Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Scratching a painting to clean it? Restoring an oil painting.

What would you say if I told you we had to scratch a painting to clean it? Here's an interesting article about a very hard varnish on kind of a weird cool painting.

Click here:

Questions about art conservation and restoration? Call Scott at 805 564 3438
Fine art appraisal Questions? Call Richard at 805 895 5121

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How much does it cost to clean a painting? See video

I'm asked this question all the time over the phone. Sight unseen, there is supposed to be, I assume, a standard, per sq. inch price! Sorry... it's much more complicated than that.

Here's an interesting video of a cleaning we did of two important pictures that were by the same artist, same size but very different to clean. Take a look: 

Cleaning a painting by Armin Hansen from the Monterey Museum of Art
Art conservation/restoration questions? Call Scott Haskins at 805 564 3438
Art appraisal questions? Call Richard at 805 895 5121
See our YouTube Channel at "bestartdoc"

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Discovering Secrets of Revealing Inpainting (Retouchings) on Art and Antiques with a UV Black light - TIPS!

Here’s a very useful tip for art collectors who use a black light. Using a blacklight is part of your investing survival techniques and technology! Everyone should use a black light when inspecting and evaluating art and antiques.
This painting is leaving the lab today, after we repaired a rip in the center of the painting. It poses an interesting uv light inspection problem though… its a night scene.

Retouching shoing up with a blacklight
New inpainting/retouchings show up bright with a UV black light

As you can see in the photo, even though its been cleaned, it still glows green. That’s because night scenes have lots of varnish usually in the paint. So, if you see a night scene glowing green when you shine your black light on it, it MAY not be because of old varnish!
One good thing about this though; the green glow makes it easier to pick out inpainting or retouchings. And this photo is a great example:
Note the purple nature of the composition of the painting. How do you tell the difference between a purple glowing original detail and the same purpleness of a retouching? Look to see if the purple color pattern follows the painting’s compositional details. If it cuts through details of the painting, its surely a repair… as in this painting.
Also note the careful exact way this inpainting was done. It was done with a small brush. That’s a hint that the conservation work/restoration work was conscientiously done.
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For more info on black lights, tips and fun videos, go to
Conservation questions? Call Scott at 805 564 3438
Appraisal questions? Call Richard at 805 895 5121
See YouTube Channel “bestartdoc”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sneak Peak In The Art Conservation Lab This Week

Art conservation treatments this week in the lab show handling large paintings and working on the hot table.
Large paintings need special handling to make sure the paint is not stressed (this is a 3' diameter tube):
Large paintings on large diameter rolls
and... doing structural work on two paintings. The closest one needed previous restorations removed and then a new  "lining" to correct and stabilize cracking. The second did not require undoing previous restorations but needed a consolidation and warmth to stabilize flaking.
Oriana Montemurro Working on two paintings
See some of our cool videos on YouTube at our channel "bestartdoc"
Conservation questions? Call Scott Haskins 805 564 3438
Fine appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121
Are you an art collector? Go to

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Watercolor with Mold Has An Interesting Story -

I think this is one of those art conservation stories that’s particularly interesting to art collectors:  I was called one day to look at a framed watercolor by Edouard Vysekal that had mold on it. Turns out that the lady who called was the 84 year old niece of the artist, a well know California artist for whom an exhibition is being organized, right now, at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA). See the photos, read the story, learn about the exhibition at 

Scott M. Haskins

Friday, July 8, 2011

How To Archive Family Photos Cheaply, Easily and Have Fun

Wow! Now I get to walk my talk. We just "inherited" a big box full of my grandfather's family photos. "One more thing in my life to organize?" might be the lament... Oh, c'mon, its not that bad... it can even be cheap, fun and fast to put them into archival storage. See quick video at

Too much to do? It can be quick fun and easy.

Inheriting family photos happens to most everyone sooner or later... it even happens to me, Scott Haskins, author of "How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster"