Fixing a Ripped Canvas – ‘Water Shortage’

The Skateboard and Canvas Incident

This painting nearly made it to an exhibition this year, but after an accident with a skateboard the fate of ‘Water Shortage’ was changed forever. As you can see from the feature image the rip in the canvas was undeniable.

The painting was in the back of my car about to be delivered to an exhibition at the Lobethal Woollen Mill. On my way to the Mill, I picked up my son from his girlfriend’s house. He jumped in the car and without looking, threw his skateboard into the back — through my painting.


Devastated, I still took the painting to Anne, my art-guru at the Mill. I was more than a little surprise when she said, we can just about fix that! So my son and my guru worked together
with water, canvas, PVA glue and magazines for ballast.

How did they do it?

  1. Wet (with water, ironically) the back and front of the painting around the rip to stretch the canvas.
  2. Cut a plain or spare piece of canvas into a size that will cover the entire area of the rip.
  3. Paste the spare canvas thoroughly with PVA glue, on one side only.
  4. Turn the painting over to the back and place the spare canvas, PVA glue side down, over the rip on the painting.
  5. Carefully check that all edges are smooth under the canvas, without folds. Particularly from the front of the painting if you can.
  6. Place some heavy books or magazines over the patch of canvas on the back and leave to dry.
  7. It should be mended and ready to hang the next day.
Not a bad mend at all - so you can come back from the brink of disaster with a ripped painting and a teenage son.
Not a bad mend at all — so you can come back from the brink of disaster with a ripped painting and a teenage son.

To my relief it worked – not necessarily to exhibition standard, but definitely to my kitchen standard. Now this nearly-exhibited painting bares the scars of life, but tells a tale of remorse, collaboration and forgiveness 🦋.

The original Watershortage, unblemished — thank goodness for the digital memories. Copyright ©2018 Kendrea Rhodes All Rights Reserved.
The original Water Shortage, unblemished — thank goodness for digital memories. Copyright ©2018 Kendrea Rhodes All Rights Reserved.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. anne griffiths says:

    I have always loved this painting Kendrea. The rip is like a scar on a beautiful soul, it adds to it’s intrigue.

    1. kendreart says:

      Well said, thank you 💚💙

  2. Sabiscuit says:

    Awesome work, Kendrea. I’ll keep this trick in mind. Canvases tend to dry out over time, so they get pretty easy to tear if they’re not protected.

    1. kendreart says:

      Thanks 💜. Yes I often forget about the aftercare of paintings (or any art). I think all the work’s done once you put down your brush! Protection is often forgotten.

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