Cleaning a Canvas using Conservation Materials

When it comes to cleaning a canvas, especially one many years old and covered with nicotine and varnish, the job is quite time consuming.  Also, some varnishes are more difficult to remove, due to the mixes used with the varnish, which makes it even more time consuming.  One person said “oh I can do it myself.  I saw it on the internet.”  I said “I don’t think you want to try that.  You may end up with a damaged piece of art.”  Several steps have to take place from removing dirt and grime, and in some cases, smoke residue because the art was hung over a fireplace that used “real logs”, which creates smoke and so on.  Then there is nicotine, which over time, yellows the art, until you really don’t know what the original colors were.  In some cases, the nicotine is so think, it comes off in small globs.  Then there is the removal of the varnish, which can take several steps to loosen the varnish, then to remove it.  When I give a price for what has to be done to clean the art to bring it back to life, some decide to leave it as it is, but if they could see the refurbished art, they would change their minds…. but until it is cleaned and re-varnished, using non yellowing conservation varnish, those people won’t know how good it originally looked and why they or their ancestors purchased it.  I say, cleaning a canvas art, puts back the love into it for the person who now owns it.  If you have questions or need a quote, bring it into the gallery because I need to see what needs to be done.  Shown is an original painting partially cleaned and showing the nicotine stains.

Art Gallery of the Rockies, 5039 N Academy Blvd, at Union, Union Square, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 719 260 1873

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