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ArtistEnigma
09-19-2002, 12:36 PM
I recently decided to varnish my paintings.
I was turned off by how long you had to wait in order to varnish. The common waiting period is 6 months. This is not practical at all. Because of this factor I put off varnishing for a long time.

The other night I spoke with a relatively well known artist (artist for a living mind you) and I noticed that all of his paintings were varnished beautifully. So I asked him about his techniques. He said that he doesn't wait 6 months, in fact he varnishes as soon as the paint on the surface is relatively dry to the touch and won't smear when he puts on the varnish.

This sounded more practical to me but I of course had to ask why and how and such. He said that the reason he puts on the varnish so quickly is because of the shine. The varnish binds slightly with the surface paint due to the fact that the paint is still wet. When the varnish soaks in, it creates a more vibrant surface. This is what creates the effect. He said that this does not harm the painting as one would assume.

He said that the reason he doesn't wait 6 months is because he can't wait that long but more so because it doesn't give the right effect he wanted. Waiting 6 months leaves the painting more susceptible to dust, dirt, and other bad things. He also said that the reason you would wait 6 months is if you wanted to remove the varnish without harming the paint beneath it, most often to continue painting or touching up the painting. At 6 months the painting has completely dried. This also makes it hard to get the deep shine that one would want because it cannot saturate the surface of the painting.

Being new to varnishing, I haven't spoken with many other artists who varnish. Most of what I know about varnishing comes from books and online tutorials. Apparently waiting a short amount of time is something that is more common then most think.

I've seen this artist's work for some time, old and new pieces and you can't tell the difference between the surfaces.

My question for you guys is this: how many of you wait a short or long period of time before varnishing and why?

Linoxyn
09-19-2002, 01:12 PM
I wait only about as long as it takes the last bit of workings on a painting to dry fully to the touch... about 3 to 6 days. The reason is because I paint fairly thin all over, in layers, my choices of pigments, and my paintings take a long time to complete - months and months. So when I finally varnish less than a 1/32nd of the paint is fresh (depending on subject matter and size of the painting). :)

paintfool
09-19-2002, 02:18 PM
I wait. Varnishing works to your advantage in several ways. It will protect the paint, of course, and unify the shine but it also pops the colors out beautifully. The standard waiting time is between six months to a year for a very good reason. Regardless of how the paint feels to the touch it is in all likliness still wet under the top layer if it's less than 6 months old. Of course this is going to vary from one application to another. If you paint very thinly it will be dry enough to varnish in less time and if you paint in thicker layers it takes longer. The risk you are taking by varnishing prematurley is that your paint can crack. The varnish dries quickly and if your lower layers are still wet they will contract at a slower rate than the varnish, pulling the layer of varnish apart as well as the paint under the portion that has been pulled apart. Hope this makes some sense because it's difficult to explain! At any rate if you're in a hurry you can use retouch varnish but i'd still recommend a fairly good drying time before doing it. Some people don't varnish at all.

Cheryl

guillot
09-19-2002, 02:36 PM
I wait at least six months per the reasons Cheryl explained above, and I have waited a year also, depending on the thickness of the paint. If I have a painting that has relatively thin layers, where I have allowed each layer to dry before progressing to the next layer, then I'll usually wait for about 3 months or so before varnishing. I think a deep shine is gainable without penetrating an oil surface (that is not thoroughly dry) with two coats of varnish, and I would rather be able to remove the varnish if need be.

I believe that the method your friend uses would not allow you to do this. If in the future the painting needed re-varnishing you would not only be removing the varnish but also the painting. If I felt the painting was good enough to varnish in the first place, then I wouldn't want this to happen.

Tina

ArtistEnigma
09-19-2002, 09:27 PM
I was concerned about the cracking as well but the paintings that he's done have not cracked and he paints very thick.

I personally paint in semi thin to very thin layers so it wouldn't be much of a problem for me.

As far as removing the varnish. The most common reason people remove varnish is to touch up the painting. Once I sign my name on a painting I consider it finished. You generally wouldn't have to re-varnish a painting unless it was bad varnish or there were debris on the surface of the painting when you varnished it that caused a separation from the oil and varnish. If the varnish has a chance to saturate the surface it's less likely to separate.

I also live in a very dry climate. Paintings tend to dry very fast here.

Linoxyn, how long have you been varnishing in this technique?

scottb
09-19-2002, 09:32 PM
Is he using a strong siccative in his medium, such as cobalt or japan drier? Alkyds?

Linoxyn
09-19-2002, 10:06 PM
ArtistEnigma, I have almost always varnished early and never had a problem, except when I was experimenting with a conservators solvent in a homemade damar varnish used on top of a oil/resin painting... disaster!

I paint only with oils, no solvent. I use mainly earths through most of my painting - which dry fast. I use lead white. I paint relitivly thin layers. I take a long time to finish a work. I now use Gamblin's GamVar varnish thinned with mineral spirits. This varnish goes on with ease and does not disturb the (my) oil painting. It unifies with a very good clean gloss (I add a small amount of wax to dull it just a bit).

I have to say that oil paint is porous in a wet state and a dry state. When a painting is left unvarnished dirt will work itself down into the paint all by itself. Varnishing too early is a judgment call dependant on your paint and painting method - yes disaster can occur. When varnish is put on a sound painting whether within a short or long period of drying the effect of where the resin goes is no different. So from the standpoint of solvency (natural resins and/or balsams), and how fat, and thick, and slow drying, and weak or strong the paint layers - if it's saying I'm not ready.... it's not.

I should know this for I am "linoxyn" :D

Leopoldo1
09-19-2002, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by Linoxyn
So when I finally varnish less than a 1/32nd of the paint is fresh (depending on subject matter and size of the painting). :)

So maybe since you are such a slow painter the last 1/32 will crack!...L

Leopoldo1
09-19-2002, 10:55 PM
Originally posted by scottb
Is he using a strong siccative in his medium, such as cobalt or japan drier? Alkyds?

scottb, tradional varnish dries very quickly, no need for driers!..L

Leopoldo1
09-19-2002, 11:05 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Linoxyn
I have to say that oil paint is porous in a wet state and a dry state.

What!???????????


When varnish is put on a sound painting whether within a short or long period of drying the effect of where the resin goes is no different. So from the standpoint of solvency (natural resins and/or balsams), and how fat, and thick, and slow drying, and weak or strong the paint layers - if it's saying I'm not ready.... it's not.

So when is it ready? Sounds confusing to me.

I should know this for I am "linoxyn"

Maybe we should all use linoxyn varnish!......L

Leopoldo1
09-19-2002, 11:15 PM
Jeremiah,

I varnish soon after the painting is dry. Never had a problem with cracking, even with some paintings going on 15 years. Varnish if put down properly is thinned substantially, and dries equally with the cohesion of the painting. Ideally, if one had the right balance of oil or resins to the different pigments in one's painting, very little sunken areas would be visible and varnishing could be circumvented!......L

WFMartin
09-19-2002, 11:19 PM
I believe that most oil painters would agree that coating a "dry-to-the-touch" oil painting with a thin layer of RETOUCH VARNISH will do no harm, and will protect the painting from surface disturbances until the 6 months to a year is up.

Then, after the 6 months is up, you can apply your final picture varnish. A retouch varnish is just a full strength damar final picture varnish thinned about half and half with turpentine. This also adds a sheen, levels flat spots, and makes it perfectly suitable for framing, showing, and selling.

Nothing of mine has cracked yet. However, be careful to keep the coating of retouch varnish super thin. No thick, heavy coating. Brush it out very thinly.

Bill

Leopoldo1
09-19-2002, 11:30 PM
Bill,

Retouch vanish is nothing more the the name implies. Retouching, so one can continue forward!

This method is used to help the artist to visual see sunken areas after they have dried, so the artist can have a better perspective to continue on. Secondly, and probably most importantly, the added resin in the retouch varnish acts like an adhesive (glue) to bond the next layer of paint, aiding in bringing old and new pigment together. That pretty much describes it use...........L

scottb
09-19-2002, 11:33 PM
Originally posted by Leopoldo


scottb, tradional varnish dries very quickly, no need for driers!..L

I know that. :) I was referring to the time it takes for his paint to dry to the touch. Perhaps he is not waiting 6 months because he is really accelerating the drying process to begin with.

Cheers.
Scott

Leopoldo1
09-19-2002, 11:38 PM
scottb,

Sorry for the confusion, but I might add, adding accelators is a bad idea......L

Linoxyn
09-20-2002, 09:53 AM
Originally posted by Leopoldo
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Linoxyn
I have to say that oil paint is porous in a wet state and a dry state.

What!???????????

Yes, porous in the sense that solvents to some extent will penetrate. An example is the solvent water, which should not be applied to an oil painting it does enter the paint. Also when the conditions are not right between a lower layer and an applied layer oil can penetrate causing sinking in. Oil paint as we all know should be a balanced mix of pigment and oil - with the right properties this mix will attempt to stay a mix and not separate or loose the oil to the lower layer or have the oil move to the top. Extremes of sinking in or too fat a layer sitting atop or within an oil painting will offer the greatest concern when varnishing, whether fully dry or only dry to the touch.

Adding thickened oils, alkyds, egg, RSG, gums, resins, balsams, driers, or thinners will complicate the painting process. If the artist has an understanding of what these materials do they can better understand all the stages within the painting including the final picture varnish.

When varnish is put on a sound painting whether within a short or long period of drying the effect of where the resin goes is no different. So from the standpoint of solvency (natural resins and/or balsams), and how fat, and thick, and slow drying, and weak or strong the paint layers - if it's saying I'm not ready.... it's not.

So when is it ready? Sounds confusing to me.

Leopoldo, sorry for the confusion. I tried to write this post as short as possible - describing all the variances in an oil painting would require a novel :) I believe greatly in doing my own tests along with following the craft in past methods that are considered truly sound. I do understand the paint I use from how fast each colour dries to what kind of layer each pigment produces. Whether it's fat or lean, strong... etc. I know how I've constructed my painting. There is no guessing when it comes to when I apply the final varnish.

I should know this for I am "linoxyn"

Maybe we should all use linoxyn varnish!......L [/B]

LOL, Leopoldo linoxyn is the dry state of linseed oil... it would not make much of anything least of all a varnish :D

Noble
09-20-2002, 11:48 AM
Originally posted by ArtistEnigma
As far as removing the varnish. The most common reason people remove varnish is to touch up the painting. Once I sign my name on a painting I consider it finished.

I don't know where you got that information. I think you might be talking about removing the varnish early?

You generally wouldn't have to re-varnish a painting unless it was bad varnish or there were debris on the surface of the painting when you varnished it that caused a separation from the oil and varnish. If the varnish has a chance to saturate the surface it's less likely to separate.


I must disagree about most of this, improperly applied varnish needs to be corrected that's obvious, but there are other reasons to re-varnish.

Varnish is *removeable* by design. Of course it adds a certain look and depth of color, which is also controllable (matte vs glossy etc), but the reason to remove properly applied varnish is because it yellows over time, and dirt and grime over the years collects on it as well. The dirt is removed *along* with the varnish revealing (hopefully, assuming it was carefully removed) a pristine oil surface that will accept a new fresh coat of varnish.

If you wait too long to remove varnish it will cross link with the paint and cause more difficulty (requiring stronger solvents) in getting "only" the varnish layer off. So proper husbandry would include periodic changes (around every 30 years from what I've been able to glean from various writings about significant cross linking times etc) to keep the underlying paint visible in all its glory and in tact. (I'm assuming a traditional natural resin varnish, if you use something synthetic the times and techniques may be different)

Of course most people don't revarnish that often and the difference is probably negligable. Conservators have quite sophisticated methods for cleaning paintings without too much mechanical action and that's a whole 'nother ball game anyway...

Linda Ciallelo
09-20-2002, 12:10 PM
I have been experimenting with different methods of producing a painting. Listening to everyones advice and trying things out. I really love using unrefined walnut oil(Loriva walnut oil) with a little siccative de courtrai in it. The problem with that, as I understand it, is that you should always include a little resin(varnish) in with the oil for archival purposes. The system that I am using presently includes a charcoal drawing on the canvas that is fixed, with fixative ,and then sprayed with retouch varnish. If I continue to include an occasional layer of retouch varnish, it seems that I would have improved the archivalness(?) of my system, since I would have layers of oil and then varnish and then oil, etc. etc. All of them probably added when the first was dry to the touch, but still wet enough to adhere. After the painting has dried for 6 mos. I could put my last layer of varnish on , so that future generations could remove it if they wanted to.
This seems like a good way to add resin to my oil medium.
what do you think?

Linoxyn
09-20-2002, 03:40 PM
Linda, your method sounds fine as long as you are practicing them in a sound way, your description is fair, but it is very general too. I don't mean that you should have to go into great detail on your exact method with proportions and ingredients.

The addition of a little resin to some artists and conservators would be fine and to others would be objectional - debatable. It's still best to apply a final picture varnish. Better yet is to make sure you label clearly the back of your work, list what you have incorporated into it and the type of varnish you use.

Linda Ciallelo
09-20-2002, 07:18 PM
Thank you Linoxyn. After I figure out what I am doing, I'll write it on the back.:)
I wonder if anyone could tell me how long it is supposed to take for a thin layer of retouch varnish to dry? I used the pre-val sprayer this morning to apply a coat of half turpentine, half damar varnish. It's still wet. This is applied to a dry lead primed canvas that had a thin layer of paint applied months ago. It has been 9 hours. Maybe a little siccative de courtrai added to the retouch varnish formula would be a good thing. I have no patience.

Linoxyn
09-20-2002, 08:32 PM
Linda, 9 hours is far too long if you are waiting for the retouch to be dry to the touch. What pound cut is your damar solution? It's good to test your own dilution limit based on the paint layer you produce, you may find a thinner or thicker cut works best for you. A retouch layer does not always have to cover the whole surface, just the sunk in areas you plan to work on. Use a fine watercolour flat brush (14 or 16) and apply it as thin as possible - if it does not saturate enough apply another very thin layer. The shine from the retouch should not last more than a day or two. Drying can be tricky based on what the makeup of the layers below it - some layers love to hold onto the solvent, if you've used a natural resin then you may be re softening it. Overpainting too early on such a condition may prevent normal drying time of that colour to take place. Adding a siccative to a varnish is not a good idea, these driers act on the oil not the varnish - you may think you are getting the results you want, a fast drying retouch, but it is playing with danger depending again on how you structure your painting.

You mentioned you use walnut oil. It would be easier on you, less solvent to play with, if you just gave a very, very thin layer of this oil on an area you intend to work on, wipe off all excess.

WFMartin
09-20-2002, 10:26 PM
ArtistEnigma, I am often disappointed whenever someone such as yourself asks a legitimate question, and the answering of it becomes somewhat of a controversy between the artists answering it.

Let me preface my final post on this “varnish” thread by relating a story of my own experience. When I first began painting, over 15 years ago, a close friend, and well-known wildlife oil painter gave me my first suggestion regarding the use of a medium for painting in oil. He told me to mix one part stand oil with one part pretested odorless thinner, shake it up in a bottle, and use it to paint with.

I used this medium for a while. However, in my brush-washing can I sort of alternated between turpentine and odorless thinner indiscriminately, whatever was on sale. No big deal, because it makes very little difference what solvent is used to CLEAN a brush. Before long, I noticed that when I used turpentine for brush washing, the paint sediment on the screen and at the bottom of my can was rather homogenous and smooth as I cleaned out the can. However, I noticed when I cleaned the can after having used odorless thinner as a wash-up solvent, the paint sediment was rather grainy and had a curdled texture to it.

What went through my mind was as follows: If paint curdles at the bottom of the cleaning can when I use odorless thinner as a washing solvent, what must it be doing to the paint when used as an ingredient in a painting medium? Logic told me to quit using odorless thinner, and switch to turpentine as an ingredient in my painting medium. No one really suggested this change, and it was actually just my own observation which inspired me to switch, yes, even against the initial advice of a well-known, and highly successful master oil painter. I haven’t used odorless thinner as an ingredient in a medium since. However, I still use it for cleaning brushes, because it doesn’t smell.

I’m not sure to this day, whether my observation of this phenomenon was even legitimate, and many of you a probably getting a belly laugh from this. But, my point is that at some stage in your painting/varnishing/ medium-mixing/canvas preparation experience, you’ll just have to choose for yourself! And to make a good choice listen to as many facts and opinions as you can, PICK WHAT YOU THINK BEST, based upon whatever sounds the most logical to you.

Now, the logic behind my suggestion to you of applying a retouch varnish instead of waiting for 6 or more months, or not varnishing at all, was this: Retouch varnish is basically composed of the same ingredients as final picture varnish, but thinned with more turpentine. And, if many artists feel that it helps to apply it between layers of paint (which I do, also), it certainly is not a substance that is liable to harm a painting, no matter where it’s applied, either within it or upon it. My logic is, that even though it’s recommended use is that of a retouch varnish, being made of the same “stuff” as final picture varnish, it can legitimately be used as a TEMPORARY protection shortly after a painting is dry to the touch, with all the advantages of a final varnish (protection, even finish, ability to display it, etc.), and few, if any, disadvantages of not varnishing for 6 months (exposure to the elements, high and low spots, possible inability to display it, etc.), planning, of course, to eventually apply the final varnish after the 6 month period has elapsed. Or, as suggested by others, a third choice would be to apply a final varnish before the painting has dried for 6-12 months, and run the risk of its cracking. MY choice was the temporary-retouch-varnish-shortly-after-the-painting-is dry-to-the-touch scenario. Now, YOU have the opportunity to make YOUR choice.

As a last statement on this topic, just let me say, there surely are some superb artists on this forum. Listen to all of them AND their varying OPINIONS. Pick what you believe to be best, and USE IT.

Keep on paintin’!

Bill
:)

puzzlinon
09-21-2002, 01:51 AM
Bill, your experience has some simple chemistry behind it. Turpentine has twice the solvency of odorless mineral spirits (Twice as much oil or resin can dissolve in turp than in OMS.) So you do get clearer, less precipated solutions with it.

(Mind, there's also a downside... turpentine is both more volatile, and harder to tolerate, than OMS, and it's toxic even from skin contact. That slight headiness you get if you inhale a wiff? You also get it from having turpentine on your hands, even if you weren't breathing it. Always have a lot of ventilation, and don't stir your mediums with your fingers ;-)

Linoxyn
09-21-2002, 08:39 AM
[QUOTE] WFMartin wrote
As a last statement on this topic, just let me say, there surely are some superb artists on this forum. Listen to all of them AND their varying OPINIONS. Pick what you believe to be best, and USE IT. [QUOTE]

I agree it's great to listen to all advice and practical experiences given on this topic, though I would caution anyone to just pick one you believe to be the best. These are just words we write here, some can write better or more convincing than others so the best thing to do is put together all the info gathered and test. An artist does not have to have a degree in science or be a qualified lab technician to conduct a few tests. It's very simple to create multiple samples and vary what you're questioning.

Turpentine is an excellent all round solvent. Mineral spirits is an excellent alternative and should be used to thin mediums and/or oil paints that do not contain a natural resin or balsam. Mineral spirits does not have the solvency strength for resins and balsams. The gums and/or residues in turpentine are considered a contributer to linseed oil's yellowing and embrittlement - so why use it when you don't need to. Of course for the artist who may be sensitive to one or the other use the one that you can tolerate.

Linda Ciallelo
09-21-2002, 09:41 AM
Linoxyn, I sprayed my damar +turpentine mixture on the panel with Robs pre-val sprayer. The damar that I used didn't say, on the bottle, what cut it is. It just says that it is Winsor/Newton final picture varnish. I diluted it with an equal part of turpentine.
These are the reasons that I am using it:
1. I want it to isolate my charcoal drawing
2. I want to add some resin into my totally oil medium
3. I want to paint on a shiney surface, reducing the absorbency of the ground. I like the way the paint stands up when you do that. (like shellac)
I used fixative underneath the damar , to fix the charcoal. I don't think that's the problem, because I have used that before in pastel drawings, when I used damar on top, and had no problem.
I may have sprayed too much damar onto the panel, since I haven't used the pre-val sprayer before this.
It's still "sticky" this morning. It's been about 24 hours. I did it on two different panels. Both are the same.
Are you sure that siccative de courtrai would be a bad thing? Siccative de courtrai is just lead added to white spirits. It's not as powerful a siccative as cobalt drier.

Linoxyn
09-21-2002, 01:15 PM
Linda, when you isolate your drawing do you lightly dust it off? If so you can subject it to a bit of steam, or even your own breath (I wouldn't try this on a very large work). Or you can mist it down with OMS. Both will fix the shadow of your drawing well into your oil grounds. If you are fixing the dust of charcoal without dusting (not the best choice) I would continue to fix it, maybe just with a fine retouch. Using a fixative under the damar can cause problems, the structure of your support is most likely different than your paper. Spray fixatives can and do have stronger and different solvents than you would normally use in the studio, if you choose to use them test to find out how long you have to wait before continuing with any new application. You may have to wait a week. You probably have sprayed too much damar and at too thick of a concentration, yet still when I finish a work and apply a final varnish I can touch the surface within 10 to 15 minutes (that's with either my damar varnish (pure dammar and turpentine) or the GamVar). If you feel you need to add a varnish to your oil medium do it in your medium not as a separate layer. Keep in mind when an artist uses a retouch varnish they use it as little as possible, quantity or times they use it. It sounds more to me that you would rather have an isolating varnish to get the non absorbent effect you want. There are many choices for this though the alkyds are maybe the best bet since they dry fast, seal well, and yellow only the slightest. Or you could use a more enamel like medium in a very lean oil paint (grind your own or leach a good amount out). Or you can start out with a very non absorbent support, this will produce the least sinking in and paint layers will stand up nice. Hope I haven't made things sound more complicated :)

WFMartin
09-22-2002, 12:24 PM
[/B]
I agree it's great to listen to all advice and practical experiences given on this topic, though I would caution anyone to just pick one you believe to be the best. These are just words we write here, some can write better or more convincing than others so the best thing to do is put together all the info gathered and test. [/B]

Linoxyn, Yes, testing surely is the best. I firmly agree with you. Your point is well taken.

Bill:)

Linda Ciallelo
09-24-2002, 10:52 PM
Thanks Linoxyn, I'm having good results now. I was just spraying it too heavily. My drawing is not dusty because it only includes a rough outline of the composition. It's just for placement and proportions. It also helps to lay the panel flat when spraying and allow the mist to fall on it gently. Then if I get too much spray, the charcoal won't melt.
The damar + turps makes a nice surface to paint on, and keeps tha charcoal from mixing with the paint.. Rob said that we should add some resin to our oil, so it will make it more stable. Even if we use the paint straight from the tube, it contains no resin, just oil and pigment. I have become very attached to the Loriva walnut oil . I have tried many other mediums but they all seem sticky in comparison to just the oil. I am adding a little siccative de courtrai to the unrefined walnut oil so that it will dry more quickly. (a couple of days.) I also like the way the damar keeps the underpainting from mixing with the top layers. You can scrub and not worry about disturbing your original paint. I guess that's what an isolating varnish is supposed to do.
I am now wondering what else I can use besides charcoal to do the underdrawing. I'm thinking that red might be a good choice, since the lines on the edges show through sometimes. I will experiment with some different pastels. The pastel pencils are really a little too hard for the job.
Thanks for your help.

Noble
09-25-2002, 12:58 AM
Originally posted by Linda Ciallelo
I am now wondering what else I can use besides charcoal to do the underdrawing. I'm thinking that red might be a good choice, since the lines on the edges show through sometimes. I will experiment with some different pastels. The pastel pencils are really a little too hard for the job.
Thanks for your help.
I just use thin paint. Starting with lighter tones and refining with increasing darks. One can draw with it as you would any drawing tool, you just use a brush. A wipe with a rag will "erase". One can work tonally or linearly... Using umbers lets colors dry fairly fast, but not as fast as charcoal however!

Linda Ciallelo
09-25-2002, 11:47 AM
Noble, I have done it that way also. About the only difference is that you don't have to set up your paint before hand, and like you say, it is dry immediately.
I am finding that I need a smaller stiffer brush for the fine lines in creases and for the face. I have just ordered some small bristle rounds and filberts from the Trekell brush site. It seems that those fine dark lines need to be put in first, in order to lay in the lighter folds around them. Or, I have thought of working on a tinted ground and doing the drawing in white, therefore leaving the dark ground showing in the creases. Actually, I have been pretty pleased with an earth red ground in that instance. There are so many possibilities. Eventually I will decide which one is best for me.
I have seen pictures of artists in the past that are doing their drawing in white chalk on an ochre ground. Yet another possibility.
At least I have the varnish thing solved.

Mario
09-26-2002, 06:09 PM
I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who has successfully used retouch varnish as soon as a painting has dried. I know that excellent artists here in Phila. use that method but I tried it once and it was a disaster.. I used a spray can that it came in and the paintings colors just fell apart or got a coating of bloom or white.
I paint in a way that I do get sunken areas and would love to get a smooth even rich surface. I want to be able to treat the surface as soon as possible...so, would anyone care to tell me exactly how they do it? Many thanks...:angel:

Linda Ciallelo
09-26-2002, 06:46 PM
Mario, have you tried laying the painting flat and allowing the mist to fall gently on your painting? Then don't move it for awhile. You kind of spray it "over" the painting instead of "at" the painting.

Linoxyn
09-26-2002, 10:14 PM
Mario, there are more than one strength or a one use 'retouch' varnish. (I'm only refering to a damar based varnish). When a painting is developed the artist can employee a retouch varnish to bring up an area that has sunk in. The artist can also use this to fine tune a small paint-in retouch when matching a colour. This mixture is fairly thin in concentration and will only hold a shine for a few days. For an art show, if an artist wants their work to look even a retouch varnish is often used, this too will often be thin in concentration but most likely not as thin as described above. This varnish will keep it's shine longer but will in short time need to be given a proper final coat. A true final picture varnish will be much more concentrated and will give a rich saturated coating that will last for at least 30 years before it would need a cleaning and re-varnish.

Buying a varnish in a can you will most likely find a retouch or a final varnish, nothing in between. In order to get the right concentration spray (or brush) varnish you need you will have to thin a bottle of painting varnish or make your own from scratch. Or as many artists risk - applying a very wet coat of a spray retouch. <-- maybe this shouldn't be suggested?

Spraying is the safest if you are concerned about 'melting' the surface. Use just turpentine as your solvent (many of those can sprays have stronger solvents added) and follow Linda's advice about laying the painting down flat. You can buy aerosol pumps to spray your own mix.

Please test everything out before you subject this to a finished work. Hope all I wrote above makes sense.

Best of luck,