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Subject: Retouching


From: Andrea di Bagno <adibagno>
Date: Monday, May 15, 2006
Menon V. Sreekumar <vskmenon [at] hotmail__com> writes

>I am working on a contemporary painting in acrylic medium. I would
>be grateful if someone can advise me on mediums used for
>inpainting/retouching the acrylic paintings. I am mainly concerned
>about reversibility parameters of retouching media.

I applaud Menon Sreekumar for searching for a reversible method of
retouching for an acrylic painting. There is really very little
choice that will give you the final satisfaction of matching sheen
while still allowing for reversibility without damage to the
original. The best I have found so far is watercolor and if you need
covering power gouache can sometimes work. As for matching sheen I
have had some success with applying a thin coating of gum arabic or
sometimes Aquazol (Poly (2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)) has also worked as
long as you apply these on the retouched area only. As we all know a
final varnishing of acrylic paintings to allow for an overall sheen
equaliser is not an option.

PVA or MSA paints as suggested by Mark Gottsegen are not a viable
choice if you wish for reversibility as the solvents needed to
remove them would damage the original paint layer.

Acrylic paints may be a godsend for artists but for conservators
they are the true nightmare and I can't help but wonder what it will
be like a couple of centuries down the line.

Andrea Guidi di Bagno
Chief Paintings Conservator
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:56
                   Distributed: Friday, May 19, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-56-003
Received on Monday, 15 May, 2006

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