Every type of damage in a watercolor painting has different procedures in order to clean and restore them. These procedures cannot reverse color fading but it can help prevent and stop further fading. Here are some tips that you can do for each type of damage.
• Gently remove the painting from the frame and separate the watercolor from the glass frame immediately after it has become saturated. Mold also begins to form after saturation. Don’t leave the image in place pressed against the glass because the image will be bonded permanently to the glass.
• Lay the watercolor on a flat, dry surface. Leave the artwork untouched until completely dry. Lay the artwork on a towel, blanket or on dry grass in the yard.
• Mist the front and back of the watercolor with a light coating of spray Lysol. Do not substitute with a chemical that contains bleach. The damage incurred from the bleach is irreversible. Wait for the mold to dry out and become dormant. You will notice that the mold will become powdery.
• Brush the mold off of the watercolor lightly with a clean, dry, soft-bristled paint brush.
• Put the painting back into the frame.
Dirt and Debris
• Break a loaf of bread in half. Grab a handful of the white inner portion of the bread. Roll the dough into a ball.
• Scrub the dough gently against the watercolor painting.
• Replace the dough as the piece you are working with gets dirty.
• Brush the bread crumbs off of the watercolor using a clean, dry, soft-bristled paint brush. Make sure that all bread crumbs have been removed from the painting.
• Instead of using an ordinary glass, use a UV3 coated Plexiglas. This will reflect the UV rays that cause the color to fade.
• Move any watercolor artworks away from direct sunlight. Artwork with the UV3 Plexiglas will not prevent all UV rays from damaging the color in the painting. Direct sunlight can harm the color and raise the temperature surrounding the painting that can fade the colors.
• Avoid hanging watercolor paintings where the temperature of the artwork would rise above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid hanging on outside walls that are not properly insulated, over fireplaces or near furnace grates and windows with direct sunlight.
• Replace all florescent lighting with incandescent light bulbs. Do not use direct lighting of any type on a watercolor.
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