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View Full Version : Using a matte varnish.


taylorh
07-08-2008, 09:39 PM
Has anyone ever used a matte varnish on their paintings and gotten a paint dulling effect? My paintings always seem to be so shiny that you can only see half the painting at once and was wondering if I could apply this varnish without significant color loss.

Thanks for any replies you may have!

Einion
07-08-2008, 09:47 PM
Has anyone ever used a matte varnish on their paintings and gotten a paint dulling effect?
Er, that's pretty much what matt varnish does.

My paintings always seem to be so shiny that you can only see half the painting at once and was wondering if I could apply this varnish without significant color loss.
A matt finish will lighten medium-valued and dark-valued colour (e.g. black will become a charcoal grey) while leaving lighter colours mostly unchanged. This compresses the tonal range somewhat, depending on the colours in the original painting of course.

There can also be some slight hue changes (a shift slightly toward blue generally) but again this depends on the colours present.

Einion

historybuff
07-08-2008, 10:16 PM
I use a matte varnish on my acrylic paintings, and I've noticed no appreciable color change. I do not use an extender or medium while I work....only water to create glazes. I've been using the varnish for years, so the previous answer surprises me. Maybe it's characteristic of a brand.

taylorh
07-08-2008, 10:19 PM
I use a matte varnish on my acrylic paintings, and I've noticed no appreciable color change. I do not use an extender or medium while I work....only water to create glazes. I've been using the varnish for years, so the previous answer surprises me. Maybe it's characteristic of a brand.
What brand do you use?

taylorh
07-08-2008, 10:32 PM
Er, that's pretty much what matt varnish does.


A matt finish will lighten medium-valued and dark-valued colour (e.g. black will become a charcoal grey) while leaving lighter colours mostly unchanged. This compresses the tonal range somewhat, depending on the colours in the original painting of course.

There can also be some slight hue changes (a shift slightly toward blue generally) but again this depends on the colours present.

Einion
This is saddening news, i was hoping for a quick cure all with a coat of varnish but I guess its never that easy. Not sure what to do at the moment now.

Bizkit
07-08-2008, 11:08 PM
Taylorh-
I dont have a good answer for you either. What brand of paints are you using? I will say that for the most part I paint in a Matt finish and use a Satin Varnish topped off with a gloss varnish,( I actually like the result and Ill explain why). When I complete a painting I varnish it with a Galeria Satin Varnish that pretty much seals the painting and brightens up the Matt color to a satin finish, not too shiny but not too dark, I then use a spray to do the final varnish which is gloss. Ive tried a Gloss varnish when I completed a painting but It really and totally brought out every imperfection on the canvas. As well when I did the gloss it brought out all of the areas where the paint was "Thinner" than the rest. I found that by using the satin it seals the painting so to speak and doesnt bring out the imperfections. The final coat just makes everything shine...May sound strange but it works for me.
Bottom line is you might want to try a Satin finish, I think youll enjoy the results.

taylorh
07-08-2008, 11:37 PM
Taylorh-
I dont have a good answer for you either. What brand of paints are you using? I will say that for the most part I paint in a Matt finish and use a Satin Varnish topped off with a gloss varnish,( I actually like the result and Ill explain why). When I complete a painting I varnish it with a Galeria Satin Varnish that pretty much seals the painting and brightens up the Matt color to a satin finish, not too shiny but not too dark, I then use a spray to do the final varnish which is gloss. Ive tried a Gloss varnish when I completed a painting but It really and totally brought out every imperfection on the canvas. As well when I did the gloss it brought out all of the areas where the paint was "Thinner" than the rest. I found that by using the satin it seals the painting so to speak and doesnt bring out the imperfections. The final coat just makes everything shine...May sound strange but it works for me.
Bottom line is you might want to try a Satin finish, I think youll enjoy the results.
I use Liquitex and Golden brands of paint. Golden seems especially reflective though Liquitex is also quite reflective from what i've seen. What brand of paint do you use?

Bizkit
07-08-2008, 11:52 PM
What ever is on SALE!!!! Seriously though I use a variety of paint depending on what im painting but for the most part Im using Liquitex Opague Matt and Van Gogh, both are matt finish. Check the Van Gogh though because some are gloss. The Van Gogh is also a pretty "Cheap" paint, cheap as in price and quality, you might need 2-3 coats when using it but if and when its the only thing available thats what you do....
If your using liquitex Heavy body its gloss and you just need to hit it with a satin varnish and you should be good to go.

Linee
07-09-2008, 12:00 AM
I use Liquitex's matt varnish and it doesn't seem to dull the color and gives a very subtle sheen. If there is a color change it is so minute that I've failed to notice it. The key with applying matt is not to overbrush, which can lead to dulling.

Einion
07-09-2008, 03:36 AM
I use a matte varnish on my acrylic paintings, and I've noticed no appreciable color change. I do not use an extender or medium while I work....only water to create glazes. I've been using the varnish for years, so the previous answer surprises me. Maybe it's characteristic of a brand.
It depends on the colours in the painting. It depends on how matt the varnish is - many artists' matt varnishes are only so-so in the matt department.

It also depends on how glossy the original painting is. Many acrylic brands have a uniform satin finish which is not too far away from matt, however one or two popular brands have a fair number of paints that are matt straight from the tube; this includes Titanium White, so it's not uncommon to have a fairly uniform matt finish on a painting using one of those brands.

You need to do a side-by-side comparison of the same colours with a matt and gloss finish to see how great the effect can be. If the paint is very shiny - for example if you're doing lots of glazing with a glossy medium - and you then matt varnish the painting will dull down significantly; with a truly matt finish a painting will look like it's done in gouache.


I use Liquitex and Golden brands of paint. Golden seems especially reflective though Liquitex is also quite reflective from what i've seen. What brand of paint do you use?
Check here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=6874609#post6874609) for my comments on Golden.

Previous threads that touch on varnishing/finish:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=389983
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=385903
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=288754
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=257611

Einion

connievanwinssen
07-09-2008, 05:51 AM
I use Talens Spray varnish matte (if I do varnish, which is not often). I always have black in my paintings but it doesn't change any colours. It stays the same as if I didn't varnish. I hate glossy varnish because of the reflections.

timelady
07-09-2008, 06:29 AM
I matte varnish all my paintings. The paintings are mainly in Golden and Liquitex paints and I use Golden's MSA varnish in matte. I wouldn't say the colours change except perhaps the very darkest darks - but they do LOOK different because of course I'm changing the reflectiveness of the surface from a satin one (on average) to a matte one.

I'd definitely recommend buying matte, satin and gloss finishes and doing experiments to see which you like. I did this on a typical but failed canvas so I could see how each varnish looked on my particular paintwork. You can also mix, so if you don't like matte you might like matte with just a bit of gloss mixed in or something. Getting the right finish and protecting your work is well worth the cost of a small jar of each kind of varnish to establish what will work for you. :)

Tina.

dbclemons
07-09-2008, 10:13 AM
Are you using an isolation medium? If you apply a matte varnish to the paint directly then the matting agents can cause a cloudy effect. This is most noticeable on absorbant paper. It's often recommended to use an gloss isolation medium like Soft Gel or Liqutex Gloss Medium/Varnish before varnishing. The idea is to use the matte varnish to dull the isolation coat not the paint surface.