Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tissue thin paintings

Bamboo ink painting

Recording LS in the studio, or at least taking photographs of what is happening is an ongoing interest of mine. To be honest many of the scrolls are not to my taste, but the complicated putting together of the many facets of a scroll is fascinating.
Two paintings,if not more on the drying boards, are being restored. The first is a bath scene with two women squabbling. The other is a brush and ink painting of bamboos.

Bath House

The choosing of papers and silks is complicated, mostly done by the collector, but then there are scroll knobs to be found, braid to be bound, and often the added expense of the boxes they are kept in.
The bamboo ink drawing is large, and when finished will probably be bigger than the work bench. From the following photos it can be seen that the papers used are tissue thin, and water has to be applied to take off the two backing papers on either side of the painting. Luckily the old papers came off easily for this bamboo painting, the right amount of paste had been applied 50 years ago, though one false move as they are removed and you tear the painting.

Old paper removed

New ones added
If a hole does appear, or is already there, the wet method of repair is used whereby a small piece of tissue/paper is introduced to the hole and 'wet moulded' to fit, weft and warp of paper matching....
Sometimes paintings can be left on the drying boards for weeks at a time at a tension, and the humidity of the studio has to be watched, this tension helps with the creases, that may have had 'strengthening strips' (another complicated process) to iron them out.

All of this requires a lot of patience, but is fascinating, to watch last year there was a great 18th painting of the Buddha in the studio, it required a lot of work, but one of the fascinating aspects afterwards was the computer expert who had to record it for a catalogue.  He analysised it through a special programme to get the colours rights and also to highlight the seals hidden in the paintings, that told of the school of painters and collectors scroll, the following photo shows the seal of the artist.

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