Flaking on Paintings 3 good tips for art collectors by Eleanor Nelson, Guest BloggerFlaking paint may start in quantities too small to see. In this way it can be aproblem that is easy to miss, and exacerbate. The natural (even well-intentioned) urge to clean a painting tends, unfortunately, to manifest inwiping the surface down. This should never be done, whether the cloth usedis wet or dry. A damp cloth can cause canvas to expand and contract whichleads to further flaking and result in damage rather quickly.Even a dry cloth, however, can do damage. Areas of flaking that only atrained conservator would spot may only need the encouragement of a sweepof a rag to begin dropping away. If you see flaking, it is best to not touchthe affected area at all. When a problem arises, there can be enormoustemptation to use our hands to try and solve it – even seasoned art expertscan be guilty of touching paintings they know will flake. Each bit of flakingincreases the time – and money - that will have to be spent on the project.The more that can be preserved, the better the chances are that the painting’svalue will not drop too much.Unfortunately, people may think they are being extra helpful by usingcleaning solutions or solvents to clean a grubby painting. Never do this!Leave it to the professionals! Conservators train long and hard to learn theextremely complicated processes of cleaning works with solvents and evenwith training each piece requires the meticulous use of very small quantitiesof these powerful chemicals. Someone without training could damage apainting and impact its value very quickly indeed.
Finally, if you have noticed cracking or flaking, check to see if the piece isbeing exposed to a heat source like heating vents… even fireplaces, whicharen’t used very much for heating these days but are still favorite places tohang paintings, are a less-obvious threat and so could feasibly cause moredamage over time.If you have found us because a similar situation has already happened, don’tdespair. The good news is that the below references are trained professionalsand the purpose of their job is, more often than not, erasing life’s mistakeslarge and small.For a news article featuring Scott M. Haskins, art conservator, Click here: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/media-‐room/art-‐restorerconservator-‐scott-‐m-‐haskins-‐featured-‐in-‐life-‐section-‐of-‐newspaper/ For art conservation and painting restoration questions call Scott M. Haskins805 564 3438 or firstname.lastname@example.orgFor art appraisal questions call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121 email@example.comSee short videos by Scott M. Haskins on art conservation related subjects atYouTube channel “Bestartdoc”http://www.youtube.com/user/bestartdoc?feature=mheeSee short do-it-yourself videos on collection care and emergencypreparedness for art collectors, family history items, heirlooms, memorabiliaat Youtube Channel “preservationcoach”http://www.youtube.com/user/preservationcoachFollow us on FacebookFine Art ConservationSave Your StuffScott M. Haskins