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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Removing damar varnishApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2016-11-11 09:59:36 ... Most recent comment 2016-11-12 22:20:00
    Art Conservation Topics Varnishes Rigid Supports
    Please give your suggestion on how to safely remove damar varnish, light touch up,  transfer canvas to aluminum support. Oil painting, 50 x 40", 30 years old

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerThis is a great question.....for the clarification of other forum readers can you please first confirm whether this is a painting that you have created yourself?
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-11-11 11:03:20
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerAs I recently learned on another forum that this IS in fact a painting that you have made yourself we are happy to provide some information here. First we HIGHLY recommend that you work closely alongside a conservator when moving forward with removing or reducing the dammar varnish. That can be both a wonderful experience for you both you as an artist as well as the conservator as you can both learn a lot from one another. As for touching can decide on your own whether or not you would want the conservator to do this or if you wanted to do this yourself. Totally up to you as this is truly YOUR work of art. As for transferring your painting onto a rigid support, this is ALWAYS risky to do after the fact once the painting has been completed. We do have some information about how to proceed with this in our "Rigid Supports" document but we highly recommend that you work closely with a professionally trained conservator and using a heated vacuum table....too many things can go wrong and if you have devoted a tremendous amount of time to creating the painting it is not worth the risk in trying to do it yourself. Please consult the "Find a Conservator" search engine through the American Institute for Conservation's website (the link is listed below). BE SURE to check whether the conservator has either a degree from a recognized training program or at least holds Professional Associate or Fellow anyone can join and be a member. This will ensure your painting will fall into good hands.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-11-11 14:55:50
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentFor your information, I painted this Rafael reproduction in 1988, oil on linen, 50 x 30". There is minor cracking from fluctuation in humidity. I felt removing the varnish would remove the cracks. I am interested in mounting the painting on aluminum composit panel. Will mounting the painting on aluminum stop the fluctuation? Thank you.
    2016-11-11 17:18:11
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentIt is difficult to make this assessment without looking at the painting in person (members will have the ability to attach images in the future) but removing varnish does not necessarily mean you will remove cracks. Can you see the ground peaking through in the cracks or are the cracks only within the varnish layer? Mounting the painting to a rigid support (which may or may not be aluminum) will certainly help to mitigate movement of the canvas, sizing, ground, and paint layers to a significant degree and therefore help to reduce the formation of planar deformation, cracks, and possible flaking/delamination. If your painting is currently not located in the US please let us know and we can look into locating a conservator where ever your painting currently resides. Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-11-11 17:55:24
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentThank you Kristin deGhetaldi. The cracks appear to be within the varnish. My Painting is located in Baja Caliornia Sur, Mexico. The two largest towns near us are in Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, BCS, Mx. Thank you for helping me locate a Conservator. Lizzie Crookham
    2016-11-13 14:17:56

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