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gorie
01-24-2010, 11:48 PM
i don't have much experience with acrylics and varnishing since it's new to me. but i have been painting a lot of acrylics lately and continue to pursue it.

how important is it to varnish acrylic paintings?

i have yet to really find a finish i like, i've tried both matte and glossy (both liquitex i believe)

in general i do prefer a more matte look to avoid glare issues, but i am always very nervous using a matte varnish because it seems to be very easy to leave a "fog" look to the painting (even if i don't go back over it, which is just asking for disaster), like it is really not clear... and that bothers me. are all matte varnishes this way?

the glossy varnish seems easier to apply because it dries clear and doesn't seem to have the same issues as the mate, and i do like that it makes the colors pop - but the glare can bother me and doesn't seem like the best way to go for all of my paintings.

any varnishing tips? how can i get the even colors and not too glossy finish without risking the whitestreaky look with the matte varnish ? not sure what i am doing wrong.

aspenman
01-25-2010, 12:26 AM
Matte varnish tends to leave a"film" look. There are semi gloss varnishes and satin. I've found the solvent varnish is better to use even tho you have to cleanup with paint thinner. The acrylic varnishes can leave air bubbles in the finish.
I have used Golden Spray Archival Varnish Mineral Spirit Acrylic Aerosol. I've use both Gloss and Satin. I never had any problem with these.

I use Chroma solvent varnish satin finish now as I only use Chroma Interactive acrylics so I stay with all their brand of products.

You really should put an isolation coat on the painting B4 varnishing.

What does the mfg of the paint you use have to say on this issue?

gorie
01-25-2010, 12:35 AM
Matte varnish tends to leave a"film" look. There are semi gloss varnishes and satin. I've found the solvent varnish is better to use even tho you have to cleanup with paint thinner. The acrylic varnishes can leave air bubbles in the finish.
I have used Golden Spray Archival Varnish Mineral Spirit Acrylic Aerosol. I've use both Gloss and Satin. I never had any problem with these.

I use Chroma solvent varnish satin finish now as I only use Chroma Interactive acrylics so I stay with all their brand of products.

You really should put an isolation coat on the painting B4 varnishing.

What does the mfg of the paint you use have to say on this issue?
ok, good to know that "film" is normal since it didn't seem like i was doing anything wrong with the application.

i was hoping to avoid using a spray varnish. i wonder if spray varnishes are preferred maybe i will have to reconsider...
also i did not ask the mfg about any of this. i use different brands of paint some golden, da vinci, windsor & newton, matisse.

what do you mean when you say this
You really should put an isolation coat on the painting B4 varnishing.
what is an "isolation coat" ? :(

thanks for the help

Foxyheart2002
01-25-2010, 01:49 AM
I varnished the first time last week. The stuff I got was recommended to me. It is gloss, applied with a brush. An instructor who happened to be in the school/art supply store said gloss is the way to go since it tends to make people believe it is fresh, new. It does look nice, however, the glare is horrible. I will let you know after my show if it makes a difference or not for sales. Some of my paintings I am leaving without the gloss varnish.

Another thing with gloss is it shows every little piece of lint, hair, brush leftovers. You think it looks great until the light hits from a different angle. I paint very thinly so no brush strokes, and anything on the surface such as dust or hairs will show up in an instant but not until it is varnished. arghhhhh.

The gloss varnish did not show any brush marks and the bubbles disappeared. But you have to be very careful to do your final strokes lightly and in only one direction or the bubbles will intensify

Einion
01-25-2010, 06:50 AM
Lots and lots of prior threads on this Carey - 132 threads in Acrylics with varnish in the title!

Here are some relevant ones:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=571154
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=554479
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=540707

Einion

aspenman
01-25-2010, 09:43 AM
Basically an isolation coat SEALS the layers of paint and is NON-REMOVABLE, the varnish coat provides further protection UV etc and in most case can be removed for proper cleaning of a painting - if ever needed. Your paint MFG is the best source for what to use for isolation and varnish - I however would stay away from matte finish and water based varnish - this is just my opinion.
As I say I use all Chroma products as that is my paint of choice.

OkeeKat
01-25-2010, 10:46 AM
I use liquitex matt and gloss varnish ,ised, Artist friendArt teacher here in town advised me and it works great!
gloss varnish has too much of a shine and shows a glare when looking at your painting on the wall from different angles.
So She advised to mix the gloss and matte to give it a slight sheen but not realy shinny, I do prefer the matte look as its easier to see, but it give it a little sheen. I use 3/4 matt and 1/4 gloss mixture, brushed on with foam brush.
BUT FIRST I spray varnish a coat on the painting, let dry, then brush varnish my paintings 2-3 coats.
Works great!! I've always varnished every painting! Protects from sun and elements. Especially when not framing it under glass its necessary to protect it. easy to dust off.
No acrylic should be up against the glass, it needs to be matted to lift it a little away from the glass frame.

aspenman
01-25-2010, 11:54 AM
Kathy, you can also use the clear plastic 1/8 inch spacers which attach to the glass with a self sticking strip already on one side of the spacer. I use these in the rabbets of my frames so the painting will not stick to the wood of the rabbet. This way I can unframe and use the frame for another painting.

LinZcarpenter
01-25-2010, 01:09 PM
I'm so glad I can across this thread, I have only varnished 1 other painting before this weekend in which I did 3 and it scares me! They came out ok but I have not decided yet which I prefer, the matte or the gloss. Both have their own appeal. I found the gloss gave me more issues than the matte and I don't like the glare the gloss gives. I did 1 layer of gloss and 2 coats of matte but it left no shine at all so thank you OkeeKat for your suggestion on mixing the gloss and the matte, I am going to give this a try in my next piece!

Taddybigs
01-25-2010, 02:25 PM
I have just been using a solvent based varnish directly over the finished acrylic. Is that wrong? Do not know what the isolation medium is and have not been able to find anything labeled that at the store. I am new to acrylics and have completed only a few pieces but I like the solvent based varnish look/ Thanks for your posts, I learn so much here! Nancy


Just went to the link the moderator provided and my questions were answered. I will look to these forums in the future ! Live and learn..:wave:

Einion
01-25-2010, 06:47 PM
I have just been using a solvent based varnish directly over the finished acrylic. Is that wrong?
There's no wrong here, just what is advised and done by some people.

There are painters who use spirit-soluble varnishes (not just those made specifically for acrylics) who will apply them directly to the paint surface. In terms of cleaning it is safer to apply an isolation coat first, but applying that itself can potentially cause a couple of issues so that must be borne in mind.

Einion

allegretto
01-25-2010, 07:09 PM
I quit using varnish on my acrylic paintings. If you you use a thin coat in one area of the canvas and thick, multiple coats in other areas, the varnish adhears acordingly: soaks into the canvas over thin layers and lays on top of multiple layers. The result is an uneven, glossy/flat painting. Don't forget that acrylics are plastic, they are easy to clean without needing a varnish. I have acrylic paintings that I painted 30 years ago and the colors are as vibrant now as the day they were painted. No Varnish applied. I try to use Brera brand by Maimere whenever possible, but I've had equal success with Liquitex.
Happy painting!
Ciao, Pam

pacmanJohn
01-25-2010, 08:33 PM
I use Krylon Kamar Varnish (spray). I set the painting up at an angle against a wall (with cardboard behind it in my basement). I spray for a second away from the painting to make sure it is misting properly. I start at the upper left about a foot or so away from the painting, moving left to right (start 'off' the painting). After I move across the painting I drop down a bit, overlapping the just spayed area a tad and go right to left working my way back and forth till I get to the bottom. When that's done (just 15 seconds or so) I set the painting up on its side (rotate it a quarter turn) and repeat the process. I lay it down flat when it's done and it dries very quickly.

I like using the varnish as it hides any overworked areas or paint that has a different finish in places. The MAIN reason I varnish is that it forces me to be finished with a painting :) ). Just make sure you sign it first (and for me, hide the pacman). ;)

Einion
01-26-2010, 04:54 PM
Don't forget that acrylics are plastic, they are easy to clean without needing a varnish.
Untrue - the reason for the development of varnishes for acrylic paintings was because of the need for them (rather than it just being for aesthetic reasons).

We should never forget that plastics are by no means one thing - take Perspex on one hand and expanded polystyrene on the other, both plastics but clearly with entirely different properties.

The polymer or co-polymer that acrylic paints are generally made from are not hard. They are in fact relatively soft at room temperature - what's called a low glass transition temperature - as can be seen from their good flexibility, and especially when the humidity is high dust or other airborne particulates can actively stick to a painting and become incorporated into the paint.

Einion

Nilesh
01-26-2010, 05:02 PM
i don't have much experience with acrylics and varnishing since it's new to me. but i have been painting a lot of acrylics lately and continue to pursue it.

how important is it to varnish acrylic paintings?

i have yet to really find a finish i like, i've tried both matte and glossy (both liquitex i believe)

in general i do prefer a more matte look to avoid glare issues, but i am always very nervous using a matte varnish because it seems to be very easy to leave a "fog" look to the painting (even if i don't go back over it, which is just asking for disaster), like it is really not clear... and that bothers me. are all matte varnishes this way?

the glossy varnish seems easier to apply because it dries clear and doesn't seem to have the same issues as the mate, and i do like that it makes the colors pop - but the glare can bother me and doesn't seem like the best way to go for all of my paintings.

any varnishing tips? how can i get the even colors and not too glossy finish without risking the whitestreaky look with the matte varnish ? not sure what i am doing wrong.
how important is it to varnish acrylic paintings?

Depends on (1) how long you want the painting to last (if you want to maximize the lifespan, proper varnishing is often in the interests of maximizing it), (2) how cleanable you want the painting to be (properly varnished paintings are significantly more cleanable, over a wider range of conditions, than unvarnished and uncoated, raw acrylic paintings), (3) the surface texture of the painting (a rough, impasto surface can be significantly harder to clean if unvarnished and uncoated), (4) the future owners or caretakers of the painting (unvarnished paintings call for more knowledge and attention for proper cleaning and care; varnished paintings are easier, and do better in a wider range of conditions, and stand up to abrasion, repeated wipings, and abuse better than raw acrylics), (5) the conditions under which the painting is kept (dirty, smoke-filled, dusty, sooty, or otherwise polluted environments would tend to make proper varnishing much more desirable; an exceptionally and consistently clean environment would make varnishing less strongly advantageous), (6) the desired appearance of the painting (often, even usually, people prefer the appearance of a varnished painting; but there are some exceptions), (7) how much you care about these and other factors.

Personally, it seems like a good finishing touch. It seems to raise the quality level of the painting.


i have yet to really find a finish i like, i've tried both matte and glossy (both liquitex i believe)

Matte and gloss varnishes can be combined 50:50, 70:30, 20:80, etc. to give a wide range of in-between finishes.

There is also Gamvar (made by Robert Gamblin), which gives a somewhat different look. There is a demonstration video that you can find on the Gamblin website, and at www.video.google.com (http://www.video.google.com)

There are some other alternatives as well.


in general i do prefer a more matte look to avoid glare issues, but i am always very nervous using a matte varnish because it seems to be very easy to leave a "fog" look to the painting (even if i don't go back over it, which is just asking for disaster), like it is really not clear... and that bothers me. are all matte varnishes this way?

To some extent, probably so. It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows of an equivalent to certain types of museum glass, which both cut the glare dramatically and retain more clarity than most non-glare glass.

One way to help minimize the fogging effect is to use gloss mediums and varnishes for all layers but the last one(s), and to make the last one(s) thin. If after one layer of matte varnish, there is an uneven finish, another layer can help to even out the finish.

Some people will drag a brush over the surface of a gloss varnish when it starts to tack up; they say that glare can be reduced this way. If done carefully, and with some experience and experimentation, you could probably learn to vary and control the surface texture this way.

any varnishing tips? how can i get the even colors and not too glossy finish without risking the whitestreaky look with the matte varnish ?
not sure what i am doing wrong.

Isolation coats can help with evenness. They even out the absorbency of different areas in the painting.

Thinning the varnish can help with even application and minimizing brushstrokes.

Using the right brushes can be very helpful. Very soft, fine, wide brushes are far better than stiff bristle brushes.

Watch some videos. Like these,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU94kQzpl5E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej8Knu9DKPQ&feature=related

Some people prefer spraying to brushing,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE5lZUyoj-U

Some use their hands (but it's much better to avoid potential health problems by using nitrile or other chemically protective gloves),

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6MGVkiCVo4

Rusla
01-26-2010, 05:07 PM
I use Krylon Kamar Varnish for Acrylics and watercolour. It sprays on and I don't have problems with bubbles, it works for me.

Randi-Lee

Taddybigs
01-26-2010, 05:12 PM
Thank you Einion ! I guess by "wrong" I meant that I was concerned it might cause some horrible chemical reaction with the acrylics. Good info and I appreciate it!

gorie
02-01-2010, 11:03 AM
thanks for all the info