View Full Version : question about varnishing

09-17-2009, 04:08 PM
Hi everyone,

I am fairly new to WMO and brand new to WetCanvas. I have a pretty naive question about varnishing. I've recently sold a few small paintings and have a another batch to go out (yay). These were only completed a few weeks ago. But it just occurred to me, they are not varnished. Is that going to be a problem down the line? Do artists generally wait 6 mos to a year to sell their paintings so they can varnish them first? I can't imagine.

I had played around with these paints years ago and notice some of the paintings faded over the years. I'm not sure if it was the medium I was using with them (all kinds of weird mixtures) or the paints themselves.

But now I'm a little concerned about what will happen to these new paintings over time if they are not varnished.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks so much.


09-17-2009, 05:58 PM
Hi Amanda! Welcome! I've never varnished a painting but I did find a great thread on varnishing and selling a painting. I've read through it and it has some great options.


09-18-2009, 12:56 AM
Your paintings may not have faded in relation to the pigment, especially if you paint in dark colors, and if you stored them away from the light that can cause the paintings to go dark.

It is all about how light is stored in the layers and pigments.

The old remedy is to sit the painting in the shade for 20 to 30 minutes with a strong sun. Don't let the sun hit the painted surface. This should restore the colors.

09-18-2009, 11:19 AM
Light won't fix faded color, it causes it (in some pigments that aren't lightfast) but it can brighten the oil medium itself if it darkens.

There are several threads here in the oils forum about varnishing, so please read through a few. In short, varnishing helps protect the surface so it can more easily be cared for. Any cleaner used on the oil surface can be damaging and you never know how others might abuse it. A proper varnish is one that can be removed if necessary.

6 months is the standard reply for how long to wait to do a final varnish (possibly sooner or longer depending on how it was painted.) A retouch varnish can be applied after a week or two to protect it in the meantime.

09-18-2009, 06:09 PM
thanks everyone. The advice and links are very helpful.