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varnish for finished painting and nonabsorbent ground

i'm getting ready to order some supplies and want to try a varnish by gamblin (gamvar). Anyone use it, comments.
I had my paintings dull last summer, attributed to an absorbent ground and turps., too much. I read dammar doesn't fix my problem.
Found a few old time grounds to try, lead based, that may help next batch. One interesting method to make porous gesso nonabsorbent is to give two coats of skim milk. Trying it now. Searching the problem I had popped up many others having the same issue. Mark addressed the issue in part with his oil out video.


  • dencaldencal -
    edited June 2014

    Gamvar has a good reputation, not used it myself, but I think Mark recommends Gamvar.
    Some problems and solutions here:

    The best non absorbent ground is acrylic (a plastic coat between the oil paint and the gesso/canvas).

    Be a bit careful (with things like skim milk) you may make your work irresistible to moths, beetles and silverfish.

    Please avoid lead based products - so harmful to developing brains.

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