Reworking an old painting

24 Feb 2009

Q: I want to rework an oil painting that has been sitting for more than a year. How should I go about it?

A: Begin by cleaning the canvas surface. Wipe away any dust particles with a cotton cloth or with cotton balls. If any dirt is evident, remove it with a very small amount of turpentine. Then apply retouch varnish to the absolutely dry surface with a soft brush. This will create a uniform wet appearance, making it possible to match colors. Retouch varnish should always be applied in very thin layers. Here’s a simple recipe for retouch varnish: Add 8 oz of turpentine to 4 oz of 5-lb varnish.

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