View Full Version : Other Perspectives or Diverse Viewpoints in Relation to Varnishes and Varnishing?

04-18-2010, 01:47 PM
Another way of looking at how paintings get dirty comes from looking at windows. Windows get surprisingly dirty, even in a clean environment. And it does not take years and years for this to happen. They are not so different from paintings — they are smooth, vertical surfaces, and they are often at similar heights from the floor (similar to paintings). Yet they not only get dusty; they get more than that, and need to be cleaned vigorously once in a while. You can't just dust them off. And they look distinctly cleaner after a thorough washing.

So acrylic paintings will be accumulating similar types and levels of micro-debris. If anything, they will often be accumulating more, because their surfaces are often not as smooth as glass.

This is still somewhat mysterious, though. Even though the window example highlights the fact that this sort of accumulation of micro-debris is happening, and puts it in another perspective, it doesn't really make it clear why it is happening, or where it is all coming from.

Where does it all come from?

It isn't just dust. Some of it adheres fairly strongly (as anyone who has cleaned some windows has noticed). What is all this stuff? Why is some of it so sticky and hard to remove?

Any other examples or perspectives or experiences or takes on varnishes, varnishing, not varnishing, etc.?, and what and how much, if any, is worthwhile, and when?

There are different views here, including some divergent ones, and new perspectives can arise from the mix.

So please feel free to post any views on the subject, whatever they are.

04-19-2010, 08:37 AM
I wasnt varnishing for some time. Was always nervous it would change the the painting for some reason and also make it look too shiny.I never liked the look of shiny paintings.When I saw them from the side I could not see the painting only the shine.

I have recently started to varnish my paintings as they were becoming scratched etc and I would have to touch them up especially transporting them to shows. Using the matt finish varnish isnt too bad. They have a bit of a sheen to them but it is better than having them marked up.On a couple of paintings it actually seemed to bring out the painting more.

I also agree with what you say about the dirt and grime adhering to them like on a window. I had not thought of it like that before. Good point. With being varnished at least they can be wiped down.

Thanks this is an interesting topic:wave: