Using Japanese Tissue on an Oil Painting

Painting conservation occupies an interesting position between science and art, and the fusion of creativity and chemistry is witnessed in the studio every week.

A more recent example we’d like to share with you concerns an oil painting with multiple areas of flaking paint and paint loss, repaired using an interesting technique.

As you can see from the photographs, the paint layer was lifting across the bottom of the painting and paint losses had already occurred.

The Restoration

Due to the instability of the paint layer, we started the process of consolidating the flaking and fragile paint using Japanese tissue.  

Japanese tissue is a thin, strong paper made from one of three plants, Kozo, Gampi and Mitsumata. The majority of mending tissues are made from Kozo fibres – they are particularly ideal for use in repairing books and works on paper, although Japanese tissue more generally is used for a variety of conservation applications.

A layer of tissue was first placed over the painting and white spirit and Beva were applied onto the tissue and the back of the painting.

The painting was then gently heated on the lining table allowing the paint layer to successfully consolidate and become secure.

For the tissue to be removed after heating, white spirit was also applied and the tissue was carefully lifted away from the now stable paint layer.

The restoration then continued with the cleaning of the painting to remove dirt and contaminants.

As the painting had suffered numerous losses, in-painting was required.

Before we could begin the process, we first applied a filler to the oil painting over the extensive exposed areas of canvas. The pigment matching was then carried out to ensure the in-painting provided a subtle and uniform finish.

Although Japanese tissue is traditionally used more often for works on paper, by combining a multi-disciplinary approach and some creative thinking, we achieved a lasting result to prevent any future losses and preserve the painting for the future.

If your painting has flaking paint or you would like our recommendations for restoring your artwork, please contact us and we will be glad to provide advice.

 

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