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Help restoring watercolour


BritInCanada

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Hi all,

Forum newbie here, just been looking around and am amazed at the talent on display in this forum.

I've signed up to see if anybody can help me with the steps needed to restore the original colours from a 27 year old painting by my late Grandad. The frame has protected the edges of the picture from sunlight, so you can see the deep reds that the original had that caught my eye years ago. I'd love to get a version of the picture looking like this original best.

08022014093914-DOC080214-0001 (2).png
 

Tom Mann

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It can definitely be done, but I would strongly suggest that you post a much, much larger (in pixel dimensions) image, even if you need to re-scan the painting or re-photograph it. The version you posted is so tiny it will be hard to work with, and, it won't be able to be used to make a nice (restored) print.

I would say that you should post an image that is at least 3000 pixels on the long dimension.

Tom M
 

BritInCanada

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It can definitely be done, but I would strongly suggest that you post a much, much larger (in pixel dimensions) image, even if you need to re-scan the painting or re-photograph it. The version you posted is so tiny it will be hard to work with, and, it won't be able to be used to make a nice (restored) print.

I would say that you should post an image that is at least 3000 pixels on the long dimension.

Tom M
Thanks for your response Tom.

I was actually hoping to tackle the original myself, and was looking for some help in the steps I'd need to go through. Would you need a high-res version to experiment with, even if I wasn't looking to keep the result?
 

Tom Mann

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There have been very similar problems discussed in the past, here on PSG, but each requires slightly approach depending on the exact nature of the problem, so, it would be good to have a higher resolution example to look at and walk through the steps.

Regards,

Tom

PS - I'll be away for the computer till late tonight, but someone else will likely pick up this thread, and may even be able to quickly dig up the old related threads and send you the links to them.
 

MikeMc

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To add an even red cast is easy with a few steps. Let me try a few, but read this thread about using the channels and repainting the reds back in. I wanted to remove blue...adding red, same idea, I might mask it a bit.

What I don't know is the red..was it the same all the way across the image?

https://www.photoshopgurus.com/forum/general-photoshop-board/51641-retouching-help.html

The red is not even....the upper right corner has as much grey as red....Do you have an image of what the blending was?
 
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Steve

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Maybe this can get you started.
I masked off the area outside the frame left and right.
Then I used a Selective Color adjustment layer.

My settings are:
Red +80 Cyan
Yellow +70 Magenta
White +4 Black
Black +7 Cyan

Not perfect especially on the left side but it'll get you started I hope.
ss.jpg
 

Paul

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I don't believe the image was originally that reddish tinge, why paint over trees branches with the same hue?
 

Steve

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I don't believe the image was originally that reddish tinge, why paint over trees branches with the same hue?
Could be, no idea.
I just tried to blend what was behind the frame to what wasn't.
I think the blend was more reddish as it went to the left of the image.
The match on the right is close but on the left it's not red enough.

But who's to tell?
That's just my interpretation.
 

Paul

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Not Knocking you Steve just find it a bit iffy that the border as a red tinge that goes over the paintings blackened tree branches, the red is supposedly lost colour leached away by sunlight and time.
 

Tom Mann

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Geeze, you guys sure have been busy! Nice work, everyone!

Paul, I completely agree with you that the explanation (photobleaching in the center) proposed for the red edges may be wrong.

For example, looking at the large version posted by the OP, the red tint in the deep woods on the mountain in the right center seems like a *very* unlikely choice by any artist. My guess is that the red edges are more likely due to a chemical effect well known to conservators as "Acid Burn", i.e. the frame, and/or any paper material between the frame and the painting was not of archival quality, and slowly put out acidic compounds that worked on the canvas underneath the edges. This is why framers make such a big deal about using using only acid-free materials.

This is not to say that photobleaching was not taking place in the center, exposed area. It most likely was, but the goal should not be to extend the red of the edges into the center, but rather, to remove the red from the edges and enhance the existing colors in the center.

Just my $0.02 (USD, of course).

Tom

PS - Don't forget that the OP said that he wants to do the restoration himself, so a bit of explanation about the technique(s) you used to get your results would probably be greatly appreciated by him.
 

Tom Mann

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PPS - A question for the OP: I know you said that the deep reds of the painting caught your eye years ago, but is there any chance you could be mistaken, and the original colors of the sky were more like deeper yellows, blues, and greenish-grays, not reds? By any chance, might you have an old color photo that we could use to verify whether the red edges extended into the central, uncovered area or not (ie, my acid burn theory)?

T
 
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Please do not ask me what steps I have done exactly in Photoshop. I could not explain, because dozens of small adjustments with curves, hue, saturation, selective color correction were mainly required to achieve this result.
However I have great experience in restoration and retouching of paintings. So this is my interpretation of how the colors have looked in the original at the time where the artist has painted this image.


This work was a welcome fun for me, it was a pleasure to do this for you.

painting largerChris.jpg
 
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Tom Mann

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BTW, here are a couple of examples of acid burn around the edges of artwork ( one print, one watercolor). In both cases, take a look at the first figure (and associated text) on both of these web pages:

http://www.framagraphic.com/acid-matte-burn-and-rebecca-pavitt/

http://www.arthouseart.com/node/449

Obviously, I can't be 100% sure this is what is going on with the OP's piece, but these two examples and many others show that the edges under the mat/frame are particularly vulnerable.

Tom

PS - Chris: I really like the colors you gave the sky, but I just can't be sure those are the colors that were there originally.
 

BritInCanada

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PPS - A question for the OP: I know you said that the deep reds of the painting caught your eye years ago, but is there any chance you could be mistaken, and the original colors of the sky were more like deeper yellows, blues, and greenish-grays, not reds? By any chance, might you have an old color photo that we could use to verify whether the red edges extended into the central, uncovered area or not (ie, my acid burn theory)?

T
Hi Tom... I guess this is possible. I just remember it being a winter sunset scene with red sky, but I was a child when I first saw it and could be mistaken. I hadn't considered that the paper of the frame might have made it more red on the outside. I don't believe we have any photos of the picture, though my Grandad did used to work from photos so I'll ask around in the family and see if we have any.
 

BritInCanada

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Please do not ask me what steps I have done exactly in Photoshop. I could not explain, because dozens of small adjustments with curves, hue, saturation, selective color correction were mainly required to achieve this result.
However I have great experience in restoration and retouching of paintings. So this is my interpretation of how the colors have looked in the original at the time where the artist has painted this image.


This work was a welcome fun for me, it was a pleasure to do this for you.

View attachment 48183
Wow, thanks Chris! This looks amazing. This is definitely close to how I remember it. The only (and very, very small comment in relation to the fantastic job you've done) would be the way the yellow meets the red in the middle of the picture doesn't seem to flow naturally into each other. But the way you have restored the red does make it look exactly how I remember it.

As per my prior post, let me see if there's any original pictures that might help with the colours. As many have pointed out, this is going to be tougher than just matching the colours from the edge into the middle as I hoped it might be - mind you, if it was really simple it wouldn't be as fun :)

Thank you everyone for your great responses!
 

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