Whether you have old oil paintings that have been passed down or you acquired on your own, or you have modern art pieces on your walls, it can be upsetting when you see one or all of the pieces are damaged. Damage could be cracked paint, embedded dust/dirt, or streaking paint. If you are not experienced with repairing oil paintings, it would be best to have a professional take care of it for you. If the painting is worth something, whether the worth is financial or sentimental, you definitely should take it to a company that specializes in damaged oil painting restoration.
However, if you did want to try your hand at a bit of restoration or repair, start with some pieces that don't mean much to you. You could even create some yourself, just splashing some oil paint on a canvas and then, after it has dried completely, damage it.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
It might be hard to recreate cracked paint. However, if you place the painting in front of a small heater, with the heat on full, you might get some cracks. You want to place the painting with the back to the heater. The reason most older oil paintings have cracks is a weakened canvas under the paint. As the canvas deteriorates, it pulls away from the paint, causing cracks. You can flip the painting over and apply beeswax or another resin to help strengthen the canvas so the paint will adhere to it again.
Recreating water damage is not to difficult. However, you should get the painting wet and then let it sit for a week or more. Part of the problem with water damage is mold growth. Mold can grow into and under the paint. After you have let the water sit and dry, it is time to get to work. Using a small paintbrush, gently remove any mold. Using a soft cloth, dip it in lemon juice and carefully blot any water stains or streaks. You do not want to rub and all, just blot. Once the painting is clear again, set it to dry completely in a warm room.
While it might be fun to mess around and try to do some simple repairs on oil paintings, if you find that the above tips do not fix the problems, you really need to take the piece to a professional. Art is something everyone should be able to enjoy as it can heal the soul. You want it to remain as original as possible to capture the artist's passion. Let someone with experience take care of any necessary repairs.