Saturday, June 12, 2010

A little more about picture varnish

Seascape by Ritschel

Here is a little more on the subject of varnishing paintings. A lively discussion ensued in the comments and several apparently knowledgeable writers have suggested the use of Gamvar. I have not used it myself but will certainly check it out. I have heard, and they reiterate that it can be used on a painting only a few weeks old. That may be the solution that you will want to use.
If you go to the comments from the last post you can read the opinion of Edward who seems to be expert on this. Here is a link to Gamblins site for a little more information on Gamvar.

I am certain that damar works though and has been used for many years.
I am likely to send a painting out before it has a chance to sit even for those several weeks in my studio so I will probably continue to use retouch varnish and recommend a later coat of damar. I have written a statement to be included in an envelope to be stapled to the stretchers of a painting. Here is a PDF version of that which you can print out. I would suggest you edit it and add your name somewhere and tailor it to your own needs.

I also received a copy of a scam letter aimed at painters from one of the readers. I spoke about these a while ago, but this one is such a classic. Here it is:

Dear (your name here);
Thanks for the message, I am very happy to know that the painting is still available for sale. i must tell you that my wife was stuffing through the net and she saw your good artwork she is very much interested in the immediate purchase because she need it for our new apartment ..

I will like to to buy it before someone else Grap it and i will pay you securely with a Bank Cashier's Check which will be payable to your name and i will wait till it clears your bank before the pick up.
This is because i will be traveling out of the country any moment from now for a business proposal. So get back to me with the information needed to send you the payment I:E

So that i can proceed in the payment arrangement and relay it to you asap. Kindly remove the listing from sales and consider it sold get back to me asap with needed information.
Thanks Once Again And I Await Your Quick Response


This scam letter has all of the classic details. It is written in stilted language, It is from overseas, it describes a client who is moving and offers a cashiers check. If you get an offer like this, don't do it! I know we all want to sell art and its nice to think you have a customer on the line, but that's not what this is. I pity his poor stuffing wife.


Robert J. Simone said...

I use Gamvar and love it. I have gotten a painting or two back from a gallery and decided to rework them before trying to sell again. Using a paper towel and Gamsol was able to easily wipe off Gamvar that had been applied a year earlier. This took only minutes and then was able to begin reworking the painting.

I was told by a Gamblin rep to varnish within three weeks with Gamvar or wait 3-6 months. If you varnish within 3 weeks it becomes part of the paint film and is tougher to remove but does not hurt the durability over the long haul. You still repaint over it if it is part of the film. I apply it with one of those gray sponge brushes from the hardware store.

Mary Byrom said...

Totally awesome information from Edward! Many thanks. Robert thanks for your input - I'm going to try Gamvar . I use a number of Gamblin products already just hadn't gotten round to trying Gamvar. Stapleton thanks for going into detail about this.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I am going to have to try that. Do I have to mix it every time I use it?

Stapleton Kearns said...

You are welcome. I like Gamsol too. That's a good product.

ccreed50 said...

"Stuffing through the net"...hard work, that. You quack me up!

Closer to home, Providence artist Jason Brockert essays the subject of involuntary art charity in this post:'

Love the blog--


Robert J. Simone said...

Stape, no, you combine the two parts in a little jar which is provided. The jar has a screw on lid for same keeping in between uses. Very nice stuff.

Caroline Peña Bray said...

Thanks for the great info Stapleton! I always get into a pickle with these things and forums on the web only seem to exacerbate my confusion. It's great to have it explained so well and so thoroughly. Many many thanks.