|Before applying varnish|
|After applying varnish|
So I decided to document my first experiment with Gamvar*. In his aforementioned blog post on the subject, Mitchell Albala stressed how important it was to use as little varnish as possible and apply it with a soft brush in a scrubbing motion (have a special brush for this purpose - don't use one of your good painting brushes!). I closely followed his instructions and found the varnish quite easy to apply. I didn't have any problem with streaks, either.
One thing I did note is that in the past when I've applies varnishes, the varnish tended to bring out the darks and liven up the painting in general. However, I didn't see much of a difference in the appearance of my painting after applying this varnish.
|Detail - can you see any difference in appearance?|
But regardless of whether the varnish heightens darks and brightens colors (sounds like a laundry detergent...) in your paintings or not, varnishing also plays an important role in protecting your artwork. Over time dirt can build up on the surface of a painting and cleaning it can harm the painting. If you have a layer of varnish, the dirt attaches to the varnish and the old varnish can be removed and a new clean layer of varnish applied with no harm to the painting underneath. Here's a discussion about varnishing from Scott Gellatly when he was a guest blogger on Lori Putnam's blog. And if you're a painter and you don't know about Lori Putnam's blog, you best go check it out right now!
Meanwhile, I think I'll become a more regular varnisher, since using the Gamvar was very easy.
*This is not a commercial for Gamvar and I did not receive any compensation from Gamblin.