Process: Varnishing an Oil Painting!
January 11, 2013 § 27 Comments
Well, we seemed to have survived the Mayan Apocalypse. <<<>>> So, this week I’d like to share process images from varnishing a finished oil painting. Once the oil painting has dried and has had a chance to cure (initially) it is ready for a varnish– which gives it a final protective coat.
Recently, I finished a commissioned oil painting where I used old master glazing techniques. Glazing is done with a series of thin layers of paint and oil medium on top of one another, gradually increasing the amount of oil as you build up each consecutive layer.
Traditionally one way that oil paint is meant to perform is by light passing through each glazed layer and then bouncing off the primed white canvas beneath the paint and then passing back through the layers of glaze. Historically this action of the light is what gives oil painting a certain luminescence when viewed in person. (I love painting.)
My patron who commissioned this work has been very gracious while we have waited for the oil medium to cure enough to be varnished. If one varnishes too quickly, the varnish itself can crack terribly as the oil glazes below it dry and slowly expand.
Dammar varnish is made from a gum which comes from trees tapped in Southeast Asia and India. I like the quality of Winsor & Newton’s dammar, and I prefer a softer varnish opposed to a high gloss finish. So, I cut the dammar varnish by adding Gamblin’s cold wax medium to it– giving it a velvet like surface. Varnish brings out all of the dark darks which had chalked over in the initial drying stage of the painting process. It can really revive a piece of art!
My friend Sarah Wilmer helped me to take some photographs of this artwork when it was finished. I’ll be sure to show those images of the painting as a whole when those pictures ready. Thanks, Sarah!
If any of you have any insight or opinions about varnishing or oil painting please don’t hesitate to comment as I enjoy hearing from you. 2013 is going to be a good year!
Thanks for reading! <<<>>>