View Full Version : Painting over final varnish

03-12-2007, 05:43 PM
This is somewhat related to my last post but I'm still trying to get a handle on this issue because I have a couple of varnished pieces I want to rework. I use Pebeo Satin varnish (love it!) and emailed their website and asked about painting over this product, do I need to remove the existing varnish etc. Here's the Pebeo expert's reply:

For your question, normally it is preferable to use what we call retouch
varnish for that purpose. But retouch varnish is glossier. There is no
problem to use the satin varnish and it does not need to be removed. The
thermoplastic film of all Pebeo varnish (except for Crystal and Darmar
varnish) allows the possibility to restore. After retouching the
artwork, it will probably need another layer of varnish to bring out a
more even finish.
Yet I have a friend who claims the new paint will peel! Any experience painting over a finished/varnished piece? Thanks, Narista

03-12-2007, 06:00 PM
Why not simply remove the varnish, and make your changes?

For one thing, varnish is meant to be easily removed so that a painting can be cleaned / restored / re-varnished. If there's paint, then varnish, then more paint, the procedure is more complicated.

For another thing, retouch varnish is much thinner than a final varnish, and can be more easily incorporated into a paint layer.

03-12-2007, 09:52 PM
...retouch varnish is much thinner than a final varnish, and can be more easily incorporated into a paint layer.

i'm glad this came up. i've seen reference to drawing with charcoal or carbon on canvas and then fixing it with a coat of retouch. would that be consider safe practice at the foundational level of an oil painting (canvas+acrylic primer+carbon pencil+sprayed retouch varnish+oils)?

03-12-2007, 10:38 PM
Regarding removing the varnish I will investigate this. I have read the methods suggested for removing damar but this is a different type (synthetic, "thermoplastic"). So again I'll email the manufacturer to see what is recommended. Anyone have experience removing ths type of varnish? My reading so far suggests a milder solvent than one would use for damar.
Thanks again , Naris