I love my dog. I love my dog. I love my dog. Sunny, my Australian Sheepdog loves to rest and ride in the Goatmobile. Occasionally, the Goatmobile has to do more than just tote his bubbly carcass around the state. Sometimes, the Goatmobile carries art to the framer. Sunny chooses his seat in the car very carefully. His first choice is the driver’s seat. From here, he is unceremoniously booted to the front passenger seat. During the ride , he bounces from front to back about every two seconds. He finally dosses down in the back passenger seat. Artwork goes in cargo. the one place Sunny never goes. Yeah, right.
So, I’m going to talk about salvaging and repairing paintings that have been clawed by an Aussie into total submission. Actually, this should be attempted with only very small tears or holes. Anything larger should be handled by a professional art restorer. These guidelines are meant to repair your own works of art, to get you out of a jam. Fine art, antique art should only be handled by a pro. Call the closest museum for a referral and be prepared to wait. And pay. These guys are expensive. Just saying.
Working slowly in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight, start by cutting a piece of canvas to cover the claw hole. Don’t be stingy. make sure there’s at least a 3 inch border that goes beyond the tear. Carefully trim any stray threads on the damaged canvas with the manicure scissors. If the weave of the canvas has been driven out of line, now’s the time to gently realign the fibers.
Later, apply a thin coat of Elmer’s to the patch EXCEPT in the direct area of the tear. Place the damaged painting face down on a clean,dry flat surface and smooth the patch
to the back of the canvas. Place a clean dry flat weight over the patch, making sure there are no wrinkles or bubbles. Allow the patch to dry for at least 48 hours. After that, turn the painting over and using gesso and a small brush, carefully fill in the wound on the painting. Allow it to dry. Then with very fine sandpaper, gently smooth the gesso. Continue filling with gesso and drying and sanding until you have filled in the tear. Allow the mend to dry in a cool dry place for about a month. Over this time, you should inspect it often to see if the mend will “take”. If it cracks along the mend, or bubbles or it gets wavy, you’ll have to start over. If it does mend properly, you will be able to paint over the mended area. Again, do not try this with older works of art. Take these to a professional restorer.