Conservation Step-by-Step

From your walls to my lab – how I work with my clients.

APPOINTMENTS

Making an appointment
You will need to make an appointment to bring your artwork to my studio or have it delivered to my studio. For conservation treatment, the initial and final visits usually take approximately 20 minutes. For framing services, more time is usually required to make framing selections.

First visit
During the first visit, we will discuss treatment approaches to your work in general terms and the conditions of receipt which are outlined on the Object Receipt form. If you decide you would like to proceed with the conservation assessment, I will require your signature on the form and provide a copy for your reference.

TRANSPORTATION

You will need to make an appointment to bring your artwork or have it delivered to my studio.

Please ensure your artwork is wrapped and safely secured in your vehicle.  It is  best to avoid transportation during temperature extremes. If you cannot transport the artwork yourself, there are couriers specializing in artworks. Artpacked.com offers monthly services to various locations throughout B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.

ASSESSMENT

Before treatment
After I have examined your artwork in my studio, I will send you a written examination report, treatment proposal, and cost estimate. The examination report is a detailed description of the component layers of a painting along with any damages and inherent problems. The examination and testing phase is critical to the success of treatment. I may provide more than one treatment proposal for your consideration, and sometimes work may be carried out in separate phases if required for financial reasons.

While client photos can assist in preliminary identification of conservation problems, I cannot assess or quote treatment costs for a work which I have not examined.

Documentation
The before treatment documentation will be sent to you as a document via email, or may be sent as a hard copy if required. I will also send you a covering letter and Client Agreement form. The before treatment documentation is typically provided 2-4 weeks from the date of object receipt.

Acceptance terms
Treatment is begun with your signed acceptance of the proposal on the Agreement form and typically a down payment in an amount indicated in the covering letter.

If you proceed with treatment there is no charge for the initial assessment. Otherwise there is a fee for the examination report that will be quoted in the covering letter, which typically ranges between $100.00 and $240.00.

CONTRACTING SERVICES

The Canadian Association for the Conservation of Cultural Property (CAC) and The Canadian Association of Professional Conservators (CAPC) jointly published a Code of Ethics and Guidance for Practice, which defines treatment principles and guidelines of professional practice. Their publication “Selecting and Employing a Conservator in Canada” will help clients understand what to expect when contracting the services of a trained, professional conservator.

As a CAPC member (since 2000) I have submitted a portfolio and undergone a stringent peer review process.  I abide by the CAC/CAPC Canadian Code of Ethics and Guidance for Practice.

INSURANCE

While I carry commercial insurance, client-owned artworks are not specifically covered. If you wish to have your artwork insured during treatment, you will need to make arrangements with your own insurer. They will likely require a written appraisal, however, in order to establish current market value.

TREATMENT

Stabilization
The main purpose of conservation treatment is to stabilize the artwork and prevent or slow any further deterioration. If artworks have been previously restored, the removal of unsuitable or unsightly materials such as discoloured retouching and overpaint from the object may be desireable. Emphasis is placed on preventive measures which may include framing modification and upgrades. A determination of the probable original appearance of the painting helps guide the treatment program, with the understanding that some changes in appearance are expected.

Structural Work
Structural work is of the highest priority and includes treatments such as consolidation of powdery or flaking paint, the repair of torn canvas, or removal of canvas deformations which endanger the paint layers.

Surface Cleaning
Surface cleaning is a distinct process from varnish removal and is always undertaken separately. Perceived discolouration (darkening, yellowing) may result from accumulated dirt on the surface and/or discolouration of one or more layers of a surface coating.

Sample photos of treatment work are shown under Gallery – Common Problems.

DOCUMENTATION

I maintain detailed records of your artwork and its treatment and you will receive a copy of written documentation. In my conservation database “ConServe,”  a unique object number is assigned to each incoming work and object details such as size, medium, provenance, etc. are recorded with a thumbnail photo. Treatment details are also recorded.

Before Treatment Report
After I have examined your artwork in my studio, I will send you a written examination report, treatment proposal, and cost estimate. The examination report is a detailed description of the component layers of the painting and their condition; damages and inherent problems will be described and located. The examination and testing phase is critical to the success of treatment. More than one treatment proposal may be offered for your consideration. The before treatment documentation will be sent to you as a Word document via email, or may be sent as hard copy if required. I will send a covering letter and client Agreement Form separately by post as these documents are generated by the database. I usually complete the report within 10-14 days from the date of object receipt.

Treatment is begun with your signed acceptance of the proposal on the Agreement Form and, usually, a down payment in an amount indicated in the covering letter.

After Treatment Report
A written treatment report is provided upon completion of any comprehensive treatment. The treatment report describes all materials and methods used in the treatment of your work.  Safekeeping of the examination and treatment reports is recommended as these records form an important part of your work’s provenance. Digital photographic documentation will be sent to you after treatment via email as JPEG photos. RAW format photos may be provided on a CD upon request and at an additional charge.