Helen Houp Art Conservation

Fine Art Conservation

Removal of surface films


The photograph below shows the detail of a painting whose surface appears disfigured with a layer of nicotine, darkened varnish and grime. The surface films are tested to insure safe removal without damaging original paint. Below are photographs of a painting before, during and after cleaning. Attentiveness is paramount in the choice of a solvent selected for cleaning as some pigments are even sensitive to distilled water. A mistake could result in damage to the artist's work.

During treatment, detail of grime/varnish removal, normal lightDuring treatment, detail of grime/varnish removal, normal light


Occasionally, removal of varnishes and overpaint reveal unexpected surprises:

Painting before cleaningPainting before cleaning Cleaning  of painting reveals angels and rosary in handCleaning of painting reveals angels and rosary in hand


Tears & missing paint


Tears are mended by aligining threads, reweaving them, and securing them with adhesives. Losses of paint are compensated with inlays and inpainting of missing paint.

Area of old tear, raking lightArea of old tear, raking light   Overpaint partially removed, revealing tear and insertOverpaint partially removed, revealing tear and insertAfter inpainting, normal lightAfter inpainting, normal light

Portrait of Jim Bowie, artist unknown.


Structural work


On occasion a painting exhibits severe distortions such as dents, bulges or cupping paint.  These conditions frequently require that a second canvas or lining be adhered to the original canvas with an appropriate adhesive.

painting with an out of plane surfacepainting with an out of plane surfacePainting after being linedPainting after being lined

Painting by Porfirio Salinas


Frame repair


The corners of frames are frequently damaged. Missing elements of the frame are fabricated and reattached. At other times a frame may need to be re-gold leafed.

Before treatmentBefore treatment During treatmentDuring treatment After treatmentAfter treatment


© Helen Houp. All rights reserved | Login

Web Design by Online Design Bureau


Detailed cleaning