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Old 04-26-2019, 08:08 PM
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laika laika is offline
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Question Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

Didn't want to hijack the other varnish thread, but this "Natural Glass" stuff sounds interesting. From the Spectrafix Degas Spray Fixative maker. The fixative is made with casein, as is the new product, apparently. Has anyone tried Natural Glass?

I use their concentrate with 100 proof vodka as a fixative in my sketchbook and have experimented with using that mix with pan "opaque watercolors" with idea that it might amount to a sort of casein paint, but I have no casein paint to compare it with Just don't spray the fix overhead - the casein content will surely glue up your eyelashes as it floats back down
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Last edited by laika : 04-26-2019 at 08:11 PM. Reason: wrong icon
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:20 AM
Artist_by_Accident Artist_by_Accident is offline
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

This is exciting to me. I've used SpectraFix for pastels & it's a favorite. However, I gave up pastels after years of experimenting to find a way to seal them so they didn't need framing under glass.

Are you saying you've tried this new varnish? Or just the fixative?

The fixative doesn't really help gouache or watercolor react like casein but does help it become less prone to being disturbed by moisture. No quite like casein but less watercolor-like. Of course, since casein needs to cure for several weeks, it may eventually be more casein-like.

Can't wait to try the new Natural Glass varnish. Wish there was more information on it such as how to apply, how much to use, etc. Will keep searching and in the meantime, let us know if (& how) you use it!
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:55 AM
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artist_by_Accident
This is exciting to me. I've used SpectraFix for pastels & it's a favorite. However, I gave up pastels after years of experimenting to find a way to seal them so they didn't need framing under glass.

Are you saying you've tried this new varnish? Or just the fixative?

The fixative doesn't really help gouache or watercolor react like casein but does help it become less prone to being disturbed by moisture. No quite like casein but less watercolor-like. Of course, since casein needs to cure for several weeks, it may eventually be more casein-like.

Can't wait to try the new Natural Glass varnish. Wish there was more information on it such as how to apply, how much to use, etc. Will keep searching and in the meantime, let us know if (& how) you use it!

I looked at the website and it says that it is a Varnish/Medium. No hints about how to use. If you decide to experiment, please share. Gary
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:40 PM
Artist_by_Accident Artist_by_Accident is offline
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

Gary, I did as you did and looked at the website for instructions/details and when I couldn't find any, I emailed the company/Della.

I was all set to jump in with both feet but decided to wait for a response. Of course I'll share if and when one comes.

I have the utmost respect for SpectraFix as a pastel fixative & feel sure that the new varnish/medium will be every bit as good. I know Della Heywood has been working for several years to find a sealer/varnish for pastel and I imagine she's succeeded both for pastel and the other media it can be used for.
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Old 05-07-2019, 06:23 PM
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

AbA, no, I haven't tried the new varnish yet. I use the Spectrafix fixative from concentrate, mostly for fixing drawings in my sketchbook. I love that it's non-toxic, and it works for my purposes. As far as I know, the concentrate is just casein, which I mix in equal parts with water and ethanol (that's where the little 50ml bottle of 100 proof vodka comes in).

Della has been really good about answering my idiotic questions in the past, so you'll probably hear from her pretty soon.
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:42 AM
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

I've just received a response from Della and I've copied it below:

Thanks for your interest in Natural Glass! It is very similar to acrylic in that it is applied with a brush and does have semi gloss surface. However, it could be diluted and sprayed with a sprayer too. It does change the look of the Pastel so it is no longer softly powdery and matte. But unlike acrylic it can be softened and lifted with a wet brush and you can continue to build layers.

Have you tried Spectrafix Degas Fixative? It also renders the Pastel immovable and dries to a very tough matte finish, and changes the look of the Pastel very little. You would not need to frame with glass if you applied two or three coats. Best practice is to spray as you go, and not just at the end, so all the layers are firmly glued to the paper or substrate, and you are not spraying merely a crust of fixative. This will create a very tough work of art which can be varnished or sprayed with Natural Glass later if you should so desire.

Let me know if you have more questions

Della


Not sure if the information helps with turning watercolor into casein but I'm sure it would make a great varnish for both watercolor and gouache.
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Old 05-09-2019, 10:21 AM
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

"Not sure if the information helps with turning watercolor into casein but I'm sure it would make a great varnish for both watercolor and gouache."

I would still wonder if it would darken the gouache. Plus why would this wet varnish not reactivate gouache or watercolor and smear it? Maybe I will try it later. Gary
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:20 AM
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trikist
I would still wonder if it would darken the gouache. Plus why would this wet varnish not reactivate gouache or watercolor and smear it? Maybe I will try it later. Gary

Gary, if I'm not mistaken, your gouache or watercolor would be sprayed with fixative first, then the varnish could be gently applied with a soft brush. Or, she seems to say in that reply to AbA that the varnish could be diluted and sprayed.

Let me emphasize that I haven't tried the varnish yet, so the above should not be mistaken for experience with the product. I'm itching to try it, but I will experiment on something unimportant when I do. Of course, everything I've ever attempted in the pursuit of art falls under the heading of "unimportant," but that's not germane to the conversation...
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:02 PM
Artist_by_Accident Artist_by_Accident is offline
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trikist
"Not sure if the information helps with turning watercolor into casein but I'm sure it would make a great varnish for both watercolor and gouache."

I would still wonder if it would darken the gouache. Plus why would this wet varnish not reactivate gouache or watercolor and smear it? Maybe I will try it later. Gary

Gary, I'm with Lamar and would definitely spray thin layers on gouache or watercolor. I've used Spectrafix Degas Fixative with pastel and it's the only one I've tried (& there were many tried!) that didn't change pastel in any way. It's a great product and I imagine the Varnish is also.

However, I surmise that the Spectrafix Glass Varnish will leave a varnished watercolor or gouache with the look of a casein painting as Della says it has a softly gloss finish.

Oh, she sent me another email saying that they sold the Flairosol sprayer which creates a very fine mist and I'm sure that would work great for spraying the varnish. You can also get the sprayer from Amazon but it costs more there. Don't know if Spectrafix charges shipping - if so, that might make the cost equal if you have an Amazon Prime account.

AbA
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:21 PM
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

I recently started back in gouache. I made a bad painting that I did not show here. I am using it as a guinea pig. I sprayed it with Spectra Degas Fix for this thread. The painting is actually watercolors plus white gouache on Strathmore Toned Mixed Media paper. The fixative pockmarked the painting. The Spectra Varnish may resolve that issue. Just a heads up. Gary

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Old 05-09-2019, 07:54 PM
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

Gary, Della touches on spattering when using Spectrafix on the website. She recommends another layer and also using the Flairosol sprayer so you get a finer spray.
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:42 PM
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Re: Spectrafix Natural Glass Bio-polymer (casein) Varnish

Thanks for the feedback. I did use 2 layers but not a fine mist sprayer. The varnish might resolve the problem in any case by filling in the tiny pit holes. Gary
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