I've discovered painting restoration videos on youtube. They're so soothing and fascinating. I suspect many people would see them as dull as watching fishing (which I also like), but I don't smoke pot, so you know, calming, ohhhmmm. Fewer calories than chocolate.
I know art in a photo or video isn't the same as seeing it in person. On the other hand, extreme close-ups of intricate details of Queen Elizabeth's dress isn't something I'll probably get to see in real life. How was the lace painted? Look at those pearls! See the shadows on the embroidery stitches! That's info I can use in my own work in the future.
Restoration is often a war on abuse. One video showed a painting that had been ripped when it fell into a chair. Nooooo!!! Maybe you non-art types can't understand how seeing that damage could make me cry, but some of you can relate. It's like seeing starving children and abused puppy commercials on tv. Okay, maybe some of you don't care about that either. There's no hope for some people.
The invalid painting is lovingly placed on the table for pre-op. Nails are removed, dirt scrubbed off, yellowed varnish stripped away, holes patched, edges reinforced, old retouching removed... I'm sure all of this is tedious beyond belief and keeps cotton swab companies in business. I keep thinking the restoration sometimes takes more work than creating the painting in the first place. Eventually, the restorer gently dabs on new paint on the injured parts (the part I wish I could do) and a new coat of varnish seals it up for the next 100 years.
Proud before and after photos play at the end of the video, often with emotional music. The baby has been saved! Let's all rejoice together! Onto the next abusive disaster.
There's something wonderful and lovely to think someone might like my paintings well enough to take care of them after I'm gone. It makes me happy to look at my great aunt's art hanging in my computer room. I hope someone else treasures it after me.
I saw multiple people messing with their phones while driving this week. Nothing they were doing was important enough to put my life at risk. They crossed center lines on the road but probably thought they were driving fine. Everything these days is aimed at the trivial and immediate. I think everyone would be better off if they slowed down and thought about what will be important in 100 years.
Think of Queen Elizabeth. She had small pox as a child and used lead makeup for the rest of her life to cover the scars. Once a week she cleaned it off with mercury. I'm sure this seemed real important at the time, but it slowly killed her and made her look worse. Her skin turned gray and her hair fell out. Who knows what it did to her brain cells.
My advice? Don't text and drive. Watch paint dry. Take life slower and don't worry about how many people "like" you at this particular minute. If you want to join me in watching painting restorations, try this one by Julian Baumgartner. I find it fascinating that he could rescue a painting on paper that was mounted on wood.
The art above is a detail from one of my recent I Spy paintings. You can see I have monkeys in it but no foxes because Illustration Friday thinks the F is for Mondays lately. Maybe I'll give you a fox next week if this pattern continues.