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    "Life isn't long enough for love

and art."


W. Somerset Maugham





"Life is a great

big canvas and you should throw all the paint you can on it."


Danny Kaye





"My association with

Joe Patti began in 2000.  As a result

of my love of history,

 I have acquired a modest collection of art ranging from 19th century landscapes to World War II combat art.  Joe's skills have restored the passion, courage and drama of these paintings.

What Joe has is nothing short of a gift."


William Maloy, Jr.

U.S. History Teacher

Pensacola, Florida


850.994.9974 850.380.0881 (CELL)

Located on the beautiful gulf coast

Caring For your Art


Do's & Don'ts in caring for your art


      One of the nice things about getting older is experience and that is no less true in the world of art restoration.  After all these years of restoring art I'm no longer surprised by the surprising and often strange things that have been done to try to fix paintings.


      There was the client who varnished his own painting -- with shellac.  The customers who tried cleaning their paintings with soapy water (dried soap leaves an ugly white film that seeps into cracks and hardens -- called clouding.)  Or the customer who tried cleaning a painting with a potato (an old wife's tale and unfortunately, very bad and very costly).


      I've seen paintings slashed by angry spouses, paintings soaked from being left on the floor in a garage, paintings stuck to bubble wrap and and even one painting stored in an attic which came into our studio with a gaping hole made by a little mouse who had used the painting as a doorway to his home in the wall.


    Even though I would love your business to repair these problems, I love art even more and don't want to see any painting damaged.'s are some Do's and Don'ts in caring for your valuable -- and even not-so-valuable -- art.



Art don'ts (please don't even think about doing these):

  • Never clean a painting with soap and water

  • Never hang watercolors or pastels in direct sunlight

  • Never spray Windex© or any other glass cleaner (or even water) directly on a frame or the glass covering a painting

  • Never hang on a painting on just a nail in the wall (use a hook and nail)

  • Never clean paintings by rubbing them with paper, towels or your hands

  • Never try to clean either the back or front of a painting using chemicals. Chemicals can leach through the back of fabric and damage the paint.  Also, using improper chemicals can be extremely dangerous to your health and the health of the painting.  Art restorers wear protective masks and gloves and are trained and experienced to use the right chemicals on the right paintings in the right quantity with the right protection.

  • Never assume a rip or tear can't be repaired and dirt can't be removed.  Ninety-five percent of the time a painting can be repaired.

  • Never use cheap mat board or backing on valuable or antique paintings.  Good art needs conservation mat board and will only cost a few dollars more.

  • Never use scotch tape of any kind of tape to mount a painting to a backer board or mat board.

  • Never allow pastel or watercolors to touch the glass.  An experienced framer will place a spacer to allow "breathing" room.


  • Treat your art with care.  They are treasures from the past and heirlooms for your children and future generations. 

  • Clean dust off canvas surfaces with a feather duster only.

  • Clean glass by gently using a paper towel or soft cloth sprayed with glass cleaner.

  • Hang paintings by using proper sized frame hooks only.

  • The backs of oil canvases and frames should not be completely sealed.  Use a dust cover that is secured to the top of the back frame and loose on the bottom.

  • Have repairs done as soon as possible for any painting showing visual signs of flaking to prevent further -- and more expensive -- repairs.


Focusing in on a Painting's Pedigree

Focusing in on a Painting's Pedigree    


(Article written by Joseph James Patti for publication in The Real Paper, Pensacola, Florida)

       Just picture it.  Itís Saturday afternoon and youíre meandering the aisles of a local antique shop brimming with turn-of-the-century furniture and vintage clothing. Then, you spy it.  Being the rococo desk and dusty box of 50s glassware.  The perfect painting for your living room.  Maybe itís the color/ Maybe the subject or style grabs your eye.  Whatever it is, you think it may be old.  But youíre not sure.  What do you do?

       You follow the lead of art experts and first identify whether itís an original painting Ė an oil, pastel or watercolor (the three primary mediums) Ė or a reproduction such as an etching, engraving, lithograph or print.   Identification is important since original painting generally have a higher value than a reproduction.

       The price tag may provide pertinent information including the medium, artist name, price and provenance.  Provenance is the recorded or known history of a painting, such as its ownership record, title, receipts, galleries and museums of display or past purchases.  But donít rely entirely on what others say about the painting.  Use your own judgment.

       Is there glass over the painting?  Glass indicates it is more likely a watercolor, pastel or reproduction.  Ninety-five percent of the time oil paintings do not have glass covering.

       Donít be misled by seemingly old or ornate frames either since most older paintings are not in their original frames.  Since the item may be priced partially based on the frame, this is not a good indicators of the paintingís age or value.

       The leading problem experienced by novice art buys is telling the difference between a watercolor painting and a production.  On first glance, it is easy to confuse two since prints look like watercolors.  Now is the time pull out your trusty little magnifying glass.  Donít have one?  If youíre planning on hitting the antique art trail, you need to invest $5.00 in this invaluable tool.  Every first-rate antique art aficionado carries one.  Use the magnifying glass to check the work up close for tiny dots.  Dots mean the work is a reproduction, not an original.

       Although brush strokes on the painting are good indicators that itís original, you need to proceed with caution.  Some older prints have been altered with brush strokes to make them appear as original oil paintings.  Also, sophisticated computer technology is making it more difficult to identify an original from a print.

       Next, check for a signature.  Although signatures are important in pinpointing the time period and artist, donít reject a work simply because there is no signature.  Some of the most accomplished artists in history did not sign their works.  Some paintings were also done as studies in preparation for a larger work of art

       Antique pastel paintings framed under glass have also been confused for oil paintings, photos and watercolors.  A good indication that a work is pastel is its chalky texture.  Some of the pastel pigments may even be smeared on or have fallen inside the glass or frame.

       Oil paintings that have not been recently cleaned may also have a yellowed varnish covering which appears as a natural result of age.  This yellowed tint can be cleaned and as a result, considerably brighten the painting.  A stern warning here: Do not buy the oil painting and think you can remove the old varnish yourself.  It requires experience and artistic expertise to remove the top varnish layer without destroying the paint beneath.  An experienced art restorer can clean and restore yellowed oil paintings at a reasonable cost.

       During your close inspection of an oil painting, you might also be surprised to see the work is not on canvas but on a wood panel, paper board or even Masonite.  Many antique paintings including 19th and 20th century oils were painted on whatever material support was available to the artist.  This does not change the value or quality of the work.

       Finally, check the painting under strong light for signs of cracking on the paint surface, prior repairs and restorations, and the quality of its support.  All these can help you determine the age and value.

       Correctly identifying and valuing antique paintings takes patience, knowledge and experience.  The best way to learn is to get out and spend a few afternoons visiting a plethora of antique shops.

       And if you find a painting that captures your soul, be sure to check it out.  Or you can pay a few dollars to an experienced art dealer for his or her advice.  If you are simply captivated by the work and donít care whether itís an original or reproduction and the price seems right, then take out your wallet and take the piece home.  Your walls will love it and your friends will envy your good taste.

    And remember, good art doesn't have to match you sofa!



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Art restoration services by

Joseph James Patti

Over 30 Years' Fine Art Experience


5733 Quintette Road, Pace, Florida 32571

850.994.9974 ● 850.380.0881 (cell)


Copyright 2013