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Old 02-04-06, 07:18 AM
otto otto is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 9
Default To Varnish or Not to Varnish.....

I did a search on the subject, but I'm still wondering......How many of you varnish your ET paintings? Does it really throw off the subtle tonalities to a distracting degree? I'm using an egg yolk/dammar emulsion paint, so I'm wondering if a thin layer of dammar varnish will change the values that much. Would burnishing with a soft cloth achieve a better effect?I'm willing to do a test, but would appreciate any input.
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Old 02-04-06, 08:17 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Chicago, Illinois USA
Posts: 417

I don't, but then I use straight egg yolk tempera. Certain of the more subtle color effects would be blown by the refractive index of a layer of varnish.

I would think an egg-damar medium would take varnish better. But wouldn't there be a risk of lifting some of the paint later, when the varnish has to be removed? I have a friend who had this problem with paintings which were oil-damar. The varnish disturbed the paint and took some of it with it when removed.
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Old 02-04-06, 09:11 PM
David McKay David McKay is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 77

I do not varnish my paintings although I have often been tempted and I did try it once years ago. As I recall, the varnish did not stick to well. I rubbed the varnished painting with a cloth a few days after I had varnished it and the varnish came off of some sections of the work. Perhaps the paint film was polished too much and was too smooth or not absorbent enough to accept the varnish??

In any case the varnish was quite shiny and I didn't like it. Also, if the artwork got a bump or scratch I am sure that it would show up on the varnished coating and make the piece even more difficult to repair. I have repaired 15 old egg tempera paintings and it was really rather easy to do. Besides I like the natural sheen of the egg tempera medium, I also use only pure egg yolk, and I am sure that some of the final delicate touches to the painting would be changed or disturbed.

If there was a satin varnish that was easy to remove if need be, perhaps I would try it again. David
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