Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spraying varnish

I often spray varnish in the studio with the aid of a mouth atomizer, it is
a small metal device, two metal tubes hinged together. I thin the dammar varnish by about half with turpentine in a small bottle, then I stick the long end of the atomizer into the bottle and blow through the short end. This works like the old perfume bottles with a squeeze bulb. It really lays down the varnish, it works far better than a spray can, This does a much better job, and costs a tenth as much to use. There is no way you can inhale or suck the varnish into your mouth through the tube. I step back, take a big breath and give it another shot. I learned to do this in the studios of R.H.Ives Gammell and it was forgotten technology then. This is how I do my retouch varnish and how I spray varnish on any painting that is not bone dry. You can buy a mouth atomizer from one of the big national mail order houses for a couple of dollars. I don't think your local art supply store will have one. I know this looks kind of intimidating in the photos but its really very easy, I am sure you can do it. You should probably avoid having your children photograph you doing this, with your cheeks blown out you will look like one of those putti that fly around in baroque religious paintings. Or maybe satchmo.
Tomorrow I will post a new painting I have finished.


Mary Bullock said...

Cool device Stape! Do you use it to varnish a completely dry painting?
How many layers do you put down?
Does the varnish dry inside the little tube and plug it up or do you clean it after use - and how do you clean it?
Is seems like you could inhale the varnish vapors that are hanging in the air - is that possible?
Thanks - Mary

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanx, Mary:
I actually took a picture of myself blowing the tube out, so I posted it now.I have added another post to answer those questions.Varnishing a completely dry painting is another post. I will write that soon.Its a long answer,yes I could and sometimes do use this method but their are some other issues that are going to have to be addressed on this subject as well. I will get that up soonly............Stape