to anything, nor will you ever be able to hold your head up in the company of masters.
Cennino D'Andrea Cennini - "Il Libro dell' Arte."
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Old 07-16-2003, 10:46 AM
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Felica Keech-Smith Felica Keech-Smith is offline
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Lovely work Jim! I wouldn't even know where to start.. would scare me silly to think about even trying it... (even WITH your wonderfully detailed plan). Most admiral of you Jim. And, as others said... I sure hope the payment was quite substantial.... looks like you've earned it!

(oh.. and.. even with that grimmace... you're quite a handsome devil too...lol!)




Oh... and Michael.. now you've REALLY got me interested in trying marogers!.. I was curious about it's drying time after reading your techniques....thanks for the "whisper"..lol

Last edited by Felica Keech-Smith : 07-16-2003 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 07-16-2003, 01:07 PM
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Fascinating stuff Trank! I've had so many questions about restoration! Not only did you do an amazing job of preserving this painting but you've also done a great job of explaining the process. Thanks.
Cheryl
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Old 07-16-2003, 03:45 PM
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Wow! Amazing work! I've always been curious about restoration work. Made for a very interesting read!
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