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Viewing Topic "Watercolor Varnishes"

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Posted By: mlaiuppa
Total Posts: 4
Joined Date: Sep 23, 2017

If you work on YUPO then you have to varnish for permanence. I use a clear matte varnish to seal. I haven't noticed any change in color but then, I'm organic and not a machine so my naked eyes (well, with reading glasses) probably wouldn't notice any change anyway. 

 

And yes, my work would still be watercolor even though it is sealed with a varnish. 

Painting in watercolor since 1966 and 2015
Posted : Sep 23, 2017
Posted By: mystic fire
Total Posts: 35
Joined Date: Apr 9, 2007
I just finished a painting on clayboard textured 24"x36". I varnished it with Kamar Varnish so it could be framed without glass. The result was nice...but as mentioned in this thread, it did give it an oil painting look- more so this time than before.

I think if I had used lighter coats of varnish, I think it would have kept it close to its original watercolor look (like my others have). So I have noticed when using Kamar Varnish, that several light coats will result in less refractive change, while heavier coats will definitely give an oil painting look and may offer more protection.
Paint d-mn you! Paint!
Posted : Jul 9, 2008
Posted By: George O'Hanlon
Total Posts: 2253
Joined Date: Jun 15, 2004
You can use gum arabic as a varnish over a watercolor painting and this is precisely what many British watercolorists of the 18th and 19th centuries did to saturate the colors in their works.

We have made the Crystal Water Varnish, based on 19th century recipes for this purpose.
George O'Hanlon Technical Director Natural Pigments
Posted : Jun 15, 2008
Posted By: david
Total Posts: 53
Joined Date: Jun 9, 2008
Hi,

Gum arabic is used as a medium and pigment binder in watercolor but you must be careful with it because of its brittel nature. Yes it can add greatly to getting vivid color. To much and it will crack.

I'm not sure why the hair pulling over varnishing a watercolor. It still will be a watercolor no matter what you put on it to protect it. Just as an oil painting is an oil painting no matter how many coats of varnish. Yes varnishing will change the quality of color.

Is that a bad thing. Maybe yes Maybe no.
David
Posted : Jun 13, 2008
Posted By: mystic fire
Total Posts: 35
Joined Date: Apr 9, 2007
I don't know what I was thinking...Gum arabic is a gum...not a resin...duh.
My apologies, I must be too tired lately.
Paint d-mn you! Paint!
Posted : Jun 13, 2008
Posted By: mystic fire
Total Posts: 35
Joined Date: Apr 9, 2007
I have used Kamar Varnish on a clayboard watercolor painting. It has been unframed for over 2 yrs, and gone though some adverse (in a garage under papers or on the wall exposed to inirect sunlightlight) conditions. It has held up extremely well, with no cracking or yellowing.

The image did not change too much. I think this is due to the clayboard being so porous and textured...so it does not have the seemed encased in resin look.

As far as varnishing watercolor...is watercolor pigment exposed to air, or surrounded by the waterbase binder? I know pastels are exposed to air and dust quite easily.

If watercolor is defined as painting with just water soluble binders that can be rewett, then a non water soluble varnish would alter the ability to rewett the paint (thus it the varnish provides protection).
Am I correct to assume a watersoluble varnish, such as gum arabic (takes effort to rewett without humectants) should be acceptable as a watercolor. There are many watercolor mediums on the market...gum arabic is one, It is sold as a medium that produces more brilliance, gloss and intesifies the piece. It is sold by winsor&newton along with other watercolor manufacterers. So if this is acceptable...why would a gum arabic based varnish not be acceptable.

Am I also correct in calling gum arabic a waterbased resin? If so why would other resin based varnishes be unacceptable?

These are only my opinions...and I may be off base...I'm sure I can expect (and look forward to) any misifnformation I have stated to be corrected with more accurate info.
Paint d-mn you! Paint!
Posted : Jun 12, 2008
Posted By: david
Total Posts: 53
Joined Date: Jun 9, 2008
I've varnished a few of my gouache paintings. I have found that if I use the mat krylon with UV-resistant a white film will form if not sealed first. The painting must first have a sealer applied to keep the mat coating from clouding. So I use crystal clear to seal the painting. I use the matt or semi gloss because the gloss gets to be a little much to look at. I've use the watercolor varnish sold here it works well if the painting is still streched on the board other wise the paper will rippel, unless you work on heavy weight papers. unlike the spray varnish it sinks deep into the paper rewetting it.

I've not tried goldens varnishes because you have to brush it on. I fear rewetting my painting while applying a varnish with a brush. I just can see colors mixing in to the varnish just not a good idea.

The varnish on watercolors will change the quality of your colors, opening them up, giving them a greater depth. Some glazes may lose some of their more interesting qualities. With gouache the paintings come closer to oil, the colors are no longer flat. The glazes and washes get a depth to them. But it is also better to work on a more solid support like a panel. Because the paintings may craze this is mostly beauce the paint lacks the flexability of oil.

The draw back, the national watercolor society really dislikes the varnishing, painting on canvas and clayboards. It goes agaist traditions. I'm not sure which part of watercolor tradition but that is how it is. Also if your work isn't under glass or matted. So if you do these things be ready to be rejected.

David
Posted : Jun 9, 2008
Posted By: George O'Hanlon
Total Posts: 2253
Joined Date: Jun 15, 2004
This is likely more of an issue among watercolor purists than anyone else. Watercolor pigments are no longer exposed to air as they would typically be in a strictly-speaking watercolor technique, if a heavy varnish coat is applied to the painted surface. This not only alters the physical properties of the paint surface, but also its appearance.
George O'Hanlon Technical Director Natural Pigments
Posted : Jun 2, 2008
Posted By: arnold
Total Posts: 5
Joined Date: Jun 2, 2008
If you varnish watercolor is it still watercolor?
Posted : Jun 2, 2008
Posted By: sister
Total Posts: 1
Joined Date: May 29, 2008
I just varnished a watercolor for the first time. I did not use Natural Pigments, because up until today I did not have any.

I'm working on a 140# Fabriano sheet, which is too soft for my liking anyway so I don't know if it is a proper test. I varnished a piece of Wachtung 72# (a student grade no longer being manufactured) and had the same result. I do not have a 300# sheet. I suppose the paints do look darker, but not noticeably as I see when using Liquiprin over Golden Fluid Acrylics on canvas.

These papers are too soft for my liking in general and after varnishing the effect of wet-wet is intensified. I'm not sure if I like it or not. I can show one if you want.

I'm just a little guy, and although I do sell some works I am not a professional. So. I used Krylon spray to set and a craft gloss varnish. I thought I'd get a bottle of craft matt to check the difference.
Posted : May 29, 2008
Posted By: George O'Hanlon
Total Posts: 2253
Joined Date: Jun 15, 2004
Typically, varnishes alter the nature of watercolors, because they impregnate the surface of the paper with a resin, such as acrylic or other synthetic resin as is the case wth Kamar Varnish. Due to the refractive index of the resin this changes the appearance of the watercolor saturtating colors or making them appear darker.
George O'Hanlon Technical Director Natural Pigments
Posted : May 25, 2007
Posted By: mystic fire
Total Posts: 35
Joined Date: Apr 9, 2007
I have successfully used Kamar varnish from krylon.
It does intesify the colors...but keeps the texture and granulation.

Golden has a varnish out that is UV resistant...I think it is also acrylic base.
Paint d-mn you! Paint!
Posted : May 24, 2007
Posted By: Butch Krieger
Total Posts: 40
Joined Date: Jan 8, 2007
I would welcome input from any other members of this forum, on the subject of watercolor varnishes. I am writing an article for the Natural Pigments Web site, which will be about such varnishes. It will be a revised and extended version of the article that I wrote for Watercolor Magic on this subject. It will include the results of tests that I am now doing with the different kinds of watercolor varnishes on the market.

[ 17. January 2007, 20:53: Message edited by: Admin ]
Posted : Jan 17, 2007

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