Varnishing can be a wonderful thing.  I paint in acrylics and a lot of times some of the colors will have a matte flat sheen, while others will appear to have a glossy shine to them.  This can be pretty distracting to your image.  Varnishing can help to create one even finish at whatever amount of shine you want.  It is also important to protect the painting from dirt and dust.

Varnish can absolutely be the bane of my existence.  I absolutely hate the varnishing stage.  I spend however many hours perfecting my painting only to have it completely dependent on how a couple of layers of varnish dries.  I don’t think I have ever had a perfect varnish for any of my paintings.  Yes, I am sure a lot of it is only noticed by me, but this last time was absolutely horrendous.

These Cool Gradient canvases are pretty large, so it is a bit harder to get an even coat with the varnish.  I kept adding more layers to cover the streaks I was getting, but it kept getting worse.  I put it aside for about a month thinking I would have to remove the varnish inch by inch.  And I hadn’t sprayed fixative in between the acrylic and the first coat of varnish, so I had no idea if the removal process would take up the painting.  I was not looking forward to that process at all.  I made one last-ditch effort to hide the streaks by starting again with a gloss layer and then adding a satin/gloss mixture layer over top.  There were still some streaks, but not nearly as noticeable, so thankfully I will not have to try the removal process.

Long story short, I always post a picture of the painting on the varnishing table as a way to calm my nerves about varnishing.  It never gets easy.


Cool Gradient # 1

18×36 Acrylic on Canvas

Cool Gradient # 2

18×36 Acrylic on Canvas

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