Varnishing

Hello everybody, I hope you had a great weekend. It’s been unusually snowy in my neck of the woods, so I stayed in mostly. I decided it was time to do some varnishing of my previous paintings.

I’m sure there are varying opinions when it comes to vanishing paintings. Some say that you don’t need to and some swear by it. In my work, I noticed some paintings need it more than others. But, I am all for maximum protection when it comes to paintings and any other works of art. In addition to the protection that varnish provides, is its ability to re-saturate the colours, even out the painting and provide a way remove it for cleaning in the future. The varnish is removable with odorless mineral spirits.

I have varnished acrylic works before but never oils. So I was apprehensive when it came to varnishing oils, just because my lack of experience. After much research online, I decided to try it out. Traditional oil varnishes, (usually Damar) should be put on after the painting has been oxidizing of 6-12 months or more. So we are lucky that we have picture varnishes such as Gamblin’s Gamvar that you can varnish after the painting is touch dry. I decided to wait over a month anyway to make sure.

Below is one of my paintings before and after the varnish. On the left, you can clearly see the difference after the painting has “dried” some parts have sunken in and uneven levels of haze and gloss. On the right, after the painting has been varnished, the colours are resaturated, painting is more uniform and overall clarity is restored.
IMG_4595I used the gloss version of the varnish but there are different finishes as matte and satin as well. The varnish is touch dry in a couple of hours but totally tack-free in 24 hours. I think the trick is to get it on as thinly as possible. After doing a few, I think I’m getting the hang of it.  The worst thing about the whole procedure is avoiding dust and loose brush hairs.

I hope this has been informative to those who are interested.

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by,

Jeannette

 

 

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Cold wax painting: my first!

Hello dear readers, I’m excited to share something new I’ve finished working on. Below is my first cold wax painting titled, ‘Massimo, You Are the Music in My Heart’. This piece is dedicated to my son who is a violinist.

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I’ve always admired the look of a cold wax painting for years but did not know how it was produced and with what medium. By chance and research, I stumbled upon it through working with hot wax (encaustic).

Cold wax is a paste-consistency medium made with filtered beeswax and odorless mineral spirits. There are a couple of variations in formulas on the market today, mainly by Gamblin and Dorlands. I work with Gamblin because the formula has less additives.

Cold wax paintings are generally made with cold wax medium, oil paint and/or pigment. There are other additives for the cold wax medium but it’s up to the artist to choose. Some artists choose to add marble dust, charcoal and dry pigment. The dry additives can be mixed in with cold wax and will help it dry quicker as well as add colour and texture. Oil paint added into the medium will dry a little slower. In either case, cold wax dries faster than traditional oil paint alone.

A few of the application methods of the cold wax are by squeegee, palette knife, plastic card or a brayer. The great qualities of this painting medium are: layers dry fairly quickly, surfaces can be engraved and scraped, light collage elements can be added, oil sticks can be used in conjunction, minimal odor, no heat required, natural finish is matte but can be polished to a soft sheen and most of all, it has a lovely texture to work with.

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Above is a detail of my piece that shows the inscribed lines and faux-gold leaf incorporated into the paint layers. You can also see the textural elements and the sheen of the polished surface as well.

In the picture below, shows how the cradled panel was finished. I chose to use clear acrylic varnish to seal the edges and let the wood grain how though. I think the natural wood goes well with the early colours of the piece.

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