Hi all
My first posting having joined a few minutes ago. 
What should I use to varnish my painting and how long should I wait fir it to dry before doing this. 


  • Hello AnniePannie

    Welcome to the Forum.

    Gamvar is favoured by several contributors, but Winsor & Newton make a good product.
    ‘You may find a pressure pack spray easier to apply. Check out some ‘how to’ videos on YouTube.
    Six months is the recommended drying time, though this depends on temperature and humidity.
    GamVar can be applied when the paint is ‘touch dry’.

  • Hi, @AnniePannie. Welcome to the forum.  :)
  • Thank you for your reply Denis. 
    Having lost my husband (Denis) only a year ago it seemed rather touching that you should have been my first contact, especially as this is all new to me and I have never before been a member of a Forum!
    Thank you for your advice. 
  • Welcome!  I have found the folks here to be very encouraging, helpful, warm, knowledgeable, and kind.  You've picked a good place.
  • GTOGTO -
    edited January 29
    On the topic of varnishing ...
    @KingstonFineArt Jim, you mentioned in a previous post that you oil out your painting before you varnish.  What process do you use?  How do you apply it. How do you wipe off the excess?  How long do you wait before you varnish it?  I’ve oiled out a section of a painting but have not varnished it and I see part of it sunk again.  
    Another thing I’ve noticed is that I have an area of a painting that has been varnished and if the light is at the right (wrong?) angle I notice a slight difference in the shine.  I think I probably had some excess oil on the surface.  I use walnut oil when I paint and glossy Gamvar when I varnish. Here’s what it looks like.  Is there any way that I can correct that?  I wonder about putting a second coat of varnish on the painting.
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks 

  • welcome to the forum! 
  • @GTO
    Are you using M Graham paints? When I oil out with a small clean patch of cotton cloth doing small areas about 2" square very gently using W&N painting medium. I do this until a slight blush might show on the rag. It works best on linen for me. Then I wait a few weeks to varnish using a 2" varnish brush used in boat painting. Long strokes 'fairing' as they say in boat painting.

    Over the past several years I have been spraying paintings as they go out the door with Kamar. The last couple of rough canvases I've varnished I have used a 3" rough bristle scrubbing into the texture. I have many paintings that never get varnished or oiled out. It depends on how sunken they get. Certain mediums help with he sunken thing. I find that with good linen sunken color is less of an issue for me. Gessoed panel are bad. Rough canvas gets no oiling. 

    Your image looks like you varnished in a painterly manner? Very uneven. That could be uneven application of medium while painting. I think one of the things oiling out does is mitigate that. Mark has a good video on varnishing as do about a million other youtubers.
  • @KingstonFineArt I am using M Graham oil paint.  The medium I use is walnut with a very small amount of clove.  I do scrub the Gamvar and then I do long strokes in the same direction to even it out. I will try oiling out the way you describe in the next painting.  Thanks for your help on this. 
  • @GTO
    don’ scrub the varnish unless the surface is irregular 
  • I have been using a damar spray on varnish for yeas. Never had a problem with it. go's on nice and smooth. I have paintings over 40 years old ,and never had a problem with the spray. I clean and revarnish lightly every 10 years if needed.
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