Monday, February 1, 2010

Varnishing?

Hi All,

Just curious to how you guys are varnishing(if at all) your work? Esp work on paper. I'm thinking about trying it for some of my upcoming work. Mostly, because I don't like having a panel of glass/plexi between the viewer and the work. The museum glass/plexi is amazing and also amazingly expensive. Presenting without a panel at all could be really nice. I've tried the high gloss varnish with my technique(acrylic on watercolor paper).

Pros- deeper , richer color, and of course the protection it offers.
Cons- it really made the texture of the cold press paper stand out as well. It also made brush strokes that weren't very noticeable previous become more apparent. That may not bother me so much now. We'll have to wait and see.

I'm currently working on hot press watercolor paper so I'm assuming it'll be a little different. Perhaps not as much of an issue concerning texture. Got some old illos and will be doing half satin finish other half matte. Just to compare. It's acrylic varnish and it's pretty watered down. So kinda like my work it will be applied in multiple thin washes. Hoping for a nice even application. One tip from Dan Dos Santos' dvd, a foam brush makes for a nice even applicator. I think it's the stiffness that makes it so good...anywaay:/

Any advice, tips, thoughts will be highly appreciated.

Thanks!

14 comments:

Paolo Rivera said...

I work in gouache and Acryla Gouache (a matte acrylic that's easy to scan), but don't varnish at all because I like the no-glare finish. I saw some of your work at a gallery in NYC and, if I recall correctly, at least one of the pieces had no glass on it; that's the way I prefer it, personally.

Great work, by the way.

Penumbra said...

I've seen your work in person and I wouldn't varnish at all. The rich matte finish of your technique is part of the experience. Varnishing will kill that aspect and reduce visability from diffrent angles(glare). My vote is with Paolo.

Madeline Carol Matz said...

I have done some mixed water media stuff on hot press bristol board mounted on hardboard. I have used the Golden acrylic varnishes for awhile but I did some testing and I found that Valspar matte clear varnish spray from the paint section of Lowes worked out nicely. If you saw the Sat. night event at IlluxCon, I had pieces there that had that finish on it.
Use it on a small test piece and see how it works out for you.

EricFortune said...

Thanks Guys. Unfortunately, my work has always been presented with glass or plexi. That's the main reason I like to find a nice varnish. So far the satin varnish is rather nice. In the middle of testing the matte. Either way. I think both will be better than high glossy. That was too much of a change and just didn't feel right.

I agree that the matte finish is nice. However, as the acrylic builds up and become more opaque it develops a sheen of it's own which stands apart from the rest of the painting. A varnish should help unify the surface of the work. Will post more as I test them out.

EricFortune said...

Madeline- thanks for the advice. I have some Krylon Matte Finish. But it said that after too many coats it will develop a frosty look. I may have to look into your recommendation.

erica lynn said...

hey brother... I like the idea of foam brushes... just remember when you are working with the varnish, try not to get too many air bubbles in it... definitely stir, no shaky shaky...


much luv to you!!!

e

CGriffin said...

What about protecting the surface of the painting from damage? I'd be a little worried about that...

EricFortune said...

Yeah, I know. I'm still on the line about it. I think the presentation would be nice. But it would def be more vulnerable. Esp in transport. The work would still be framed in a shadow box but is it worth it? I'm gonna let it marinate some more. Thanks.

Thom Glick said...

I usually varnish my acrylic pieces to unify the sheen. I like to use Golden's removable spray varnish. I like the satin, but they have a whole range from matte to high gloss.

EricFortune said...

So far Satin is looking pretty good. A unified surface is def nice. Plus it offers UVLS(ultraviolet filters and light stabilizers)to help prevent UV damage. Decisions decisions.

With permission of my friend Joe. Here's a response that had some good info for anyone else considering varnishes.

"Hey Eric, I would be careful about showing work on paper without glass. The surface is much easier to damage than board or canvas, and varnish alone will not protect it. It is rare to see paper work hanging in a museum unprotected. As far as varnishes go, you need to be careful about how much you water it down, you don't want to get uneven sheen, or have it lose its adhesive properties. Also be careful that you don't start to curl the paper by getting uneven coats on it. Also be aware that if you put on thick coats, the acrylic varnish can get tacky in heat or high humidity, that can lead to trouble on unprotected work. I remember that Loren had the protective cover sheet of a painting stick to the art, and it was a delicate operation to remove it. I've also seen two student illustrations that were varnished with acrylic medium end up face to face, and they stuck together. Thats all I got, so do some research and see what others have to say, then good luck my friend."

MJC *-* said...

Oh.. this reminds me of my little varnish project of my acrylic + oilpainting. I used a montana hardcore spraycan and i did this several times...really precise and i left it in a room to dry. But outside it was snowing and shit, in 'cold windy Holland'...So when i came back and sprayed again with the can...my painting was covered with bubbles varnish!! OMG Nooo. You don't want that. So don't leave your can in a very cold area and test it first!

Jared Shear said...

Beautiful work Eric!

You might look something called conservator's wax. An artist friend of mine uses it on her watercolors. It pops the colors a bit but retains a matte finish; also protecting the work from water, guck, etc.

I believe Gamblin's Cold Wax Medium is similar...... "can be used as a traditional wax varnish. A light coat of wax can be applied over a dried painting and the buffed with a soft, lint free cloth. A wax varnish gives a painting a soft sheen without the thick resin coating. Conservators recommend waiting six months to apply all other types of varnishes, but Gamblin's Cold Wax Medium can be applied as a varnish at any time."

Hope that helps

andrewlong said...

If you decide to varnish, don't forget a hair net =P

Kristina Carroll said...

Not much to add except keep experimenting. And I would say DON'T use wax. (sorry Jared) The problem with wax is it never dries and so the surface is always extremely vulnerable to any sort of marring of the finish. Would need constant buffing. I had a painting I experimented with the wax on over a year ago, and the surface is still "malleable". Definitely not my cup of tea.