View Full Version : another varnishing question - making prints

08-21-2002, 11:33 AM
Hi all,

I posted a question a while ago about how to get varnishing done on a commission. To recap: I'm doing a commission, due in November. I was planning on having it finished by now but it looks like it will take to at least the end of September.

Now the client will be making prints in November. I was just about to leave it unvarnished, however in order to make prints, wouldn't it have to be varnished in order for the surface to be evenly shiny? In this case, should I be putting on a layer of retouch varnish?

I'll be glad when this commission is done and I can stop bugging everyone with stupid questions.;)

Wayne Gaudon
08-21-2002, 11:40 AM
I'm sure someone will jump in and shoot me if this is wrong but I think you can bring up the luster by applying linsee oil .. take a lint free cloth and add some oil to the entire painting .. then take the palm of your hand and rub it into the painting .. this warms the oil and makes it enter the canvas. When you have worked over the entire painting, take a clean lint free cloth and wipe off any excess oil as you do not want the oil to run and leave tear marks. (running down the canvas) .. yikes!


08-21-2002, 12:35 PM
Thanks Wayne,

I tried that on my first painting, and in the long run (8 months later) the individual pigments re-asserted themselves (I find some pigments dry extremely matte - especially raw umber, which I am fond of).

Been doing some research on retouch, and basically what I've found : can be used to unify surface up to one year, when final varnish can be applied. Not recommended as final varnish.

Since retouch is basically thinned down varnish, why can it not be left on top indefinately?

Wayne Gaudon
08-21-2002, 12:38 PM
I tried that on my first painting, and in the long run (8 months later) ......

Sorry, I thought you just wanted a hold over to make the prints and then varnish it later on down the road.

08-21-2002, 02:29 PM

the idea about varnishing to soon deals with the
oil coat being surface/touch dried,but not cured.
When the coat is cured it is impervious to simple
solvents [ a thin coat takes about 6 months for
linseed oil,longer for walnut and probably longer
for safflower].

Any varnish applied before the curing will bond to
the coat and as a varnish ages it will brown.You
may end up with gallery tone.
Since the varnish has bonded to your paint coat
removal would also take off some your painting.

Luis speaks of a synthetic varnish that he says
will not brown with time,get his attention and
he can supply details.

My sympathy to you.
I am finishing 2 commissions and made sure the
owners knew that at least a year had to pass before
varnishing.My binder is walnut oil and the painting
is in thin coats.

Wayne,no one is going to jump down your throat.
However,I will pass this on to you.I ruined a white
background in a still life applying a water thin coat
of linseed oil to the surface.The picture is now yellow.
A shame too,as it was my second still life.
You live you learn.

Wayne Gaudon
08-21-2002, 03:43 PM
Thanks .. I'll keep that in mind .. it was something I had read and I've done it to a winter snow scene and haven't really noticed any coloring but that was only 4 months ago.

08-21-2002, 03:58 PM

this took about 2 years,and I used cold pressed linseed
oil.If you used Alkali processed linseed oil,it may take
longer to show or maybe never.

I noted that Sun-thickened oil made with cold pressed
linseed oil turns seriously red-brown with time,but
Alkali processed is only slightly yellow.Both in sealed
bottles with little air.
However there is the time factor,so we may never
see [ or care ] the darkened images.

I do have images of layers in Titian's work that show
very dark layers of linseed oil applied under the
pigment.Once again possibly - cold pressed linseed
Stay Well,

08-22-2002, 12:02 AM
Thanks Titanium.

I guess the retouch varnish would be suitable for getting the prints made. My question then would be, what happens to the retouch varnish after an amount of time has passed? Does it degrade?

I cannot expect the final recipient of the original painting to ship it back to me - would it be professional of me to suggest to them to get the painting varnished on their own after a suitable amount of time?

How the heck do you professional painters handle this?

Wayne, I would second what Titanium said about applying a layer of oil over your paintings. Your colors are so beautiful I wouldn't risk them yellowing due to bad technique!

Wayne Gaudon
08-22-2002, 09:49 AM
Wayne, I would second what Titanium said about applying a layer of oil over your paintings. Your colors are so beautiful I wouldn't risk them yellowing due to bad technique!


Thank you very much for your wonderful compliment
.... thank goodness I'm only doing studies till I get a house and convert a room or two into my studio. Then, hopefully, I can convert my studies into paintings .. I'm learning so much about how to and how not to do things, that I should be equipped to do things properly when I get to doing them.
(Which should be this year or next at the latest if I can just find the house I want at the price I can afford and get the deal done.

.. this site reall rocks with knowlege that is sooooooo helpful! A big thanks to all the posters.