Guy Downing Art Restoration

Paintings, Prints, Ceramics and Sculptures

Oil Painting:

Oil paintings are images drawn or painted with oil based paint on various surfaces. The most common is oil paint on canvas, but also there are oil paintings on wood, boards of all types, glass, metal, a variety of fabrics, and animal skins. Restoration of these paintings becomes necessary when somehow the painted surface becomes altered and/or the longevity of said surface is compromised. It is the art restorers responsibility to stabilize a painting that otherwise might be falling apart or rendering itself obscured in someway. Contrary to some opinions, restoration does not lower the value of a painting. Water damage, fire damage, accidents, and over restoration do.

In my San Francisco studio, I deal with every type of painting imaginable, both in preventative (conservation) procedures as well as reconstructive and stabilization restoration. We never do more than what is necessary to stabilize and render a painting viewable in the manner intended by the artist. All our restoration procedures (except for the removal of dirt) are reversible but remain permanent if so desired.


Watercolors are somewhat more difficult to restore, but none the less can be saved. Their problems are different than oil paintings by the very nature of their varied components. In all painting restorations, our studio provides the proper handling and maintenance (conservation) or art.


Prints are images that are placed of stamped onto a surface. There are many surfaces on to which on can print. And so, restoration of prints can be as varied as these applications. In general, most prints are on some type of paper. The inks used in printing can be water or oil based - two more variables in the complex puzzle of how to fix something that is damaged. My studio can reconstruct paper loss as well as ink loss, and clean the paper upon which the image is printed.

Unlike a piece of 17th century furniture, a painting or a print is not enhanced by several hundred years of patination.


My studio provides one the opportunity to have an old frame restored, create a "new" old frame, or create something contemporary. We do gilding as well as old world French Matting of the finest craftsmanship.