How to Revitalize an Old, Torn Painting

I bought this painting for 25 cents yesterday at a garage sale. It was ripped but I had an idea to salvage it.
I really don’t like city scenes but once I started looking at it, I see it has a lot of depth. See the grayish blue building in the middle? The artist painted it that color to push it backward in the picture. Bright colors come forward. Cool, muted colors recede to the back. That is how a flat picture on a canvas to be made to look like it is 3 dimensional. That’s what Hank my art teacher said. ;)

City painting

There are 2 rips in this painting. One is at the top of the center building. The second one is in the lower right hand side.
When I looked at this painting at the garage sale, I was trying to figure out how to save at least parts of it.

ripped painting


I remember Hank, my art teacher, telling us how Jackson Pollock used to paint. He spread a huge piece of canvas cloth on his barn floor. Then he would go around and drop and dribble and splatter paint on the canvas. When it was dry, he would go around and picture different areas of the painting and he would cut out paintings from the whole cloth. And Hank said that that was where the artist in Jackson Pollock came out... in knowing what would make an interesting looking painting.
To make a long story short, that’s basically how I approached this project. I looked to see what would make an interesting painting. In the end, there were several paintings in this large canvas.
I had some blank, white canvasses... 11 x 14 inches.

new canvasses

So I planned on how many little paintings I could get out of the whole painting by working around the ripped places.

I put down the canvass and then cut around it leaving room to wrap the painting around the canvass. I used a regular stapler to staple the oil painting on the side of the canvass. It was easy and quick.

Here are some of the “paintings” I found in the one big painting.



This is my favorite because it shows sunlight on the buildings.


Here is the smallest painting. This is a 5 x 7 inch canvas on my bookshelf.

smallest painting

WARNING: Do not do this if the artist who signed the piece is Renoir or Monet.... or Van Gogh... :)
(I did feel a little nervous cutting up this painting. It could have been repaired, I’m sure, but at what cost? I think that the pretty little paintings that I salvaged are just right. And I hope that I didn’t cut up a priceless painting by a famous artist.)

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  1. That is a great idea, thanks Linda! Haha, no I will leave my Rembrandt alone!

  2. This is a great idea, but before you do that you maybe should take it to Antiques Road Show? :)

  3. This is wonderful and very helpful, in a lot of ways as well as the paintings. And as an art history buff, I will look closer at old pics that wouldn't have interested me before!


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I am the crafter extraordinaire (on this blog anyway.) I live with my husband, my son, David, in a cozy cape cod style house in Connecticut.

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