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Varnish left streaks on my painting

Could anyone tell me if there is anything I can do about those streaks? 
2 coats of varnish went smooth and after the third one there are ugly streaks. should i wait till it is dry and put a nother coat or just use OMS and try to remove it?
thank you!


  • dencaldencal -
    edited February 14

    Noooo! Don’t try to remove it.

    What is the cause of the streaks? Surface variation from a dry brush or set up varnish ? Contamination from paint or water? Use a lens to inspect.

    Another coat will fix a surface variation, another coat will seal in contamination.

    Try a spray can to avoid these problems.


  • @dencal thank you! I don't know what's the cause of it.  not water or paint. so frustrating  - i should get a spray :)
  • @dencal , just curious - why i shouldn't try to remove it?  one can remove varnish not causing any damage to the painting right?   
    thanks again for your help, it's very kind of you  :)
  • I used gamvar glossy varnish and dipped a 1” wide brush in it and then rubbed the canvas with that making sure to not puddle up any varnish.
    I put just one thin coat down and got a real nice glossy varnish finish.
  • ArtGalArtGal -
    edited February 14
    @GTO -  wish I'd  stop after the second coat  :(
  • It's impossible to answer the question without knowing the type of varnish and amount of time given to let the painting dry before varnishing
  • @CJD - i used dammar W&N, the time between coats was one day every time.  i basically waited till the coat stopped feeling tacky before the next one.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited February 15

    Varnish removal is radical,time consuming and messy. The procedure carries risk for the painting.
    Local fine sanding and polishing and /or recoat should be enough.


  • Oh I just meant for example if you waited 6 months or more before varnishing you would be able to remove it and revarnish without too much risk. If you varnish too soon you might not be able to remove the varnish without removing a lot of pigment with it.

    Gamvar is better than the stuff you're using. You use a single very thin layer and it doesn't yellow after 30 yrs unlike dammar. It's removable with a milder solvent too = less damage to painting if it is ever cleaned.

    Gamblin has a vid on how to use it.
  • thank you @dencal and @CJD. it's been  more than 6 months before varnishing.
    I will look into Gamvar   :)
  •   I switched to Gamvar about two years ago.  But it's a bit of an oddity in that, according to Gamblin instructions, you need to apply it rather thinly and with a bit of light scrubbing.  Very light, especially if your painting has just reached the "touch dry" stage.  You're allowed to varnish touch dry paintings with it, but you must be careful with your scrubbing action.  My personal experience is that the scrubbing is necessary because sometimes the varnish doesn't cover well with light application, leaving a vaguely mottled appearance when dry.  Also, if it is applied too thickly so that it leaves "pools," these will show up too glossy when dry.  May sound complicated, but you'll catch on in a short time, and THE GOOD NEWS is that Gamvar is removable with plain old odorless mineral spirits.
  • Thank you @broker12. I should try it. my painitng has a lot of black background so I can see  every imperfection  if varnish isn't even.  it's annoying to have varnishing problem after you done with painting :)
  • @ArtGal yes I had a tricky problem, much like @broker12 describes when I first used Gamvar, on my tulips painting.
    There was an area that beaded, looking like what happens when you put oil and water together. I removed the Gmavar an made a further 2 attempts and the same thing kept happening. I was making sure I was doing all the right things regarding application method.

    I became quite frustrated with it and ended up doing a Winsor & Newton spray varnish which worked a treat.

    I was nearly frightened off Gamvar for good, but tried it again on my Sunflower paining and had non of the previous problems.

    I guess these things can be trial and error.

  • @MichaelD - agree about trial and error. wish there were less error  :)
  • @ArtGal, me too.

    But I can say categorically that I have learned from my mistakes, and I'm quite sure that I can repeat them exactly.

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