I am so elated to have a master antique restoration artist (3rd generation) working tediously on the 30-year old Oracle Paintings of my Dad. Ricardo has come from Buenos Aires to Santa Fe, NM for a short stay to do some work. He is a long time friend of my husband, and so is actually sharing my husband’s studio while he is here in New Mexico doing work for local galleries and antique shops. I asked a painter friend of mine one day, “Do you know anyone in town who can do restoration work on oil paintings?” She said, “The only one I know is in your husband’s studio right now!” And so it is. Where have I been? When something like this is so obviously placed in my lap, I do not ignore it. It actually turned out that Ricardo, this craftsman from Argentina, was considering leaving to go back to Buenos Aires early because he had so little work!! Well, that situation has changed.
I knew the paintings needed some sprucing up, but what Ricardo is showing me is really blowing my mind. Because these paintings were created so long ago, the varnish is discoloring over time. As Ricardo so painstakingly removes only the topmost layer of varnish in one inch by one inch squares, new paintings emerge. When completed, they look like they were painted yesterday. Now that I see them this way, the memory of how I saw them 30 years ago comes back to me. Check this one out:
Can you see the line across her back?? Above is after old varnish removal, and below is how the painting was after 30 years. Seriously, I had no idea, but now that I see the cleaned portion, I remember the lavendar hues in the skin as it was displayed on my Dad’s wall when I was just a wee lad. I thought the painting looked great before the cleaning, but now that I see it after the cleaning, WOW!!
Looks like we will be photographing again for the “Book of Knowing.” See? There is a reason the Kickstarter Campaign did not fly to it’s funding goal. We truly weren’t supposed to print the deck yet – for this and other reasons now coming to me.
So…. Just another little lesson in the wisdom of all things, in trusting that all things are working out perfectly, and in the continuing joy of working with these images for the upcoming deck of Oracle cards. As Ricardo keeps repeating to me in his delightful Argentinian accent, “Your father knew how to paint!”
To see a gallery of more of the images, click here.