A. Damar varnish, made from the resin of coniferous Asian trees, is applied to oil paintings to protect them from dust and other airborne contaminants. Another alternative is Gamvar gloss varnish by Gamblin. There are different types of varnishes, varnish being a generic term for a clear  finish. A painting applied thinly with mostly earth tones such as burnt umber, a fast dryer, could be ready for varnish within 1 week. The ideal coat of varnish should be as thin as possible to do the job. The way I see it, retouch varnish isn't necessary for this purpose. See how I varnish one of my oil paintings in the video below: Thinking about selling your oil paintings? By gently dabbing the surface of your painting with a tack cloth, you will eliminate all dust. These modern synthetic UV stabilized varnishes are the best option available for oil paintings. After all the hard work and time that you’ve spent completing your oil painting, you’ll want to make sure that it’s protected. This is particularly annoying with darker colors, where their matte appearance makes them seem lighter and creates the problem of matching a color with fresh, glossier paint much more difficult (Image 1). Adding the right varnish, in the right way, is a sound investment to ensure your finished oil or acrylic painting stays looking its best. It really depends on the pigments and mediums you used and how thickly you paint. Finally, after selecting your varnish type, purchasing a quality brush, finding an ideal location, and prepping your painting, its time to varnish! Whether you “oil … Remove any specks you see. More importantly the spot you choose should have perfectly still air. The majority of it is a solvent with just a very small amount of resin . My biggest problem seems to be that nothing is drying fast enough. Manufactures such as Gamblin and Winsor and Newton offer acrylic resin or polymer varnishes that are crystal clear and can be removed entirely by using OMS. Once you perfected the area, move to the next section and periodically unify them by tipping. Your varnish problem is complicated and contains risk factors. i.e. Prepping the painting is the crucial step for an attractive clear finish. If I'm going to be using  this older type of varnish, I want it look good for as long as possible. Its a nice balance of soft and resilient. The second reason for varnish is protection. If the paint re-wets from the dew, it can ruin a perfectly good paint job. For most oil, acrylic and alkyd paintings on canvas, panel or board, it is not necessary to frame under glass. Retouching Varnish also solves the issue of dull, sunken passages. A professional should have the skill and knowledge to successfully remove this natural resin from the painted surface. This happens because one of the essential resins used in the varnish is lipophilic, or “oil loving”, which causes the varnish to quickly soften, become tacky, and eventually dissolve altogether when in contact with any of the oils used in the various paints and mediums. There has always been and always will be the question, how long should I wait to varnish a completed painted? There is no harm in waiting that long, but usually a painting can be varnished much sooner. This is how a finish on guitar differs. All three of these rules make a huge difference to the longevity of your oil paintings. If you’ve followed all the rules of oil painting: Fat over lean. 1 The Spinney As early as 1768, William Donaldson wrote about this medium inThe Life and Adventures of Sir Bartholomew Sapskull: 'The magilp was a nostrum known only to the ancients; but our modern artists..have labour'd..to find out this valuable mystery, and as they say with so… A suitable varnish remains soluble in turpentine or denatured alcohol forever and can therefore be removed at any point in time. You are ready to varnish when the oil painting film has oxidized completely through, firm to the touch, and cannot be reconstituted or removed by OMS or turpentine. When I first started painting on smooth flat panels, I figured I would be able to varnish the painting to a mirror finish like one would find on a fine musical instrument. If you must paint during the off season, a good rule of thumb to follow is to apply paint with an airless sprayer between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm. Paint has a habit of ending up in places we never intended. It’s also advisable to find a varnish that is flexible, otherwise it could crack over time and damage the surface of the oil painting. This does all the heavy lifting for you. In truth, even a painting on a smooth panel has all kinds of small little bumps, minute brush strokes, and of course dust. If varnish removability is important to you and you do get pigment lift, then you should consider not varnishing the painting at all. Thus, you have a recipe for a painfully slow drying paint. Most varnishes are compatible with oil finishes and will give the wood a hard, protective coating. Once you leave an area, avoid going back to it. This type of varnish is breathable, so it allows the painting to continue drying. Some people recommend waiting for between 6-12 months before varnishing an oil painting but the time it takes to dry is dependent upon a number of factors: I typically wait a week before I apply gloss varnish. But if a softer feel is required, brushes made of ox or red sable can be used. Before even opening the can, make sure your work zone is protected. We'll give you some ways to make it safer, but keep in mind that breathing in paint fumes is never without risk. Then to make matters worse, it is usually bound in slow drying, weak film forming safflower oil for its non-yellowing properties. If you are unsure, check the temperature and humidity with a thermometer. Remember to do the sides too. Painting on Canvas : How to Clean Varnish From Canvas Paintings ... 1932 OIL PAINTING HEIRLOOM - REMOVAL OF LINSEED OIL AND AGED VARNISH ... How to remove surface dirt and varnish from an oil painting. This means when you are using the brush, you will not need to constantly dip it in the varnish. Oil finishes give a soft, natural look to wood but can attract dirt and grease, which can impede a varnish's ability to adhere well. This is a result of about 90% of the solvent evaporating; at this time it may still be tacky. When a flatter matte is desired, wax is added to reduce the sheen. Then use the method of tipping; hold the brush at a low angle and make long straight passes the length of the painting. You can purchase the same varnish that I use here. Artist will use it as an alternative to "oiling out", or as a quick temporary varnish before a show. The rule of thumb is that if you are painting with an oil-based paint, the ambient temperature should be above 45°F for at least 48 hours. In the mean time continue check for dust or hairs and pick them out if you can. In my frustration with the beading varnishes I desperately wanted to used,  I gave up and went back to damar. Cleaning the varnish brush keeps it working like new. This sort of nit-picky detail, but this is why the first coat of varnish always feels better to apply than subsequent layers. The most common hair for varnishing is bristle or hog hair. A shiny finish on top of this makes all of these imperfections visable in a certain angle of light. Its not intended to be a final varnish for a painting. You can purchase tack clothes at your local hardware store for about $1. If you’ve completed an oil painting, you’ll notice that once completed and dry, the surface of the painting isn’t quite even. Then it was sanded perfectly level with a 1000 grit sand paper and buffed to a high luster using a buffing wheel and automotive compounds. It will take 15 - 30 minutes before you can come back to it and prop the painting vertical. Varnish comes into … However, its short comings are what lead to its replacement by damar. The tacky substance is most likely a resin material; don't worry, this won't harm you or your painting. (another recepie for that would be a process called Oiling-out, when you rub Condensed Oil into sunken paint till … Since your painting currently has a glossy surface, subsequent varnish applications may bead up like water on a newly waxed automobile. Waiting for oil paint to dry can be one of the pain points of painting. I made all of the experiments on older works from college. In fact, a glossy finish will make them more noticeable. And with a simple, step-by-step approach, you can learn everything from the fundamentals of oil painting right through to advanced techniques. Fill in the form below to speak directly with one of our helpful customer services team. Paintings then needed a barrier against the suttee, smoky air. things in the air from cooking, people smoking, dust etc. While it would be cool to give your oil painting a perfect mirror finish like this guitar, its not desirable. Use common sense and avoid varnishing in extreme conditions. 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