Restoration of Art Cleaning With Saliva Wins Harvard’s Chemistry Ig Nobel Prize for 2018

Painting conservation and cleaning artifacts with saliva is hard-pressed humor from Harvard. The tongue in cheek award was reported in “Chemistry World” which has been given out since 1991 and is called the Ig® Nobel Prize”, “For achievements that first make people LAUGH then make them THINK”

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The award is not for a traffic stopping discovery… its been part of the restoration processes, probably, for millennia. This year’s chemistry Ig Nobel prize has been awarded for showing that human saliva is a good cleaning agent for paintings and historical artifacts.

Paula Romão, Adília Alarcão and César Viana’s, three Portuguese conservation scientists, showed in their 1990 paper how they measured saliva’s effectiveness at removing dirt from antique gilded sculptures. It is also used for many other artifacts including paintings. They acknowledged that saliva is often used as a cleaning solvent when working with delicate materials such as gold leaf and ceramics.

“I know that it seems quite improbable, but human saliva is indeed an effective cleaning agent for surfaces like paintings, sculptures and gilded wood. But don’t try to use it on your kitchen counters,” Romão said in an acceptance video that was played at the awards ceremony at Harvard University.  “The cleaning action is in part due to an enzyme in saliva, α-amylase, which breaks down starch into simple sugars.”

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Painting Conservator Oriana Monemurro, in the photos, who has discovered through small sampling tests, that that the gray on the painting is most safely removed with saliva, especially in the areas of the flowers which seem to be the most sensitive to cleaning.

The ancient Roman, Plini the Elder, philosopher, art historian is reported to have declared that more works of art have been damaged by inept over-aggressive cleaning that all the floods, fires, volcanoes and earthquakes in the history of the world. He was well acquainted with disasters; he died in a pyroclastic ocean surge while trying to rescue friends from the erupting of Vesuvius in 79 ad. Saliva would have been a welcomed and acceptable safe method of cleaning to Plini.

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More interesting research taking up the time of Harvard research students and perhaps their grant monies, the Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded annually to celebrate improbable scientific research across a variety of disciplines. Among this year’s winners are Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, who were awarded the medicine prize for using roller coaster rides to hasten the passage of kidney stones, and an international team who won the biology prize for demonstrating that wine experts can smell the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine.

For interesting short painting restoration videos of stories and processes click here for the YouTube channel of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories.

Questions? Call Art Conservators Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon, Scott M. Haskins at 805 564 3438 faclartdoc@gmail.com

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An Art Restoration Company with an entrepreneurial spirit” Tom Antion interviews Scott M. Haskins

Screw the Commute podcast episode featuring Tom Antion, one of the most successful Internet marketers in the world interviews Scott M. Haskins, Entrepreneur, Fine Art Conservator (an internationally renowned painting restoration firm that provides a variety of professional services, including disaster response for art and murals) and Author of the Save Your Stuff Series, of which over 10,000 copies have been distributed to help people save their valuable stuff like collectibles, artwork, family keepsakes, etc at home.

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“This guy has an art restoration company

with an entrepreneurial spirit”

Tom Antion interviews Scott M. Haskins

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Access this episode’s unique page with show notes, transcript and other goodies: https://screwthecommute.com/24

Here is the Content of the podcast

[02:19] Tom’s introduction to Scott M. Haskins

[03:11] What Scott does for art conservation

[04:41] Wannabee and authentic paintings

[08:24] His regular University job

[10:33] A turn in the economy and technology

[14:37] Avoid getting screwed in business

[16:02] Natural disasters and insurance

[18:00] Bizarre and funny stuff in this business

[21:06] Best and worst things about working for yourself

[22:14] What Scott offers today

[25:11] Tom was worth $79!

[26:00] Sponsor message

[26:37] A typical day for Scott

[31:30] Parting thoughts for us Screwballs

Scott M. Haskins graduated in 1978 from the Italian government  (Lombardy Region – ENAIP) 3 year master’s degree level painting conservation program run in conjunction with the Istituto Centrale del Restauro (ICR) in Rome.

Between 1978 and 1984 Mr. Haskins established the painting conservation laboratory at Brigham Young University, in Utah, USA which also served the historical collection of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as they prepared to build two art museums.

In 1986, Mr. Haskins established Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL) in Santa Barbara, CA where they presently provide professional painting conservation services over a wide geographical region. FACL is also recognized and well known nationwide and internationally for art restoration work on murals. They consult on damaged art issues as an expert witness for the Los Angeles court system and for insurance companies, nationwide. FACL has a specialized division of disaster response services for art related items (wildfires, house fires, floods and mud slides, earthquakes etc).

He is the author of the best-selling book series, Save Your Stuff, collection care manuals for collectibles, heirlooms, family history items and is a speaker internationally on the subject. He is also the author of several blogs and has a presence on several social media sites. He often uses these assets to help small museums, foundations and historical sites fundraise.

For media on Scott M. Haskins’ click here: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/media-room/

The podcasts can be found on ALL of the major podcast directories, such as Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher, Blubrry, TuneIn, Spotify and many others. You can also play the latest episode of Screw the Commute with Amazon’s Echo devices (thanks to TuneIn) by saying “Alexa, play the Screw the Commute podcast”.

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Entrepreneurial Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

 

Higher Education Webinar – It’s the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars

Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/

Fine Art Conversation Laboratories – http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/

Collection Care Tips – http://collectioncaretips.com/

Save Your Stuff website – http://saveyourstuff.com/

Phone: 805-564-3438

Save Your Stuff – https://www.amazon.com/Scott-M.-Haskins/e/B001KC8PPY

Scott’s YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/bestartdoc

The Entrepreneurial Podcast and Tom

“Screw the Commute” is a podcast and private Facebook group designed to inspire you to start your own business and/or take the business you have to much higher levels. Tom Antion, our fearless leader, has never had a job. He’s always had his own business. Starting with nothing, he owned five apartment buildings and a hotel BEFORE graduating college.

Tom has actually been entrepreneurial since he was nine or ten years old. Tom’s dad came from Syria through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s, became an entrepreneur, made Tom into an entrepreneur, and Tom has helped thousands of people start, run and improve their own businesses.

A Hollywood documentary is in production about Tom that celebrates entrepreneurs, called “The American Entrepreneur” you can watch the trailer at Facebook and keep in touch because you are invited to the big online premiere party coming soon.

Please share this episode link far and wide: https://screwthecommute.com/24

Renowned Professional Art Restorer from Madrid, Spain Collaborates With California Lab On Smoke and Water Damage On Art Objects And On A Public Art Project Of A WPA Mural

By Flora Arguilla, Guest Blogger

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After meeting staff members from Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL) at the national annual conference for the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) in Chicago and a visit in Madrid and Toledo, Spain, renowned art restorer Julia Betancor was invited to come to FACL’s lab in Santa Barbara, CA to collaborate on several projects. She has expressed interest in FACL’s services that include preservation for art objects affected by disaster and the cleaning of these items. She has been previously involved with such conservation projects in Toledo and Madrid.

Here is a quick video about one of her projects: CLICK LINK

Fire and Smoke Damage in a Baroque Church in Toledo, Spain

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In this video, Betancor explains the damages to artifacts caused by a fire that has occurred at an important historical site in Madrid. The description of the damage is accompanied by pictures — what was supposed to be a beautifully gilded altar sanctuary had been reduced to a dingy gray, smoke and fire-damaged background to a charred wooden altar. The ceilings, originally a lively red color were stained gray and brown. Images of the Church before and after the restoration process show the dazzling results of Julia’s work. This and projects similar lead to the exciting collaboration between Ms. Betancor and the conservation team at FACL.

Ms. Betancor brought her experience to our facility to “talk shop” and assist us in an interesting mural project we are working on for a community in the Los Angeles area.

The ever-present headaches of the clean up of the artwork and its restoration is of particular interest to the conservators — especially after the art objects previously underwent inept and “generous” restoration effort in the past. The WPA mural panels that Ms. Betancor is working on is a good example of one of these projects that need extra care. The mural was practically repainted thirty years earlier…which makes professional and high quality restoration a much more complicated process. Resolving these types of problems in the best interest of the artwork and the client are engaging problem solving exercises. On a more publicized noteby mainstream news, a similar painting that was marred by previous restorations and then recouped through quality art conservation efforts has been Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi that recently sold for $480million; the restoration issues were also widely discussed.

FACL’s disaster response team is headed by Mr. Andrew Jacobs and he is assisted by art conservators Scott M. Haskins, Oriana Montemurro, and Virginia Panizzon. You may get ahold of any of them with questions at (805) 564-3438 or faclartdoc@gmail.com

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Here is a testimonial by Julia Betancor during her 2 month+ “working vacation” in our Santa Barbara location.

Here is our YouTube channel’s playlist of testimonials:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL41D80C1C65FF2CE7

Here is our mural capabilities statement: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/mural/

Here are more short videos on the disaster response services offered for art related items: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Umg_5trfe8&list=PLLxFeD9MHd7Sr3TsXQnCla-XirSkZt46H

Collectibles and Family History Objects Saved and Protected During Disasters – Tips Shared on Art and Antiques Radio Program

1Santa Barbara New Press Radio KZSB 1290 AM interviewed Scott M. Haskins, Author and Expert, this morning with veteran host and art appraiser Elizabeth Stewart on the “Art and Antiques Radio Program”

 

Given the abundance of very destructive disasters in our area recently (two wildfires and the Montecito mudslide since last December) the focus of the program was preparing for disasters. Not a very sexy subject but it is compelling when you think about the items in a household that tell the family’s history and there are collectibles that could be worth more than the house.

Of course, none of the discussion was canned advice from a website. Personal stories were abundant, and it was a lively and fun interview, not drab or philosophical at all as you might expect with Elizabeth Stewart who is really fun in real life. Great tips were shared in this radio interview of saving collectibles from disasters with author and expert, Scott M. Haskins.

Fine Art Conservation Laboratorieshas a division of its services that focuses on disaster response. Since the Thomas fire last December,they prepared about 60 insurance proposals for clients. Of course, each client has a property full of smoked or muddy items and in all, we estimate that we’re talking about the clean-up of about 7,000 – 8,000 art related objects.They have been working with Service Master and ServPro, mostly in the Santa Barbara area. They’ve also worked with Rainbow International.

The question always arises whether an item is “worth” the money and effort to bring it back into “pre-accident” or “pre-existing” condition. That question is more easily answered when it’s a collectible that you buy in a store, auction or gallery. But what about the items that can’t be scheduled on an insurance policy that tell the family’s story to later generations and the “things” remind us of those memories? In effect, the items we pass down contain our memories to retell the stories and pass on the heritage of our families.

There are ways to be prepared for a disaster with family treasured documents and heirlooms and we discussed and told stories about personal examples.

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Elizabeth also interviewedLuke Swetland after my interview. He is the President and CEO of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. He came to Santa Barbara after a long and distinguished career at the Japanese American National Museum (for whom we are the painting conservator), the Autry Museum (for who we have done painting conservation), the Getty Conservation Center (for whom we have done special projects and research for).

To hear the radio program, search for August 3 2018 on this webpage:click here

For more media information for Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation, at Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, click here

For art conservation/restoration questions call Scott M. Haskins, Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon Art Conservators 805 564 3438 faclartdoc@gmail.com

Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/bestartdoc

YouTube Channel” http://www.YouTube.com/bestartdoc

For a quick video tour of Fine Art Conservation Lab: http://www.FineArtConservationLab.com

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories provides professional art conservation services throughout the Santa Barbara-Ventura areas, Los Angeles area, Orange County and even into San Diego, Monterey-Carmel area, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City area. We provide pick up and delivery in these areas. FACL also provides mural conservation services nationwide and even internationally.

Protecting Public Art With Anti-Graffiti Coatings Varnishing Murals – Testimonial

By Scott M. Haskins, Mural Conservator

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Although the mural may seem out of reach, taggers find ways marking community art by shooting the paint with blasters. The graffiti on this mural goes up about 20 feet.

Forethought about protecting murals from graffiti is an essential part of the planning for art in a public place.

First of all, you need to understand the “why” before you can discuss the types of protective varnish to use form anti-graffiti protection.

These insights are offered to you by  the professionals hired by the City of Los Angeles to consult on protecting and preserving art, paintings and murals, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories.

Murals are part of a community’s heritage, part of the architecture, part of a community’s vibe and culture. They are not just a decoration. In the professional mural conservation field, when asked how long should art last, we think in terms of “generations.”

Professionals mural conservators (restorers) are bound by Ethics and Standards of Practice. These standards would theoretically imply:

  1. We do no harm to the original artwork… the materials we use should not cause harm to the original mural as they age or if they have to be removed
  2. This means, also, that anything we do to the mural should be reversible or safely removable in the future… even distant future.

Here’s the problem to be solved: Murals painted in acrylic paint remain very soluble-dissolvable (Keim and oil to a lesser degree but still…) forever. So, cleaning with anything except water is a problem. Of course, none of the stuff sprayed, spilled or deposited on murals is cleanable-removable in water. Solvents and citrus based strippers used to remove graffiti also attack-remove the original paint.

In other words, ANYTHING that is used to varnish the mural, will become part of the mural because it cannot be removed safely (for the artwork). So, let that idea percolate for a moment… if the varnish yellows, that will be the look of the mural in the future and there will be no way possible to remove the yellow. If the varnish cracks and peels (obviously unevenly) then you can’t remove it to redo it later.

This photo shows a hazy brown varnish layer over the artwork.

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Despite this warning or inevitable negative situation, some entities have chosen a chemically unstable hard resin “permanent” protective varnish over a chemically stable sacrificial layering of removable or “thinnable” varnish. I think their choice is based on ignorance based on the opinions of non-conservation-preservation services within their bureaucratic channels, not because there has been a logical choice specifically for the benefit of artwork/murals.

The two schools of thought

for the choice of protective layer or varnish are:

 

  1. The City of Los Angeles has adopted a policy, with the excuse of future minimal maintenance, to use a “permanent” hard coating. The name is “GCP 1000

Polyurethane Topcoat. Here is the link for application instructions. I suppose that because this is a commercial product, that this appeals to bureaucrats. I’ve also been told that some graffiti can be removed from this protective layer with a commercial cleaner called Goo Gone (another long term preservation problem).

The Office of Cultural Affairs chose this material at the recommendation of their graffiti abatement contractor. The photo below shows a brown varnish under the graffiti. This was a permanent hard coating applied over a sacrificial varnish, that was not yellowed or brown.

  1. A “sacrificial” varnish layer is one that is applied so thickly that when tagged, the graffiti can be removed along with a layer of varnish without having to remove all the varnish. This means that the cleaning-removal solutions don’t come into contact with the original paint. After the graffiti removal, the surface needs to be re-protected or in other words, the sacrificial varnish layers need to be reapplied.

The resin used for the sacrificial layers is not a commercially available product, but can be purchased from conservation suppliers. The resin used is Rohm and Haas’ Paraloid B72. We usually spray apply 4 heavy coats of 15% solids (in xylene solvent). Then we follow up with 4-5 coats of 30% applied with rollers as thickly as can be possible applied without creating drips. On the mural in the video below, the artist originally thought to apply the thicker sacrificial layer only up on the wall about 8’. But yielded to reason when I showed him the nefarious techniques some vandals use to spray way up high on walls. So, we applied all the layers over the entire mural.

This photo shows the before and after of removing a decade of graffiti off of a thick protective sacrificial varnish.

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Here is a quick video of applying the sacrificial varnish layer to a new mural at street level in Northridge (Los Angeles), CA and a short testimonial for our collaboration.

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If you found this article interesting, please leave a constructive comment and give this webpage a “thumbs up.” Thanks!

Contact info for participants on this project

Scott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro Art Conservators 805 564 3438 faclartdoc@gmail.com

Roger Dolan, Lead Artist 818 902 1218 roger@muralenvironments.com

Don Larson, Northridge Beautification Foundation 818 401 5522 don@northridgebeautification.foundation

Scott Sterling, General Contractor 818 321 8644 scott@sterlingconstruction.us

About the Author, Scott M. Haskins: Click on this link

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805 564 3438 faclartdoc@gmail.com

Icons Celebrating the 100 Celebration of the 1916 Uprising in Ireland

The Irish Museum in Albany NY is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the freedom for the Irish with a permanent display of classi-sized memorial portraits of the patriots that began the 1916 Uprising in Ireland. The portraits were painted by renown artist Maureen Gaffney Wolfson.

 

On tour in Ireland, the paintings were displayed and heralded in the city of Roscommon, at the legislature building organized by Counsillor Orla Leyden and Terry Leyden Trade Minister of Ireland at the time.

 

Here in the US, the memorial project and the quality art were applauded internationally by the Honorary Consulate General Finbar Hill and Consulate General of Ireland, The Honorable Daniel Mulhall

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From left to right : Honorary Consulate General Finbar Hill
Middle is artist Maureen Gaffney Wolfson and on the right is:
Honorable Daniel Mulhall Consulate General of Ireland.

 

And the icons commemorate the 100 Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising

The artist, Maureen Wolfson’s fame began within the modeling world which opened the door to a reoccurring role on the Red Skelton Show, which she kept for four years. Leaving in 1968 while being a regular on the show, Maureen’s movie career began to blossom. She landed roles in “Swinging Summer” with Raquel Welch, “Harlow” with Carol Lindley, and “Guide for a Married Man” directed by Gene Kelley and staring Sid Caesar and Wally Cox. In between movies, she returned to television, making appearances on the Perry Mason, Raymond Burr and Danny Kay shows.

In 1978, Maureen moved from Los Angeles to New York and enrolled at the Art Students League under Thomas Fogerty and David Laffell where she learned the basic techniques of lighting and working with live models that laid the foundation for a lifelong career in painting. In 1983, Maureen received the Woman Artist of the Year Award from the International Beaux Arts Inc. Her artwork is praised and in the collections of high government officials in the US and Ireland, of the Hollywood elite and numerous public collections.

The prospect of and energy for the creation of this monumental tribute to Irish Independence was a natural passion the artist lives for her ancestral homeland and the expression of gratitude for her history. Every aspect of the creation of her paintings is carefully detailed in composition and construction. It is the quality of her passionate efforts that have defined her very well deserved public image and career.

For example, Ms. Wolfson sought out the services of one of the most well known art conservation labs in the country, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories to assist her in the varnishing and final touches of her artwork to make sure they looked perfect and would last generations. Here is an example of the decision making process and testing she undertook for quality control:

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The Easter Rising was the most significant uprising in Ireland against the British since the rebellion of 1798. Also known as the Easter Rebellion, the 1916 armed insurrection in Ireland was launched by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland and establish an independent Irish Republic while the United Kingdom was heavily engaged in the First World War.

This series of commemorative paintings celebrates the martyrs of independence.

The Irish American Heritage Museum has an educational mission that preserving one’s heritage is vital to providing a cultural and historical foundation to future generations of Americans. It was organized in 1986 by the New York State American-Irish Legislators Society and was initially financed by the State Natural Heritage Trust, the State Council on the Arts, and numerous private donations. In 1992, the museum was permanently chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York as a non-profit. The museum was relocated to downtown Albany in 2012 where the 3,250 square foot space includes the Paul O’Dwyer Library and the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ archives. The museum is currently a member of The North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association.

 

 

For more about Fine Art Conservation Laboratories: http://www.FineArtConservationLab.com

faclartdoc@gmail.com

805 564 3438

Click here for more information about the artwork of Maureen Gaffney Wolfson

http://www.maureengaffneywolfson.com

m.wolfson@att.net
805-903-3888

 

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Smoke, Mud and Mold Damaged Artwork! Will Montecito Collections Survive? 3 Tips to Save Your Treasured Items

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By Marissa Condie, UC Santa Barbara, Conservation Scientist Intern

Montecito, California was recently the center of two major natural disasters over the course of a few weeks. The Thomas Fire covered Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties in ash and smoke. Close on the fire’s heels, a mudslide filled commercial and residential buildings with boulders, mud, and debris. 1,000’s of home were impacted and 100’s damaged badly or obliterated by the boulders being pushed by the mudslides. Without minimizing the apocalyptic conditions that resulted and the impact on personal lives and the community, this article deals with professional services response for saving, protecting and restoring collectibles, artwork and family history items.

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Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL), is located only a mile or so from the site of the mudslides.  Calls came in almost immediately… “I currently do not have access to my home, but I know there is damaged artwork…..my family and I escaped, and we brought one painting with us…..my home is four feet deep in mud, can my artwork be saved?” At FACL the art conservators are not only equipped to answer these questions, but immediately began to respond to Montecito’s crisis by doing what they do best, saving art.See the short video at the end of this article.

One homeowner that contacted FACL to assist with their disaster response had received a double hit. First, smoke from the Thomas Fire heavily damaged their home. Then, the mudslide left a three-foot mudline throughout the first floor of their home. Smoke, generally, heavily acidifies all paper and fabric materials in the house including framed prints (that appear sealed) hanging on the wall. This chemical process, that if not treated, can begin to yellow the paper perceptively within the year. The ever-present odor of a wildfire also seeps into the canvas works of art and the wooden frames.

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In the “mud zone,” many of these pieces were splattered with mud. Luckily, some of the artwork hanging on the walls was physically untouched by mud, but, as the mud below it started to dry, the drastic swing in humidity began wrinkling the paper and growing mold. In their overwhelming situation, these homeowners took the best step they could have taken and called the conservators at FACL. In the hands of these experts, all of these issues, paper acidity, odor, and wrinkling, are completely treatable. When the rebuilding process is complete, this family’s artwork will be ready to return to the walls of their home.

Another home that contacted the conservators at FACL were also affected by fire and water, but in a peculiar way. The family evacuated for an extended period of time due to the Thomas fire. While they were away, a breeze through a kitchen window knocked over a cutting board, which knocked a potted plant over plugging the drain in the sink, which caused the kitchen water faucet to turn on. It blasted water, at full pressure, for the rest of the evacuation. Besides finding extensive smoke damage upon their return, the family found that their house had experienced a massive flood. The artwork in the home needed special attention, which the conservators at FACL were able to provide including interfacing with the insurance claims adjuster, packing up and storing the artwork during renovation, clean-up of the artwork and redelivery with the care these types of items require.

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In the photo on the right: the fire created a pyroclastic cloud over the areas of Ventura and Santa Barbara. Ash fell on residents for 3-4 weeks

Art conservators are able to use their expertise to guide and aid a community’s disaster response. The timing and nature of a natural disaster can never be predicted, as the Montecito community experienced. Even within this sobering fact, here are 3 tip precautions that can be taken to ease the extent of damage to artwork during a natural disaster:

  1. Make sure that a treasured piece of artwork is hung on a wall, or safely stored off the ground at all times. Piled in a corner is a bad idea. In a flood or mudslide, this simple act can make all the difference.
  2. Keep copies of all legal documents and policies in another location. While you may think you can get a copy of your policy from your agent, if the disaster is community wide, there may be a backlog of activity that will keep you from getting the speedy response you desire.
  3. The longer the art waits, uncleaned, the more damage is occurring. This leads to a third suggestion, which is to contact a professional art conservator as soon as possible after a natural disaster. An art conservator can help you differentiate, also, for your disaster response company, what can be hit by a mop and what requires special handling and attention.

Questions? Call Fine Art Conservation Laboratories at 805 564 3438 faclartdoc@gmail.comScott M. Haskins, Virginia Panizzon, Oriana Montemurro – Art Conservators. Andrew Jacobs, Disaster Response Services Coordinator

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Click on this link for a short video.

What treasured family keepsakes, art and collectibles

can be saved from such a disaster?!?!

Saving a Whimsical Mural of an Animal Circus

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by Flora Arguilla, UC Santa Barbara, Art History Dept, Art Conservation Intern

The destruction of Hubbell Reed McBride’s mural, Animal Circus, would have meant the tragic loss of a whimsical, colorful, and beautifully detailed historical painting that everyone from children to adults has enjoyed for decades. People who care about artistic and historical heritage, professional art conservation technology and extensive mural restoration expertise made the preservation of this masterpiece possible.

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It was created in 1940, with oil paint on canvas adhered to a wall using a technique called marouflaged and is 6 ft high and 27 ft long!

Some of the first things that come to mind while looking at this marvelous work of art are the words “cute” and “fun!” The artistic quality of this piece

and the enjoyable subject matter is unparalleled — if you don’t believe me, do a Google search for “animal circus murals”. No other mural of the same quality even comes close. The fact that it was made specifically for the enjoyment of children makes it even more endearing.

When the building that the mural was original located was demolished decades later, the technique of gluing the canvas the wall with starch paste turned out to be a life saver for the mural. Fortunately, the mural on canvas was able to be taken off and saved it. Though badly damaged with the inept removal technique, it survived until it could get professional mural conservation treatments.

Although the mural was in storage in Denver, the owner’s searched nationally for a mural restoration expert who was experienced in treating such large paintings. A knowledgeable contact in Santa Fe, NM referred them to Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL) in Santa Barbara, CA who was, at the time, just finishing up on the lining (backing) and conservation of three 30 foot paintings for the State of Texas.

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The mural’s cracking and flaking was stabilized and the painting was backed with a stiff support to prevent distortions in the mural and prepared it for reinstallation. Once treated Animal Circus was preserved for generations to come.

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A Short Biography on HR McBride (1892-1960)

As a boy, Hubbell grew up in Mansfield, Ohio and developed a talent for drawing animals that made people smile. He came to understand that art has the ability to touch the lives of millions of people. After high school, he found a job in Cleveland, making illustrations for a newspaper syndicate, but they eventually let him go. After a year there, he had gained enough confidence to try the big market in New York.

Fortunately, this led to him become friends with the founder of Editor and Publisher magazine. He had established connections in the industry, and for the next 25 years he distinguished himself as cover artist and illustrator for several top Hearst publications

like Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, as well as the Saturday Evening Post and Liberty & Collier’s Weekly Magazine.

Although he had a taste of the fast-paced life of a professional artist in New York, something that some people could only dream of, he walked away from his successful illustrator’s career to spend his life in rural America in order to put smiles into the lives of everyone who encountered his playful images in that region.

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His work is easily recognizable for its warm humor, and for animals with memorable personalities. With a wealth of experience in graphic arts, McBride was a gift to the community in the 40s and 50s, painting a wide canvas of all sorts: from sacred scenes in the First Congregational Church in Lexington, to background drops for the Mansfield Players and Children’s Theater. Cartoon farm animals were undoubtedly a fan favorite, even from his very earliest works. In his drawings, McBride showcased the whimsical personalities and characteristics of the animals he was familiar with in his drawings, while also adding a touch of fun by drawing the animals with funny faces.

In the 1940s Reed McBride painted several murals in Richland County that became well-known landmarks in stores, churches and the Municipal Building. Below is a mural he created for the Ven-Mar market on Marion Avenue.

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Questions? Call Scott M. Haskins, Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon Art Conservators 805 564 3438 faclartdoc@gmail.com

For more information, check out these links!

Buck Winn Murals for the State of Texas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3sZdUqeQnk

FACL’s mural capability statement:

http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/mural/

FACL’s mural consultation statement:

http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/consultations/

FACL videos of mural conservation capabilities:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld4l6EG8T-I&index=13&list=PLE1FF71CC598A8E79

Hope for Damaged Art and Collectibles in Mud and Flood

Saving collectibles, art and family history items damaged in floods and mud. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmoT4cSOVFs  Click on SHOW MORE

 

Call Andrew Jacobs, Disaster Response Services Coordinator on his mobile at 812 639 3681 or art conservators Virginia Panizzon and Oriana Montemurro at 805 564 3438

 

Disaster response companies have procedures and techniques for dealing with the damage caused by water. But heirlooms, collectibles, art and antiques are a special category that requires special considerations and handling. The added problems these types of items have are many:

  1. Your are likely more emotional over these items than other types of contents.
  2. 2 sometimes art and antiques have such high value that there is a serious amount of liability
  3. The construction and materials of these types of items require specialized knowledge to properly treat.

 

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories has many many years of experience in working on these types of items. We are offering to be your expert and help you with these types of valuable items. Here are the services that we often provide:

1 evaluations and estimates of damaged items.

2 preparations of reports for the claims adjuster.

3 pick up and redelivery of the items being treated.

  1. we will handle all issues with the insurance company

 

Here is a testimonial from a client in Las Vegas who was told by his disaster response company that they did not handle fine artwork. He was left to find an expert on his own: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_YupoIRRcs

 

 

Water Damage of artwork – Testimonial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_YupoIRRcs

Our Reputation in the LA Area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5K5CIUWVp8

Determining pre-existing conditions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kumg1gxQHFo

Problems on paintings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0Um7qeh9MY

Testimonial from Appraiser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXXlDB0M9qw

Save Your Stuff Author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhf1U8Utxms

And https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTfldMRJuI8

 

Call Andrew Jacobs, Disaster Response Services Coordinator on his mobile at 812 639 3681 or art conservators Virginia Panizzon and Oriana Montemurro at 805 564 3438

 

Website: – http://www.FineArtConservationLab.com

Email :; faclartdoc@gmail.com