Re: Trouble applying varnish to finished piece
Sounds as though you may have thinned the paint to the point that the adhesion failed. When the brush or sponge was applied there was not enough adhesion to keep the pigment in place.
My suggestion would be to spray with several layers of thinned gloss medium (maybe up to six or more layers allowing each to dry before spraying the next). Then you may want to either spray or brush your varnish layer.
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