Guy Savy started his career at the age of 16, after training as an airbrush artist. He then studied anatomy and drawing at the Natal Technical Art School and later worked for the Natal Mercury as an editorial artist.
Inevitably, in 1975, his love of painting led him to open his own studio in Durban’s city centre, where he gained success as a portrait artist painting the portraits of some of the best known business personalities, dignitaries and socialites.
His interest in restoration developed at this stage and became his next field of study. With a shortage of trained restorers in Durban at this time, Guy spent more and more of his time salvaging collectors’ valuable treasures, and was responsible for maintaining the artworks in the Durban Art Gallery. Today his studio is full of canvases waiting for his expert touch.
Guy comments that the most common cause of damage to paintings are long term neglect, damage during a move, and environmental conditions. As with good furniture, paintings need tender care and nourishment, and should be regularly checked for dry, flaking paint and discolouration of the varnish layer. Guy says he sees an increasing number of paintings needing restoration because of poor priming of the painting surface. He stresses to young artists the importance of a stable, properly prepared ground.
Guy also works on paper restoration. Our Durban climate is harsh on paper and water colours are often plagued with the brown spots known as foxing – an age related process of deterioration, but accelerated here in Durban with our humid climate. Paper works obviously require meticulous care and attention.
Check your paintings regularly and whether they are valuable or sentimental pieces, Guy can give them new life and longlivity.