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juhanik
05-23-2004, 02:33 PM
I used Winsor&Newton acrylic matt varnish on an acrylic painting. I'm not sure if the varnish was all right, because the painting ended up having vertical stains on it and the colours turned rather bleak. Now I removed the varnish with "white mineral spirits" (English isn't my native language, but that chemical is used in various industrial processes and that's what my dictionary called it) as my guidebook recommended. It damaged the dry acrylic paint slightly, which disappointed me. And I still see the vertical stains on parts of the painting, although they aren't as distinct as they used to be. Why? Did I use a wrong chemical? And why didn't the varnish behave like it should?
There was a small crack in the cap of the varnish bottle. It had been sealed shut with dry varnish. Might that have been one of the problems?

Einion
05-24-2004, 09:15 AM
There is a good rule of thumb often expressed in varnishing guides - always test first before applying - which you've just learned the hard way, sorry!

Matt varnishes generally have an added ingredient to make them dry that way - a fine powder of some sort usually. If the application is not done just right, if the varnish has gone off a little or has thickened over time you can get clouding and streaks because of a higher concentration of this powder in certain areas.

As I just said in response to another question removing varnish from acrylic paintings can be tricky. Since this is a spirit-soluble varnish you should have been able to get it off without undue damage to the paint film but you do have to work slowly and carefully - acrylic paints don't withstand friction very well. Did you get some lifting of colour from the surface? If not then you might be lucky and in fact the paint is okay, it's just that there is a residue of the varnish, particularly in the low points of the texture where it is harder to remove.

With regard to the colours turning "rather bleak", matt varnishes have this sort of effect. The matt finish lightens medium and dark colours and can shift hues a little, because of scattering of light from the surface. Most people prefer a satin finish for acrylics.

Einion

juhanik
05-24-2004, 11:33 AM
The color did partially lift from the surface. Damage was minimal, but made me very worried as there still is varnish to be removed. Slow and careful working is probably a very good tip, thank you.
Perhaps it's the best alternative to move on to sprayable satin varnishes. I hate this goo.
Thank you for your help!

juhanik
05-24-2004, 11:41 AM
Can I add layers of different varnish on a painting? Probably not?
Now I removed the varnish and put gloss varnish on, but... there are parts on the picture that the vanish didn't stick to. It just ran away and left an unvarnished spot. Why?! I am using W&N gloss varnish. There can't be grease because the whole thing had been practically swinning in spirits.

juhanik
05-24-2004, 11:42 AM
Can I add layers of different varnish on a painting? Probably not?
Now I removed the varnish and put gloss varnish on, but... there are parts on the picture that the vanish didn't stick to. It just ran away and left an unvarnished spot. Why?! I am using W&N gloss varnish. There can't be grease because the whole thing had been practically swimming in spirits.

juhanik
05-24-2004, 11:43 AM
DANG! Can't use even this forum right!

Einion
05-24-2004, 04:03 PM
Yes, slow, painstaking work is the order of the day for removing varnish - professionally this is often done in 2-3cm squares using Q-tips! You should aim for it taking hours, not minutes. Any lifting of colour is worrying of course, especially if you paint thinly, but very slight staining of the cotton or tissue used to wipe off old varnish shouldn't represent a big problem.

You can varnish with more than one varnish on the same painting - satin over gloss for example - but they should be of the same kind. Spraying is probably the best way to uniformly apply varnish but ensure adequate ventilation, wear a mask of the appropriate kind and practice to prevent buildup at the start and end of each stroke - you should start spraying off the painting and end the pass beyond the opposite edge, if you get what I mean. Varnish in spraycans does tend to work out very expensive however and the proper application method is wasteful.

I suggest you have a look at Golden's website for up-to-date information on varnishing acrylic paintings and their research into removal issues for future reference.

Einion

juhanik
05-24-2004, 05:47 PM
Thank you very much for your help. If my art guidebook would have been as wise as you, I would have probably lived a few days older than I now will (stress makes old).
I will now save and print all information on this thread so I won't lose it. I'll check the site too.
I've used spray varnish, but as a result some parts of the painting got cluttered with small white dots. I don't know the reason for it (perhaps I didn't shake well enough? or?), but that was rather discouraging. The dots were easy to remove with a small amount of spirits, though. But after this experience I will accept almost any inconvenience and expense if I just can get rid of liquid varnishes.

artisan
10-29-2005, 07:08 AM
juhanik I hope you're painting was restored to it's original state. I also found this thread helpful even though I need to remove varnish from an oil painting, I found some useful tips here. I have an exhibition in a couple of days and just discovered that I didn't do a proper job in varnishng one of my paintings. The varnish beaded (gathered) in a kind of ring on one section of the surface, barely noticeable but something the trained eye would spot. So I need to remove this blemish. But I now see I need to be slow and deliberate while using spirits for removal. Best wishes juhanik and good luck. Roy.