Uncovering cows; local artist restores artwork

Uncovering cows; local artist restores artwork

By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer

Charlotte Hackin is probably best known in the community as a painter, teacher and author, but nowadays she is undertaking restoration projects, as well as doing appraisals for old art work. Hackin actually has her own special formula for the delicate cleaning work needed for restoring dirty oil and acrylic paintings and is the only specialized restorer and appraiser of this kind in town.

Hackin studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she had some of her work shown in the art gallery in a juried show. She spent some time in Arizona and lived near the Pima Indian Reservation, which inspired her last exhibit Contemporary Cowgirls, in the Burpee Art Museum. She also created a unique art program at the Phoenix Zoo where she used the live animals as models in the open-air classrooms. After her time in Arizona, she moved to Chicago where she became Art Director for the Lincoln Park Zoo. She opened her own art school and gallery in the city, and has received various awards for her work. She is a member of the American Watercolor Society, Western Women Art Association, and the National Watercolor Society. She is now the new Rockford Park Commissioner.

Hackin has been doing restoration work for 40 years. She cleans and restores torn, dirty canvases and also does appraisals for works, and is the one and only restorer of her kind in the area. Since she is a proficient and well seasoned artist, she is familiar with and understands oil, acrylic and watercolor paints. For the most part, she has restored paintings that people bring her from their attics or their deceased relatives’ houses. Apparently, a couple brought Hackin a painting that they had bought in Galena. It was a landscape scene with three cows standing near a river shore. As she cleaned it, using her own formula and method, she noticed what seemed to be an outline of legs in the water. On further inspection, Hackin uncovered another cow that had previously been lost under years of dirt and grime, and the finished work was returned to its original design.

Hackin’s work is another special addition to the art lover community, and it is surprising that Rockford has only one in her line of work.

To contact Charlotte Hackin for restoration/appraisal work, call 639-1318.

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