acrylic on canvas
20" x 16"
This piece explores a problem
that has recently perplexed me:
how do you actually "restore" a
creation without turning it into
something different?  Certainly
far greater minds than mine
have been consumed by this
issue in light of recent cleanings
of and repairs to high-profile
historical pieces (such as the
Sistine Chapel ceiling).

I am a long-time fan of the
unique tiles and ceramics
created only on the island of
Santa Catalina for a brief period
early last century.  I chose
images, colors and patterns
from those tiles to explore the
notion of "restoration".  This
design includes the popular
"double parrot" pattern still seen
in original installations on
several buildings in the Catalina
town of Avalon.  As the softness
of the local clay used in creating
the original tiles proved their
undoing over time (and lead to
the shut-down of their
manufacture), many original
tiles are showing the damage
accumulated throughout the
years.  Though still glorious, it is
painful to see the condition of
some of the more heavily
damaged tiles (and so many
more have already been
destroyed and lost forever).

In this piece I sought to
represent classic tiles with the
rich sepia of age in contrast to
the "not quite right" colors of a
single replacement tile (and the
concern of such an intrusion as
shown by one of the parrots).
© Ron Orpitelli 2007
Restoration is dedicated to the
Catalina Island Museum
in appreciation for all they do in
preserving the Island's unique
history and culture.  I especial
wish to thank Chuck Liddell for
his enthusiasm and inspiration
shared through his "Jewels of
Avalon" walking tour.  
Some of my own images of
original tile installations at Bird
Park (above) and the Wrigley
Memorial (right and below).
Contributed as part of the 2008 Catalina
Island Conservancy Ball Auction in Avalon,
California (a fundraiser in support of the
Conservancy's mission to be a responsible
steward of its lands through a balance of
conservation, education and recreation.   
Please visit their web site: