Varnishing a painting can get complicated but it doesn’t need to be. In the past, for an oil painting, you would have to wait 6 months to a year till the paint is completely dry before you could varnish it. Come On! Seriously? How are you suppose to get back with every client 6 months to a year after they buy one of your paintings in order to put a varnish on it? There is an easier way!…
You may ask, Why do I need to varnish my paintings? You don’t. But varnishing a painting creates depth and brings the colors on the painting to life. And it protects it from dirt & dust.
Most varnishes of the past tend to yellow & darken over time and become difficult to restore many years down the road.
Luckily Gamblin Artist’s Oil Colors came up with a solution! This is the best contemporary way to varnish a painting that I have found. It’s called Gamvar. Gamvar doesn’t yellow and is easy to remove if necessary. It can also be used on acrylic and tempera paintings.
I love this stuff! With Gamvar you don’t have to wait 6 months or even 6 weeks. As soon as the thickest parts of the painting art dry to the touch and not tacky, you can apply the Gamvar varnish.
Gamvar allows the painting to continue to breathe so the paint underneath can still continue to dry. It doesn’t stop the drying process.
It can also be used as retouch varnish if you add one part Gamvar to 5 parts Gamsol or other odorless paint thinners.
( pic of glossy and matte finishes)
The Gamvar gives a glossy finish to your painting but if you prefer a matte finish you can dissolve some of Gamblin’s cold wax medium into the Gamvar. The more Cold wax medium you mix in, the more matte finish you get.
They have also just now come out with Satin and Matte premixed Gamvar as well so you don’t have to do any mixing.
You can even put a light coat of the matte mixture over the regular gloss application and when it dries, it can be buffed out with a soft cloth to a soft luster. I think I would only do this on a painting that was on a panel not stretched canvas. Otherwise, you will end up seeing the edges of the stretcher bars through the painting. Unless you put something flat and rigid up underneath the painting in between the canvas and stretcher bars.
Gamvar can also be removed with Gamsol or another odorless paint thinner if you need to take it off of a painting for some reason.
Here is an overview of how to apply Gamvar. Go to gamblincolors.com for more in-depth instructions and safety precautions.
What you need:
- Gamvar Varnish by Gamblin
- Very soft brush / (dedicate this brush to use only for the varnish)
- a painting
- flat surface
1. Make sure painting is completely dry to the touch especially in the thicker
areas and not tacky.
2 Place painting on flat surface
3 Start brushing the Gamvar onto the painting
Put a thin coat on using brisk scrubbing strokes making sure to get it into every crevice.
4 Move the painting around to make sure you haven’t missed any areas.
5 Lay FLAT & Let it dry. Don’t tilt it or it may run. That’s it!
6 Clean your brush thoroughly.
Usually, the Gamvar will dry within an hour or two. However, I wouldn’t stack them on top of each other till thoroughly dry.
I usually varnish large batches of paintings so I don’t have to keep cleaning the brush.
One jar of Gamvar will varnish MANY paintings.
Thanks to modern breakthroughs,
it’s actually very easy and inexpensive
to varnish your paintings and is no longer intimidating.
You can easily give your paintings that professional & finished look so your paintings will stand out amongst the others.
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Originally posted at RedPaletteStudio.com