Our paintings conservator Aleksandra is our most recent team member, moving from Poland to join us in our Carlisle studio. After completing six years of studies in conservation, her dedication to restoration created a path for her to work in her dream role at Fine Art Restoration Company.
Aleksandra spoke to us about how she found her way into conservation during this interview about her interests and experiences. We’re excited to have her as part of our team and hope that you enjoy this insight into her life as a specialist conservator.
What inspired you to choose a career as a conservator?
For me, it was never a case of inspiration. Art was always a big part of my life. I knew I wanted to pursue it in the future. I was introduced to conservation as a profession in high school and it felt like a dream job.
Since I was a little girl, creating and looking at art was all I did. To be able to restore paintings, bringing them back to life for the next generations to see sounded amazing. It seemed like a huge privilege just to be able to put your finger on the canvas, to read the brush strokes of various artists and learn from them.
Even though the studies in Poland take six years of hard work and complete commitment to the conservation of art, I knew from the very beginning that this is exactly what I want to dedicate my life to. I was very lucky to find a profession that is both my job as well as my passion.
What is your favourite treatment to perform in the restoration of a painting?
I really enjoy performing any kind of restoration treatment, but If I had to choose it would be retouching (applying and colour-matching specialist pigments to areas which are missing paint). I always feel like it’s a cherry on top of all your hard work.
Which painting has been the most challenging for you, and why?
Every painting has different challenges. There are usually a lot of surprises, but you’re able to learn so much on the way.
I think the most challenging painting I’ve ever come across is the one I’m restoring at the moment. It’s a big polychromed wooden board with two different layers of varnish. It’s a huge challenge to remove them both and not to distort the original paint layer underneath. I’m using different solvents for different areas and to be able to achieve the look artist originally was going for.
What have been your best discoveries during the restoration process?
I was once restoring a portrait of Saint Francis. While removing the layer of varnish I discovered the date 1631 and an artist’s signature. This was a time to celebrate because nobody thought, including the owner, that the painting was so valuable when it first came to the studio.
What is your favourite type of painting to restore?
Honestly, any kind. I’m sensitive to beauty so anything that I find aesthetically pleasing. I also have a huge sentiment towards small paintings. So maybe something small and beautiful.
If you could work on any artwork in the world, what would it be?
My dream would be to work on any of Vermeer’s artworks. It’s one of the painters that I adore. Every part seems just perfectly studied. Every little bit was perfectly planned. And the light is incredible!