View Full Version : What is good for finishing or varnishing 30"x40" paintings?

11-15-2010, 05:19 PM
Hi guys. Here's another question about finishing or varnishing paintings. 2 hours ago, I tried with Krylon Matte finish spray can on my painting. It wasn't successful. I spayed twice in between 2 minutes as direction but it left white powdery surface. I exactly followed the direction, so I don't know what I did wrong. One thing I noticed maybe the painting is too big for finishing with this medium. Because when I sprayed on the small painting, it was okay. There's no any problem at all. Could someone help me to figure out this situation? Thanks in advance.

11-15-2010, 06:35 PM
For stuff this size; I either don't varnish at all but consolidate the surface using W&N Matt or Gloss Medium or a mix of the two.

Or I use W&N Acrylic Gloss or Matt varnish... or more usually a mix to get the sheen I want.

I've never been sucessfull with the sprays so I use a 2" varnishing brush.

11-15-2010, 07:01 PM
It sounds as though the spray is drying before it hits the surface, just a thought.

Krylon may not be the best choice if archival qualities are important.

Check out either the Golden or Liquitex sites for technical instructions on finishing a painting.

I use a Preval sprayer to finish some larger works and have done 48X48" works with no issues. It can be done, it is just a matter of finding and learning how to use the appropriate products.

11-15-2010, 08:55 PM

This is my first post on WetCanvas; however, this is one question I can help with.

First I use a couple of isolation coats over my 48" x 36", or larger, paintings using a water diluted gloss polymer medium. I happen to use "Golden" but "Liquitex" or "Stevenson's" are equally good. After that is dry, usually overnight, I then apply two coats of Satin "Golden" polymer varnish (making sure the first coat is really dry prior applying the second) that has the UVLS goodies in it. I dilute that with water too. This may be redundant, but make sure you have good ventilation with fresh air as the varnish has quite a bit of ammonia in it.

Why an isolation coat prior to varnish?, you ask. Well, some day your paintings may be worth a small fortune and may have to be restored. The isolation coat(s) will enable the restorer to safely remove the varnish without damaging the painting.

I hope that helps.

11-16-2010, 02:58 AM
E.J., the brush-on solvent varnishes are the ideal solution for acrylic paintings, and they are now offered by nearly all the companies making acrylics. These offer a number of advantages during application and in the long term.

Spirit-borne varnishes can be used with or without an isolation coat, which is recommended by some makers but not essential.

There are lots of prior threads on varnishing if you want to read up more hints and tips.

It sounds as though the spray is drying before it hits the surface, just a thought.
Yep, that's the most likely candidate, presuming the can was shaken properly.


11-16-2010, 10:05 AM
Thanks a lot for all the advice and I'm sorry I need to ask some more questions.

Would it be okay if I varnish twice at different times using both brush-on and spray?

My plan was,
Step one, give first coat on acrylic painting surface
Step two, outline with black ink and finish painting
Step three, give second coat and finalize the painting

The reason why I'm trying to give a coat before outlining with black ink is simply tying to reduce the time. I make a lot of mistakes during outlining, so I waste a lot of times fixing them.

The reason for step three is whether the black inks are waterproof or not, somehow it doesn't proof enough. It gets smudged when I try to wipe the dust off with wet clothe. Therefore in step three I need definitely use a spray to varnish.

Another thing is I prefer to use Matte just because I prefer non glossy surface. Would it make the painting dull if I use matte finish twice?

Can I give first coat on the acrylic painting surface with Matte Gel Medium(that's what it says on the bottle. It's generic product from the art supply store with their name on it)?

I'm so sorry for many questions. Thanks. Waiting for your advice.

11-16-2010, 10:43 AM
No need to be sorry about asking follow-on questions :thumbsup:

Would it be okay if I varnish twice at different times using both brush-on and spray?
Yes, that would routinely be done by anyone using an isolation coat (generally applied by brush) who then uses a final varnish in a spraycan.

Regarding the problems with the ink rubbing off, I would advise trying to do the same thing with acrylic paint if at all possible (a fluid acrylic might be your best bet here). If you were using actual varnish - removable - for both the first and second layer in terms of the structure of a painting it's not a good idea to put things between layers of varnish, although paint or ink could work fine between layers of acrylic medium since the medium becomes a permanent part of the work.

Another thing is I prefer to use Matte just because I prefer non glossy surface. Would it make the painting dull if I use matte finish twice?
It can, yes. But a lot depends on which varnish it is, how it's applied and how thick the coats are. Sometimes you can apply a matt finish over a matt surface and it'll look fine but there is a risk of creating a sort of frosted or whitish effect with multiple coats of any matt medium or varnish.


11-17-2010, 01:01 AM
Thank you so much Einion for your answers. Here's my last question (I hope). I went to an art supply store today and was trying to buy those varnish mediums especially Golden. I explained my situation about double coats to a store clerk and she said, then Matte wouldn't be good for me. She also said it could leave milky or translucent surface on dark colors. She recommended me to have gloss or satin for dark colors. Since my painting has a big black background color, I changed my mind to go for satin but I wasn't sure which way is the best way to have transparent surface, so I decided to ask one more question before I buy it.
So, I was thinking 3 options.

Satin brush on + satin spray
Gloss brush on + satin spray
Gloss brush on + Matte spray (I think I'll pass on dark color paintings)

Which combination is better? And any specific recommendation? Thanks in advance.

Can I varnish with Matte Gel Medium?