Today I want to tell you about the final coat for our artworks - Varnish for Painting. So what is Varnish and why do you even need to use it?
Varnish is hard when dry, transparent top layer that is applied to the dried painting to protect it from dirt, dust, ultraviolet rays, humidity, and scuffing. More, it can also give your painting a certain aesthetic appeal by evening out the painting’s final appearance, making it all equally glossy or matt, and enhancing the vibrancy of the colors. This step is convenient when you are planning to gift, sell or exhibit some of your artworks. The word "varnish" can also be used as a verb - "to varnish the painting".
Different Types of Artist's Varnish Finishes
There are three main types of varnish finishes:
Satin will give you something in between glossy and matte. To achieve satin, semi-gloss finish, you can also mix gloss and matte varnish.
Matte will give a nonreflective finish and tone down, particularly glaring color scheme. It will actually lighten darker colors. Satin and matte varnishes will also soften the colors. With some practice and experimentation, you'll discover what you prefer.
Two different formulations of Varnish For Painting
Acrylic resin varnish creates a better high gloss finish. In general, acrylic resin varnishes are glossier, stronger and clearer than polymer ones. However, the downside of resin is that it's toxic if inhaled, so you will need to apply the varnish in a well-ventilated area. To thin this varnish and to clean your brushes afterward, you'll need to use mineral spirits.
Acrylic polymer varnish is non-toxic and can be diluted with water. This means you don't need any smelly chemicals to clean-up, and you can wash your brush with regular soap and water when you are finished. If you plan to use a satin or matte varnish, then an isolation coat would be an asset.
Over the years dirt and dust will stick to the varnish. Which is why some varnishes produced to be removable (check the properties on the package), and the painting can be re-varnished to look as good as new. If you use a removable one, most manufacturers recommend you apply an "isolation coat" before you varnish the painting. The isolation coat acts as a barrier between your painting and the varnish, protecting your painting from the chemicals that remove the varnish. For an isolation coat, you can get a ready-made isolation liquid or use an acrylic gel medium or gloss gel, diluted with water.
Different Application of Varnish
Finally, here we come to the application of Varnish. Generally, there are two ways to apply it onto a finished artwork - with a brush or with a spray. The first way is traditional - you just use your brush to apply varnish evenly onto a dried painting. This way is very popular, but it does require some skills and is more time-consuming.
Spray Varnish for painting is a convenient modern time-saving alternative. When would you want to use it? Well, pretty much any time, but this varnish works especially good for the textured paintings. The thing is that when the painting is textured, it can be really hard to varnish it evenly. In this case, spray varnish comes to the rescue. It covers everything evenly, it's easy to use, it doesn't require any special skills and you don't need to use a brush. So it definitely has a lot of benefits. and this can be your varnish choice for any artwork. I do recommend spray varnish for beginners.
Ensure the Longevity of your Artwork
Are you ready to hang your acrylic paintings on the wall? Do you want it to look more professional and to stay looking its best? Then adding the right varnish in the right way will be a sound investment! So don't hesitate and give it a try! If you don't know what brand to go with, I highly recommend you to read this review of one of my favorite varnishes. You are welcome to leave a comment if you have any question about the Varnish for Painting.
Best of luck,