Restoring my mother’s 1934 oil painting of California Coast



DSCF5054I have ordered some oil paints in these colors.  Below is an analysis of the colors done in watercolor.

I have been asked why restore this painting. To me it is a part of thehistory of art in California and Oregon.  I see the influence of economics of the depression. The influence of the 1930’s California style.  Also, I come close to my mother’s process of painting.  I appreciate her more.



About Diane Widler Wenzel

Painting the immediate moment thrills me. Also back in the studio I like to savor the memory over the months. When the painting gets off track, a burst of energy sometimes takes me to fanciful unexpected places. My paintings are a kind of journal.

4 responses to “Restoring my mother’s 1934 oil painting of California Coast

  1. Be careful in your restoring that you don’t lose it as hers. Once you start to paint over, things can change. Is it impossible to just let it be as it is with some age signs? I have an old wolf print of my parents’ that is beaten up by water and other things. I like it that way.

    • The old yellowed antique look is nice. I do like having old looking antiques. So I will not clean it to regain the original color. In addition I do not want to risk using strong solvents on my mother’s work.
      Also I must have not explained restoration. I am not going to paint over the painting. I will address the places where paint flaked off. First I will use an Exacto knife to scrape off the ground down to the canvas where I will paint a coat of new gesso on the spots. BEfore making the final repairs I will apply retouch varnish so it can be removed if their is further restoration in some distant time. Then I will test mixtures of oil color to match the surrounding colors. After doing the actual painting the oils must dry for awhile before applying demar varnish.
      It is possible that might copy the painting with the purpose of understanding what my mother knew and how she proceeded in making this painting.

      • This response reminds me that I can start preparing the flaked off spots before the paint arrives. Also need to test my cadmium red to see if it matches the splotch of color on the extra cloth that was used to stretch the canvas.The red was used in the rocks and roof very sparingly. Cadmium colors were very expensive for an artist during the depression so they were used to maximum advantage.

  2. The gluing of the painting to a board was only partially successful. The canvas had slight wrinkeling as though it was never stretched properly and was floppy when first painted. Not being properly stretched is likely. It was the only one originally stretched on wooden supports. Her other early paintings were just thumtacked to a drawing board. It must have been difficult to stretch without a stappler using only thumb tacks. My second obstacle was in treating the white places where the painting flakes away. The Exacto knife scrapping away the lead white ground made a fine dust. Suspecting lead which could contaminate my home is a health issue. So I am going to paint oil over the original ground. The ground is not cracked and should hold the new paint.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: