My fearless co-worker, Sylvia, and I took a trip to Austin last Thursday. We had several goals, the first of which was to arrive in Austin. I rented a U-Haul Cargo van, read: Really Big Van with seriously loose steering. I was channelling a blue-haired old lady in her ’78 Lincoln Town Car for almost 200 miles! Wow. Our other goals were to meet with one of Villa Finale’s board members at Mark van Gelder’s studio to check on the conservation of the painting that has been with Mark since June, and to eat lunch-a primary goal-and to gather the 30 pieces of art that were recently conserved by Cheryl Carrabba and her studio.
We made it to Mark’s with only three-or was it four-wrong turns. And we were early. It was such a surprise and pleasure to see the painting. It wasn’t painful to look at. In fact, it was so clean and clear that I liked to look at it.
Mark is a perfectionist and the work he had done on the painting was indeed perfect. One would not know there had been large tears, bumps and folds on the surface. He had also in-painted areas that had been rubbed or chipped off which created an even more consistant and regular surface. To give the painting further clarity and brightness, he did not replace the heavy varnish that had made the painting muddy over time. I’m posting some before and mid-way photos:
We had a fantastic visit and I am glad to report that the painting is almost finished. The plan is to either have Mark hold it until Villa Finale’s restoration is finished, or we will keep it wrapped in a safe place here away from any construction activity. We made it to lunch at Chez Zee’s and completed our tour with a stop at Cheryl Carrabba’s state-of-the-art paper conservation studio to collect our Mary Bonner’s and other pieces. Since we had a cargo van, and didn’t really have what could be considered cargo, we relied on Cheryl’s expertise to pack the non-cargo in the cargo van: flat is the way to go! It didn’t budge the whole scary way back to Villa Finale.