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Old 04-06-2012, 05:19 PM
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LinzCarpArt LinzCarpArt is offline
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Eeeeek!! Varnish Question for commissioned painting!

I hope this is the right forum to post this question here, everyone has been so helpful in the past so hoping I can get some suggestions. So here is my situation. I was commissioned to do a acrylic painting and finished it a few days ago. I sat down last night to put on the first coat of Liquitex varnish, I mix 1/2 matte and 1/2 gloss because I like the result I have received doing this on other paintings. Well things did not start off well from the beginning and I ended up stopping less than half way through because I was getting major brush streaks. After a while when the varnish looked dried I was trying to point out a bad spot to my boyfriend and my finger poked the painting (this was not my intention but I got overzealous) and it was still wet so I have a small poke spot in the center of my painting It does not look horrible but I cannot justify selling this painting with such a flaw. My question is, how can I fix this?? I am so stressed out because this is my first really big commission that is priced at $350.00. I have attached a photo of the painting (it does not show the spot as it was taken before the varnish) the spot is in the center of the large green bubble behind the yellow and purple bubbles. The varnish stops half way down this bubble so I don't know if I could just paint over the center of the bubble to even it out and then put a couple more coats of varnish on to even everything out.

Any ideas would help!!!!

Last edited by LinzCarpArt : 04-06-2012 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:12 PM
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idylbrush idylbrush is offline
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Re: Eeeeek!! Varnish Question for commissioned painting!

You did not mention an isolation coat. You might consider that in the future. Are you using a removable varnish, if not, you may not be able to go back and repair the damage but instead may lay down more varnish. It might work.

I spray varnish. I rarely if ever brush varnish. I spray a mixture of distilled water and gloss medium, three layers, allow to dry and then spray three layers of removable varnish. Don't have spray equipment, use a Preval sprayer available at Home Depot. It is a refillable sprayer with changeable gas cartridges.

If you want to brush on the varnish, consider adding a bit of water to thin the mixture a bit. Should allow the varnish to settle and smooth out a bit. If you are ambitious go to the Golden Paints website and read their articles on varnishing. Very informative.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:21 AM
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Re: Eeeeek!! Varnish Question for commissioned painting!

I always brush varnish and do two layers. Depending on the depth of the bubble a second coat of varnish might sort it out. So now that it's dry varnish just the other half, to try and get one somewhat consistent layer. Then do a final varnish layer over the whole thing. If you're using a polymer based varnish (rather than a mineral-spirits based one like MSA) then I've found the trick to no brush strokes is a very thin layer of varnish (and repeat). It took me a while to figure it out! But the polymer varnish doesn't settle as well as the MSA. Lastly, are you using a varnish brush? Rather than a regular paintbrush? Varnish brushes have special bristle tips that help smooth out the strokes (they're frayed, essentially).

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Old 04-07-2012, 09:38 AM
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Re: Eeeeek!! Varnish Question for commissioned painting!


I've never varnished an acrylic because I've only painted one and it was more like and experience, so I don't know how long should one wait before applying a varnish. Are you using Liquitex's Soluvar ?
However it seems that you didn't wait long enough; long enough means to wait enough time to be able to remove the varnish without damaging the paint (6 to 12 months for oils).

As for noticeable brushmarks - noticeable because there will always be brushmarks - maybe you should use another kind of brush?
I use a wide and thin brush with light hair (it's made in Germany and it's says "reine borsten" in its ferrule). It's a non expensive brush that has revealed itself quite good and durable.

When I apply the varnish, I dip the brush and apply it in one way, then I dip again and apply in the other way (not on the same area, buit going down).
The canvas is laid down and light must be good so that I don't miss a spot.
Eventually I may pass the brush without any varnish at the end, but this may bring up brushmarks.

When a painting is dry as it should and things go bad with varnishing, the solution is to remove the varnish using either turps or mineral spirits (follow label instructions). I don't know if you can do this with yours though.


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