Monday, April 15, 2013

Cleaning an Oil Painting

This is not my normal type of post but I just have to share my excitement with you.  I was thrilled when I came home this afternoon.  I rec'd the oil paintings I recently won through an on-line auction on E-bay.
I'm not one to normally purchase paintings ~ I only have a few in my home... a lighthouse that a family friend painted and a bowl of lilacs in my bedroom that I fell in love with at a local farm auction but there was something about these paintings that screamed buy me. 
Here they are....
They are from 1947 from an unknown artist... Alfredo Warner... but I loved the colors. Sort of reminded me of some cards I made using Distress Stains which I guess is what attracted me.
These puppies were DIRTY!!!  Very grungy looking which didn't really show up in the photos.  I saw on Antiques Roadshow once where a guy told this lady that she could clean her painting with dish washing liquid so I figured I'd give it a try! 
Here is what one of them looked like before beginning.... 
You can really see the dirt in the sky & blue mountain areas.
A close up of the dirty sky in another of the paintings....

I started off with a bottle of Dawn, a soft bristle toothbrush, a warm wet wash cloth for the soap, a damp warm water wash cloth for wiping away the soapy residue & a dry towel.

I first washed a small area with the soapy cloth then went at it with the toothbrush.  You can sort of see from the photo how brown some of the suds are...  that's all the grunge coming off the surface of the paint.  YUCK!
And here is a look at the before & after cleaning....
The color difference is amazing!

 And here are all 4 paintings after being cleaned! 
You can click on them for larger photos. 

Now, guess how much I paid for them???
$10.00 + 8.00 shipping!!!!

Can you believe it! 

I am so excited, we're planning on painting our living room/hall in a few weeks and these puppies are definitely going to find a place on my fresh clean walls :)

Have you ever had a fun experience with art like that?
Please share ~ we'd love to hear!

Be sure to stop in tomorrow...
The Mega Stamp Give-a-Way is going to start then!!


  1. They are beautiful Roni!!
    I can't say I've had a fun experience like that with the exception of feeling your excitement and WOW you can sure see the difference in the picture where you have the clean patch and can see the dirty bit as well.
    Enjoy them in your freshly painted home! :D

  2. Oh yes - they speak to me too. Lovely paintings. I feel I could walk right in there :-) Great cleaning technique.. you can certainly see the difference. I am sure you will sooooo enjoy them on your fresh painted wall :-D
    IKE x

  3. Really lovely paintings. You did a great job with the cleaning.

  4. I can see why you love them, Roni--the colors are fabulous, and that you could see there was more to be had with a little cleaning--well, you have an artist's eye, we all know that!

    But what a steal, you make me want to ebay more!!!


  5. My guess is it was a lot of cigarette smoke residue. We inherited some Royal Doulton figurines a while back. I read to use dish soap to clean them and could not believe the difference after cleaning them. Very yellowish brown film over everything. There were actually patterns that appeared in the ladies' skirts after I cleaned them. Your painting look great. Very peaceful type of scenes.

  6. Great paintings and what a bargain!! I asked my other half about your technique for cleaning, him being a painter with oils and he says yes you can but.... he thought the tooth brush was a bit extreme, something softer would have been better and this isn't the way to clean an expensive or valuable oil painting. Just in case someone out there has a lost Picasso!! I love the way you are always trying different things. Enjoy your newly cleaned art....

  7. Roni, these are so beautiful!! What a great find! My sister lives in Alaska (North Pole actually!) and paints too. I love this set as it's such a nice grouping! Thanks for the cleaning tip. I've got a couple that need it too!


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!