"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." This is week thirty-seven of the Pancakes & French Fries William Morris Project, happening every thursday in 2012.
Several years ago, I bought this painting at an estate sale silent auction. When I saw it, I immediately bid on it, simply because I loved the frame. I figured it was worth it. When I brought it home, my husband was very confused. "Tell me again, why did you buy a ripped painting?" he asked as I busied myself with properly hanging it up in the living room. I loved it. The rips didn't bother me, in fact, they just added to the age and character of the piece. Fast forward a few kids and a couple moves later, the quaint rips have become gaping holes, and the small bit of research I have done suggests the painting and frame are worth restoring.
By all accounts, the restoration of an oil painting is a lengthy and tedious process, so I will take it one step at a time. This should allow a few weeks at least to ingest the necessary chemistry and art history needed to certify myself qualified to do the job. I will major in Art Conservation the Good Will Hunting way.
Step one: a work surface.I was given an awesome workbench from a friend, so I set about clearing a space for it in the garage.
To motivate myself, I ordered some oil painting conditioner from BL Haymond Supply, to soften the brittle canvas. This will allow me to flatten it out, and reline the back of it, so that the tears can be mended and inpainted from the front.
For starters, there are a few dozen mason jars full of fasteners that are currently mounted to strips of wood and sitting on the work surface. I made a plan to reattach the jars to one larger piece of wood, and hang it above the window, out of the way, but easy to reach. I found this great plank of wood in the basement.
I used a few scraps to hang a support system from the rafters. This will serve double duty as a wood rack for all my random pieces of trim that are laying around. The new mason jar board will hang from the shelf supports. I say will, because I didn't finish it. The plan was to have everything done and photographed today, but life happens and I needed to watch White Collar and eat ice cream last night instead. Sorry! I do have a plan though, and since it is halfway done, I am way more likely to finish it!
Bet your bottom dollar my garage will look like this soon:
The goal is to have a work surface that I can reline my painting upon, and a garage that is easy to navigate. The first step is always the hardest, right? I sure hope so.
Canning jam & baking bread, Alice
See the other weeks of
The William Morris Project