Encaustic Paintings Repair – What a privilege…!
I had the privilege to be asked to repair two encaustic paintings in the autumn, which proved to be one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered yet.
Back in the summer, I was contacted by a lady from a company in London, who had two pieces of corporate art, which had sustained some damage and wear and tear, they needed tidying up, and could I do anything with them…?
After some communications establishing exactly what medium they were, and what damage was sustained, we reached the point I said I’d take a look at them, no promises, I’d see what I could do.
I had received the dimensions, so shouldn’t have been so surprised when two tall men from Oak Fine Art delivery service shuffled them up the pathway to my studio… In my head, I’d imagined them to be half the size they were… my error completely, at 183cm long, and 122cm wide, we got them up the stairs with a few inches to spare…!
After quite some deliberation about these extremely large paintings, what to do with them, and how to handle them; we leant them up against the table, opened one up, took a peek, and they left me to it…
These paintings were BEAUTIFUL… but I was massively nervous about them, kicking myself that I hadn’t thought about the size of them more carefully. They needed two people to move them, they were too big for my eight seater table, I’d have to lay them on the floor…
I was in the studio on my own, and I was left wondering if I’d bitten off a bit more than I could chew…!
I googled the artist, Hiro Yokose, and had a second minor breakdown, these were extremely valuable paintings, I had everything racing through my mind, from they won’t be covered by my insurance, to I could devalue them by even trying to repair them, (I had visions of the elderly lady who tried to restore 19th Century fresco with disastrous results!!)
Luckily good friend Sunil was in his studio, so I had a sounding board to do the “OH MY LIFE, YOU’LL NEVER GUESS WHAT I’VE GOT MYSELF INTO” moments which I will treasure and chuckle about for many years to come I am sure…!!!
After regaining control of myself, I collected the children from school, went home and contacted the lady who had shipped them to me…
We arranged to speak the next morning. She was lovely, happy for me to proceed; aesthetics to enable them to be hung in their reception area was important for her, so I agreed to test a repair on a small inconspicuous area and let her know how it went.
Nothing prepared me for what I was met with upon arrival at my studio the next day… Breakdown number three…
Before I tell you what happened, you need to know a little background to these particular paintings…
They had been shipped some years earlier from the States to the UK in a container, and stored in a variety of unsuitable locations, over a course of thirteen years.
They had been painted on canvas, stretched taut over a wooden board, and finished off with clear beeswax.
(I create my work on solid supports, which does not allow the same movement of the wax as this stretched canvas did.)
They had been stored in bubble wrap over the course of the summer, something not really recommended for encaustic paintings.
Anyhow, all this movement over time, combined with sweating in bubble wrap over the summer, then encountering the autumnal night air in my studio, took its toll…
Much like a chip in a window screen when it turns icy, I arrived at my studio the next morning to find the painting had cracked in multiple places across the whole of the painting. YOU CAN IMAGINE MY REACTION…!
I was SO pleased I had been in touch the evening before the damage occurred. I broke the news of the additional damage over the phone… and after some lengthy discussion, we let the challenge of the repairs begin…
The shortened version ends here with this photo and feedback….
“I just want to say how pleased I am with the encaustic restoration work you carried out. The paintings are now framed and hanging in our reception and they look superb. Definitely worth the wait and the effort. I attach a photo of them now they are hung.”
and the expectation that my paintings could be getting A LOT bigger in 2017…! ;D