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Learning More: Wendy Foster on Art Restoration

How long have you been restoring art?

FAFC Principal, Wendy Foster, started restoring artwork 20 years ago, when she first opened Indigo Gallery in Fort Collins, CO. It began when clients started bringing in damaged pieces – chipped or broken frames, damaged art – and she repaired them. Repairs turned to full-on restoration… Wendy has been learning and teaching herself a variety of techniques ever since.

What is your favorite type of art or damage to restore?

Wendy finds watercolors and silkscreens to be the most challenging, which make them all the more satisfying to restore, however her favorite pieces to restore are sculptures and ceramics. “I can get a 10 on those,” she says with a smile on her face.

What is the strangest item or tool you have used to restore a piece of artwork?

Oddly enough, saliva and fingernail files come in extremely handy when doing art restorations.

Does art restoration inspire how you create your own art?

Wendy’s first response was “no,” however after a little more thought she stated that practice with color matching, color execution, and the goal of perfection of art restoration play into her own artwork creation.

“[Art restorations] push me to be more creative and to want to take things further,” she said, adding that art restoration is a great confidence booster that gets her excited to create art. It’s important to know your limits and abilities to be able to push those beyond what you know you can do.

Do you want to share anything else about art restoration? “I try to connect with the art before working on it.” It helps to get acquainted with the art to make sure you’re in the right head-space to restore a piece.

What is your best advice to avoid damage or deterioration to a piece of fine art? Conservation is key. Proper framing and care of your artwork goes a long way. It can mean the difference between a piece lasting a decade or several lifetimes.

We’ll spend more time on conservation specifically in a later article, so keep your eye out!

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