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UV Black light Tips for Revealing Secrets of Inpainting (Retouchings) on Paintings


Here’s a very useful tip for art collectors who use a black light. Using a blacklight is part of your investing survival techniques and technology! Everyone should use a black light when inspecting and evaluating art and antiques.

This painting is leaving the lab today, after we repaired a rip in the center of the painting. It poses an interesting uv light inspection problem though… its a night scene.


Retouching shoing up with a blacklight

New inpainting/retouchings show up bright with a UV black light



As you can see in the photo, even though its been cleaned, it still glows green. That’s because night scenes have lots of varnish usually in the paint. So, if you see a night scene glowing green when you shine your black light on it, it MAY not be because of old varnish!

One good thing about this though; the green glow makes it easier to pick out inpainting or retouchings. And this photo is a great example:

Note the purple nature of the composition of the painting. How do you tell the difference between a purple glowing original detail and the same purpleness of a retouching? Look to see if the purple color pattern follows the painting’s compositional details. If it cuts through details of the painting, its surely a repair… as in this painting.

Also note the careful exact way this inpainting was done. It was done with a small brush. That’s a hint that the conservation work/restoration work was conscientiously done.

Was this article helpful or interesting? Click on the THUMBS UP now!.. And leave a comment please.

For more info on black lights, tips and fun videos, go to www.tipsforartcollectors.org/blacklight-package

Conservation questions? Call Scott at 805 564 3438

Appraisal questions? Call Richard at 805 895 5121

See YouTube Channel “bestartdoc”

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About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of the "Save Your Stuff" series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/testimonials/
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2 Responses to UV Black light Tips for Revealing Secrets of Inpainting (Retouchings) on Paintings

  1. Very nice and useful post for such painting topics. I like this topic. In order for the paintings to survive, we should also learn how to survive these days! Thanks for posting this! Great work!

  2. Karla Dannebrog says:

    I was looking for info about using a blacklight for looking at paintings and I found your “UV Black light Tips.” Perfect and just what I was looking for! Thank you for sharing this good content.

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