Your House is on FIRE!

Words none of us want to hear. Those are exactly the words my long time collector heard when she answered the call from their neighbor. Their home had been struck by lightning. Fortunately, Ron had been a Fire Chief before he retired. He immediately shut off power, gas and water, got Cindy and their Girly Girls, Carlie and Gabbie out and then manually opened the garage to save the cars. When the fire department arrived they allowed him to go in to retrieve important items. Along with other valuables, he was able to get all of their extensive art collection out before it could burn.

We’d met in the mid 1990ies when Cindy and Ron began collecting my paintings. We’ve collaborated on several but I didn’t realize they had collected 17 pieces over the years! So when Cindy asked if I would be willing to come to Florida to clean, repair and restore my art, I said, “ABSOLUTELY YES!” The art was covered with soot and debris, they’d be helping me so I thought having matching aprons would bring some fun to the emotional roller coaster they’ve been on.

Frankly, I didn’t have a clue how to clean soot from oil paintings. After doing A LOT of research online, I found a product made in England, FINE ART RESTORATION OIL PAINTING CLEANER. You may purchase it on Amazon. I emailed back and forth with Chris, in London, asking tons of questions. He was very patient and gave me much appreciated advice on the best way to use the cleaner. It worked great, the paintings now look beautiful. Please remember, you may click on any of the images to see them larger.

The next step was to repaint all of my White Senkarik Signature Frames. We constructed some makeshift work tables to complete the job!

Even though we had cleaned the white frames, you can see how they were stained by the smoke and soot.

SAFE HARBOR is a large piece, 48 inches x 36 inches, that Cindy and I collaborated on. She fell in love with two of my sketches from Jack’s and my travels in Italy, so we combined them into one painting.

It was done on a special painting panel. Water from the fire hoses seeped under the corner of the frame, lifting the painting surface. We were afraid to remove the art from the frame, it may have caused more of the surface to pull away.

Using a razor blade I cut a tiny slit, inserted glue with a small syringe, pressed the painting surface back down, let it dry and then repainted that area. After a couple of days I varnished the painting with Grumbacher Retouch Varnish and SAFE HARBOR was happy again! You can see how it now looks in the full image of the painting, two pictures back.

Portions of several pieces needed to be repainted. The dining room in their temporary home faced north, giving me perfect light to work in.

Also cleaned each of the paintings by other artists in Cindy and Ron’s collection. When all the art was clean I gave the paintings a final coat of varnish and they are now good as new!!! The smiles that filled my collector’s faces made my heart overflow with joy!

We couldn’t work for nine days and not play a little, so we definitely got some beach time in! I learned so much on this unique journey, thanks for following along!

I’d like to invite you to subscribe to my blog, you’ll receive an email every time I publish a new post. CLICK THIS LINK and scroll to the upper right side of the page. You will see a heading EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS. Just click the button “Sign me up!”  It’s easy. Please keep in mind, to move through the blog when you get the posts, just CLICK on the small titles at the top of the page. The one on the right for the next post or the title on the left side for the previous session.

I appreciate you subscribing to my blog! With Big Hugs,


© Senkarik 2022

22 Responses to “Your House is on FIRE!”

  1. Paula Somerville Says:

    You are so very amazing!! Love you!

  2. Alfred McWright Says:


    Thank You for sharing the process, techniques, and skills in the restoration of the collection.

    My skill is limited to tough up of scratches on the baseboard of scuff marks on the wall.

    Liked the AAA on the work table.

    Blessings Tex

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Thanks Tex! Hey, I’m hopeless on painting anything other than canvases. I’ve given up on trying to touch up my walls and baseboards. You have a talent for home improvements! Hugs, Mikki

  3. Jenny Mac Says:

    I love this story!!!! You are sooo special Mikki!!! ♥️♥️

    Hello from Sunny CA where the poppies are happy as ever. 😊

    Xoxo Jenny

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      My Dear Jenny, You’ve been through this nightmare. I pray that it’s become just a dim, distant memory and you and your family are enjoying your new, rebuilt home. It still brings tears to my eyes remembering how you reached out to me the very next day after the fire, asking if I would repaint your Poppy painting. I’m so glad Our Lord blessed me with the wonderful opportunity to do so. With Love and Hugs to all of you! Mikki

  4. Sheila Says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have a painting by my sister with smoke damage. I may try this.

    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      It’s worth trying, Sheila. The cleaner is pricy but it worked wonderfully for me. Make sure you have plenty of ventilation, it’s a little smelly. Cleaning pads are included with the jar of cleaner. I appreciate you following my blog, Mikki

  5. Regina Says:

    What a wonderful thing you did to help your collectors and to share the procedures with us. You are a real doll!!

  6. Marvin Tiesenga Says:

    Do you have to wait till painting is dry to spray on retouch varnish ? Thanks for your inspirational emails !! Ardythe Tiesenga

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Thank you Ardythe. Grumbacher RETOUCH VARNISH is specially formutated to use on oils that are freshly painted or not dry. It takes oils about 6 months to dry completely. After they are totally dry you may spray them with DAMAR FINAL VARNISH. I appreciate your great question. Have a wonderful day, Mikki

  7. Patricia Ann Ingram Says:

    So happy you could restore all those beautiful paintings! Thank you for sharing your new knowledge of how to get rid of smoke damage on an oil painting. You’re the best!! May God Bless

  8. mysoreraja Says:

    Mikki, It fills my heart with joy how you helped your collectors with restoring the paintings. you also gave the detailed process. Have a great day.

  9. Peter Mason Says:

    Hi Mikki, you did a fantastic job on the restorations! And it looks like you got to learn something new in your field, play at the beach, get your feet wet and had fun. Can’t ask for too much more! We did sign up for your blog. ( think we are already) Take care!

    Pete and Julie

    Sent from my iPad


    • Mikki Senkarik Says:

      Thank you Pete and Julie. I appreciate you being such loyal followers of my blog. It was fun to combine work, play and sharing time with wonderful collectors. With Hugs and Purrs to you and your kitties!

  10. Don Dillard Says:

    Mikki you still amaze me w your talents…art restoration , art consultant, Artist,Christian leader…wow!!! Very good article about your restoration project…thanks for sharing…👍🙏🙏🙏Don

    Sent from my iPhone


  11. Terri El-Farkh Says:

    This brought tears to my eyes; a devastating event for your friends yet the 3 of you were able to salvage some cherished memories. That was so kind of you to travel to Florida and restore each painting, may God bless you!

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