We clean off dirt, smoke, grime, and the accumulated “stuff” that adheres to the surface of an oil painting, removal of old varnish. Most oil paintings have had one or more coats of a varnish applied as both a protection for the more delicate painted surfaces as well as for its effect of enhancing colors. Over time, varnish begins to darken. Combined with the accumulation of years of dirt, smoke, and grime, the result is a painting that has become dark, with many details obscured or dimmed.
Repair of holes, scratches, peeling, or other damage to the surface of the painting. Many paintings have been damaged by accidents, vandalism, attempts by untrained persons to “clean” it, and poor storage or display. Holes need to be patched, and “inpainting” needs to be done to match the colors and unify the painting to a near-new condition. In most cases, inpainting can not be detected in the finished work (see Gallery).
Application of new varnish. Similar to the last step when your painting was newly-painted, a varnish is applied to protect your valued art so it is again ready for many more years of display and enjoyment.