Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ever Heard of the Mission Inn in Riverside CA?

Ever heard of the Mission Inn in Riverside CA? I love this place! I think of it kind of like a Hearst Castle but you can stay there. Its got the same kind of feel to it though the appearance of the property isn't similar. If you already know about the Mission Inn, you may find this info interesting:

Our lab has worked on (preserving, restoring) the hundreds of paintings around the Mission Inn and designed and planned exhibits and placements in the public areas. We still do work for them and consult. The photo is of the Spanish Art Gallery, a favorite place for receptions, is full of Spanish Colonial Paintings. There are some great works of art to be seen including a major work by William Keith and the original series of 38 paintings of the Missions of California by Henry Chapman Ford from 1870's.

Go to missioninn.com and try Googling "Spanish Art Gallery" and "St. Cecilia's Chapel". Poke around. You'll see what I mean about it being a fun place, romantic and the food is very good too.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Careless handling and an 18 inch scratch. What did we do about it?

There's nothing that makes you feel dumber than carelessly handling something valuable, like a painting, and then damaging it. In this case, the result was a big ol' 18 inch scratch. The insult to injury is the cost to repair the damage... and maybe even some loss of value!

So, why does it cost $400 instead of $50? Well, we take some conservation quality adhesive/consolidant and we apply it with a tiny brush. We inspect the damage with a magnifier to see that its going where we are intending it to go. Then we make sure any flakes are well adhered so we don't loose any original paint. Then we "inpaint" or touch up the lost or damaged paint with a tiny brush to make sure we don't overstep the damaged area. We put paint only where the damage is. We DO NOT repaint a bush to camouflage a scratch. Then we apply, in the case of this painting, some varnish (non yellowing) along the repair to bring the shine to match the original paint.

Have a question about the appraisal? Go www.faclappraisal.com and speak with Richard Holgate (805) 895 5121

Monday, December 21, 2009

Look at this rip! Want to see some magic?!

This rip, on the left, was kind-a ugly: Ripped when the nail gave way and it fell off the wall. See entry at our other blog (www.savemystuff.blogspot.com). It ripped the fibers and got uglier when the fibers frayed.

So we turned it over and, under magnification, the fibers were realigned and rewoven. Then the ends of the fibers were "re-welded" back together. The photo on the right is the back of the rip after the "re-welding" and readhering of the ends back together. Nice, huh?

Even though the rip looks great and is now flat, the stress from the impact will result, in the future, in a disfiguring spiderweb or bull's eye type cracking pattern. So this painting will be lined to keep that from happening.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Does Homeland Defense Have To Do With Saving Your Stuff?!

Well, Homeland Defense is interested in being prepared for disasters... or the government's response to disasters... and being prepared for emergency situations. I was in New Orleans last year at a Hurricane Preparedness Conf. for government office managers and several 1st responders told be that after Katrina, they couldn't even get emergency services personnel back to work immediately because they were home taking care of their families. OK, that's logical. But then they were surprised to find out that the return to work was delayed because they were gathering, organizing and "saving their stuff." Some personnel didn't return to work for two weeks!!

So, obviously, being prepared with your letters, photos, family bible and other items that can't be replaced is important to how a person responds or is useful AFTER the disaster... for the sake of how useful that person can be... not just for the sake of preserving memories.

Check out Homeland Security Outlook, our latest Affiliate for www.saveyourstuff.com! We'll implement my proposal to them next week. http://www.hsoutlook.com/index.php

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Cleaning Lady And Her Damp Rag!

Perhaps you saw the previous flaking painting that was caused by the cleaning lady wiping down the painting every once in awhile with a damp rag. Well, here's another example! This is so sad because it is so avoidable.

Don't use more than your feather duster to keep webs off. The only thing worse than a damp rag would be to spray the surface first with a cleaner.

Besides causing flaking, damp rags also make varnish layers cloud up (called blooming)... very unsightly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Can you clean artwork with a potato and onion? This was ALREADY cleaned once!

Can you believe that someone already restored this painting and cleaned it in the process?! I have actually been asked if cleaning a painting's dirty varnish and grime is done with a slice of potato! That's right... I've also been asked if a slice of onion works. (sigh... unbelievable...) Ok, here are a couple of tips besides DON'T use a slice of potato or onion (they'll encourage mold and bacteria in the cracks of your artwork... and they don't work): Don't ever use an off the shelf cleaner (ie 409, Windex etc.). So actually my tip is not how to do it... its what NOT to do if you value your artwork! More artwork is damaged by inept cleaning than any other source of damage! (there sure are a lot of exclamation points in the blog entry... sorry!)

Look at the difference in this varnish and crud removal! Wow... we do this all the time and WE are still surprised to see the beautiful color unveiled and appear from the depths below.

Connect with us on Facebook at
"Fine Art Conservation",
"Art Conservation",
"Tips for Art Collectors",
and see what you can do at home at www.saveyourstuffblog.com

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Book Download Available - Affiliate Program Underway

In last 3 days,  3 Affiliates have signed up with saveyourstuff.com that will help redistribute the "save your stuff message" of emergency preparation info (which I provide to them for free) to about 20 mill in their industries. This kind of info, on a corporate or office level is part of having a Disaster Plan, a mandate of the Homeland Security Dept.

On the saveyourstuff.com website, an expanded 1st edition version of my book, "How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster" is now available for download. In addition (and I'm excited about this) each of the chapters can be purchased and downloaded individually if a customer doesn't want the whole book.

This information of saving and protecting your treasured documents and photos is something people feel at the "heart level" at home or in the office. Would you please send the message of this blog entry (copy and paste the URL... or the entire entry) along to those you know? While most of us are not in the throws of a disaster right now, this info could be greatly appreciated in the upcoming months.

The three new affiliates are:
Homeland Security Outlook (www.hsoutlook.com)
Rayanne Thorn of the Human Resource Industry
SBDC's Informatiuon Clearing House http://sbdcnet.ning.com/

All my best and thanks for sending this message along to others.
Scott M. Haskins

Friday, December 11, 2009

George Washington Is In The House!

By far, the most famous portraits of George Washington were done by Gilbert Stewart at the end of the 1700's. Its kind of cool to see one up close and personal... even better to massage it. We got to put our fingers all over this one by giving it a light surface cleaning, a couple of spots of touch up (inpaint) and a new varnish. Now he's all prettied up for the holidays!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Cleaning Lady Was Knocking The Paint Off!!!

Can you see where the cleaning lady was knocking paint off when she dusted? Sometimes paint peels up and flakes off in tiny patterns and unless you are looking for them, you won't notice until its too late. If too much original paint is lost, you will loose value. You can always have it repaired... but it may loose value just the same.

Here's a tip for your cleaning lady: Don't touch the art work! Don't wipe down (dust) the frames with a damp rag.

BTW, I like this picture. I'm drawn to the illustration art from back in the 1930's through the 1950's that Norman Rockwell made so famous. This is not a Rockwell but as you can see, there were other great artists.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Watch out for your cleaning lady! Paintings don't like damp rags.

There are several places on this painting that are flaking in small pin point patterns. This is typical of paint layers that are wiped with damp rags... repeatedly. Finishes on frames also don't react well! I cleaned a gorgeous California landscape from the 1920's by John Gamble once upon a time; a $45k picture with coastline and poppies that was otherwise in perfect condition. About 10 years later, it returned to my lab and it was flaking everywhere in these small pin point patterns. A completely avoidable situation not to mention the loss of value. In the case of the painting in this photo, what more dangerous spot to have flaking than the signature!?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Look how dirty this is...

What if you didn't wash you kitchen walls for 100 years? What would they look like? Then add to that, dirty heating systems in houses like coal burning furnaces and wood stoves. THEN, add to that smokers and there you have my best guess on why a painting would be SO dirty! Actually, you could add on top of that multiple layers discoloring varnishes also.

This owner, bought this gray picture because he knew it was supposed to have brighter colors originally and paid a hugely discounted price. His investment in a proper cleaning was rewarded with the great change in appearance that he was expecting.

A day in the life in our lab... fun discoveries!