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I am done with my painting, now what?

Okay, so I finished my first painting. Now what are the next steps? Such as:

How long does it need to dry?
When do you varnish it? What type of varnish etc, etc.?

Assume I know nothing (cause I don't) and give me the basic rundown and timeline of what you do after the painting is done. Thanks for the help!


  • If you have it in a warm area while it dries it will probably be dry in a couple of weeks if you did Mark's method and used the thinned paint. Varnishing is a whole other story and one that I have not mastered!
  • I have a small table top easel placed in a separate room away from traffic. It's best to let your painting dry in that upright position so the dust doesn't land on it. I believe Mark mentioned that once. Depending on the weather, it could take a week or two to dry. I use Damvar varnish. You can use it as soon as the painting is dry to the touch. But with other varnishes you need to wait several months I believe. Others here know more about that than I do.
  • Oh, before you varnish, and make sure the paint is completely dry, use a damp (not wet) sponge to wipe any dust off.
  • edited August 2013
    beck said:

    Okay, so I finished my first painting. Now what are the next steps? ...

    Why start another one of course! Just kidding. Everything you need to know you can find here. It has to be cured, not just dry to the touch. I haven't done it yet but I have read a lot about it and watched Marks first DVD and the video linked above. He says to wait until your darks are nice and flat. Figure a couple of months at least. For some reason I think I remember him saying 6 months in the original DVD but I could be wrong. Waiting too long will not hurt you. Doing it too soon could be disastrous.

  • You can varnish when the painting is dry to the touch... more a matter of weeks than months in my experience. I have always varnished when the painting is touch dry... and never had an issue.... but be sure it is touch dry!!!
  • Now what? Have a glass of champagne and celebrate! :-c
  • Show us the finished project! =D>
  • Good grief...that's really good.
  • Beck

    Lovely portrait. Well done.

  • Now you take a bow and pat yourself on the back! Awesome!!
  • I like it. You did a v. good job on it.
  • i don't want to make any one feel bad but a painting needs to sit for one year before varnishing. if you varnish to soon you will implead the oxygen exchange with the oliefactors resins and cause it to prematurely crack. you can use retouching varnish sooner but you should wait at least a few months to be sure for that kind of varnish retouching has small hole that develop as it drys this lets O2 get under the surface but its fragile and not a long term type of finish you know its not necessary to varnish unless you painting is sunken or you want a really deep finish. varnish was used in the past to protect paintings from the soot that cam from the used of oils and coal in the home we have very clean homes now in comparison to the early 20th century
  • edited September 2013
    Beck....a lovely painting of your daughter...and I like the texture with the smooth...unique...however, one thing disturbs me...

    Its the chin is such a sharp line (against the very dark of her neck shadow) that it is detracting from her beautiful eyes and other features.......I would soften that line (hopefully the paint is still wet)...unless is was your intentional desire to focus on her chin...

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