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Seeing in Different Ways: A Liz Magor Backpack Project
Seeing in Different Ways:
A Liz Magor Backpack Project

Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 2)

Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)
Why Paper Discolours (Part 1)

Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum
Mending a Tear in an Aboriginal Drum

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)
Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 3)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 2)

Distortions and Dimensional Changes
in Paper (Part 1)

After treatment
Oscar Cahén: Innovative Conservation
for an Innovative Artist

Rigid Water Gels: New Treatment Options for Paper Conservators

Structural Remedies for Canvas Paintings

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 4: Digital-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 3: Photo-based Material

Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 2: Paper-based Material

First Steps
Organizing and Preserving Collections - Part 1: The First Steps

Natural Dyes
The Use of Natural Dyes in Textile Conservation

A Relocation Project

Challenges of Preserving Contemporary Artwork

Preserve Your Investment through Art Conservation

A Project Completed: Heritage Preserved

Old and New Methods for Cleaning Paintings

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I? Part 2

I Can See Clearly Now – Or Can I?

The E.J. Hughes Mural: An Expanded Project

Is She or Is She Not an Emily

Treating Art with Sensitive Media

Malaspina Mural: An Update

For the Artist: Testing Your Materials

Conservator as Art Historian

Alum Sizing and the Art of W.J. Phillips

Treatment of an Elizabeth Keith Wood Block Print

Structural Treatment of an Emily Carr

The Treatment of a Monumental Wall Hanging

Changing Images

Preserving a Rare Record

Gold Leaf: Imitation and Genuine

The Case Against Canvas Backings

Heritage Colours: Research Discovers Original Colours

Lighting Your Art: Balancing Seeing and Protecting

The Double-Sided Emily Carr Painting

Choosing a Period Picture Frame

How to Identify a Picture Frame

Stretching Canvas and Restretching Artwork

Mounting Textiles

Aging Paintings:
Some Causes and Effects

Chine Collé Prints

What's Your Favourite Color?

Backing Removals

Rips, Holes and Tears

Filling in the Gaps

DIY – Preventative Care of Paintings

Frame it Right

Fire, Water and Smoke-Damaged Paintings

Inherent Vice

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Moldy Paper

Conserving Time

Conserving Paper: Dos and Don'ts

Repair of Textiles

Conserving Wood

Rescuing Endangered Murals

Repairing Acid-Matte Burn

Art Services & Materials
Exhibition Openings & Events

  Conservation Corner Back

Saturated Problems:
A Water-Damaged Painting

Canadian Pacific Conservators,
Vancouver BC
June 2001 - August 2001

Before treatment

Paintings are constructed with many differing materials and expressive methods. Panels, canvas, paper, ivory, metal and walls often support this creative imagery. Other materials and mediums used for painting may include tempera, oil, acrylic, fresco, encaustic, forms of mixed media. An artistís individual technique and interpretation for using materials will influence not only the aesthetic character of the artwork, it will also affect how the artwork will age and respond to the conditions of display, storage, or accidental duress. Paintings and their composite materials will have their own individual response when subjected to moisture and water damage. Paintings on wood panels or boards may develop cracks, warp, or split. Canvas supports may develop wave-like distortion, or lay slack upon its wood stretcher. Water may seep into the fine cracks of a paint layer and result in weakening or dissolving the underlying layers of the artwork.

After treatment

Paint layers and mixed media will swell and shrink with potential to crack, or, separate and detach from the support. High humidity encourages fungal infestation and rabbit skin glue used on canvas paintings can provide a feast to support bacterial growth. Generally speaking, materials swell or expand when in contact with water or with the increase of moisture in the environment. Conversely, when the moisture or water decreases, the materials dry and shrink. This expansion and shrinkage of materials may cause more damage when it occurs in repeated cycles. As an artwork ages, its structure will become less resilient to changes, and more sensitive to its environment. Damage to artwork may result from the inadvertent, purposeful or gradual activity of water in variable quantities. Damp rooms, drips, flooding, fires and rain, are some sources for high humidity and water damage. This articleís photographs reveal an amateur remedy for repairing slack canvases by spraying the verso side of a painting with water mist. This ìrepairî can cause distortion and potentially severely damage the artwork. Controlled conservation treatment gently reverted the distortion and the visual imagery of the painting was regained. For more information about water saturation problems, visit Conservation OnLine at aic.stanford.edu

Previous issue: Mouldy Paper
Next issue: Inherent vice: unstable media

 Fri, Feb 1, 2008