3:01 p.m., Aug. 21, 2009----The first half of my summer work project was spent interning with the Western Center for Conservation of Fine Arts, based in Denver. Working with Winterthur graduates Carmen Bria and Camilla Van Vooren, I spent a month working on six exciting conservation projects.
The first project, a George Gibbs mural in the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, involved consolidation, cleaning and inpainting of the oil-paint surface.
Next, I went to Las Animas, Colo., where I aided in the excavation of original paint layers buried deep below layers of wall paint inside a building owned by the Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County. The building formerly belonged to the International Order of the Odd Fellows, and it was hoped that the excavation would expose pictorial paintings representative of the Odd Fellows symbology.
Denver was my next stop, where I worked on the cleaning of three contemporary murals in the Denver International Airport, two by artist Leo Tanguma and one by Marcus Akinlana. Working in the busy airport was a lively experience, especially when we were asked questions about a surprising conspiracy theory surrounding one of the murals.
My next project involved the cleaning system design and consolidation of a mural by Allen True (1881-1955). He was an illustrator who specialized in Western and Native American themes. His murals decorate the state capitol buildings of Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Wyoming, and he even designed the bucking horse that appears on Wyoming license plates. He also was a consultant for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, for whom he designed the color schemes for the Boulder Dam power plant, Grand Coulee Dam and Shasta Dam.
The second half of my summer work project will be spent at the Winterthur labs, working on modern paint research and experiment design with Prof. Richard Wolbers. I will also be helping researcher Brian Baade with the reconstruction of a painting from the National Gallery of Art's Samuel H. Kress Collection, El Greco's The Holy Family with Saint Anne and the Infant John the Baptist. The reconstruction will be made using the same techniques and materials as the original painting and will serve as a teaching and research tool for students and scholars in the field of art history and art conservation.