The best part of finishing an oil painting is the varnishing. All the juicy colour fades as the oil paint cures, but a swipe of varnish brings it back to life.
I’m using Gamvar here, as I just have to wait for the painting to be touch dry before you can apply. Six months is the minimum curing time needed for traditional varnish. If the painting has thick impasto areas, it can be longer. That’s a long time for a painting to hang out, especially for commissions. The downside is it’s expensive in the UK as it’s imported, but the convenience of it means my traditional varnish is left untouched.
I have a brush I only use for varnishing that I wash out several times with soap and water. According to Gamblin Varnishing help I needn’t As it will dissolve in the varnish and I won’t get those annoying flakey bits. It can be a bit tricky to use at first, as if too much varnish is applied the surface can start to bubble. If anything goes wrong, it can be removed with Gamsol. I’ve never tried Gamsol, as it’s vastly more expensive than zest it.
Although Gamsol is almost odourless, ventilation is still needed to save an artists lungs.
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