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Old 07-07-13, 09:18 PM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Renaissance wax as a protective coating over egg tempera and gold leaf surfaces?

I am looking into the following product myself and will report back on my try with this, but has anyone so far tried Renaissance wax, an acid-free microcrystalline unique wax as a varnish substitute or protective coating which apparently has been used by several reputable museums out there, both in Britain and the U.S., at least according to this link which may be advertisement- based?

If so, have you tried it over either oil gilding, or over egg tempera as an isolating layer to paint in oil on top of, or as a final varnish? I am exploring the use of this product due to how I am currently working on a gilded panel that has 24 karat gold leaf painted over in oils, and yet I am also wanting to see if it isolates egg tempera well for a finish with oils. I read in one place that it may be less darkening over time than a shellac-based isolation layer, and yet I know we have established through Koo's research the validity of this method over egg tempera, even though Koo continues to look for alternative methods herself as do I.

Here is a link on this product which is being touted for use over gold leaf, tempera, marble, wood, and other interesting metal and non-metal surfaces:

http://www.woodfinishsupply.com/RenWax.html#74 A perhaps non-neutral Wikipedia report on this wax states the cautions about its use in conservation which include polyethylene content (which makes it hard to remove), and yet perhaps that is a non-issue in a combined painting method or final varnish method (?)

thanks and regards to all, Mona

Last edited by mona; 07-07-13 at 09:24 PM. Reason: (completing an incompleted sentence)
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Old 29-07-13, 01:40 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hi Mona,

I've tried several different wax mediums, including Renaissance (as well as Gamblin and Dorland wax mediums). They all work well over tempera; in fact, of the many different sorts of varnishes I've tried, I would say the wax mediums are most in keeping with tempera's "nature", so to speak. What I mean by that is that wax mediums don't greatly saturate and deepen the dark values of a tempera painting (unlike some other varnishes, which can really darken the darks...although I actually liking my darks more saturated) and the shine imparted by wax is soft and not overly shiny – it is more akin to the "egg shell shine" that naturally occurs on an unvarnished tempera painting.

From what I understand, all the commercial wax mediums (whether the wax is derived from petroleum, as in the Renaissance formulation; or from bees, as with the other two) also contain some percentage of resin and mineral spirits. In short, they should be used with good ventilation.

If you apply a wax medium too soon to a completed tempera, you may lift up color. Michael Bergt recommends first finishing off a tempera painting with a layer of egg yolk medium thinned with water (what is technically known as a nourishing layer), and then letting the painting cure for something like 6-8 weeks before applying the wax. Banjie Nicolas recommends waiting even longer for a painting to cure - I think she waits about 3 months, to be on the safe side. Not sure of those exact wait periods, but suffice to say that you shouldn't wax your tempera right away - give it some time to polymerize.

Michael and Banjie are both experts at applying a wax medium - they get gorgeous surfaces. I've found that it takes some practice to apply it consistently (I'm still learning to do it as well as they do...). I use a lint-free, blue shop rag to apply the wax in a gentle, circular motion, working carefully to get a consistent application. Then, if necessary, I smooth it out further with delicate strokes from a 1 1/2" wide, flat, soft-haired brush. If you make a mistake, and the wax starts to set up a bit before you have the look you want, it can be adjusted and/or removed with OMS (odorless mineral spirits). Once you are happy with your application, let the painting sit overnight (perhaps a bit longer if you've applied a thicker layer of wax). Polish the surface once its hard and dry, to pull out a really lovely finish.

Regarding shellac as a finish: to be clear, there are people who object strongly to its use as a varnish on egg tempera. Some of the objection is aesthetic – shellac saturates the darks, and is shinier than a traditional tempera surface. However aesthetics are a personal decision and if a person likes the effects of shellac, well, its okay to like those effects.

However other objections to shellac are technical: shellac is brittle as it ages, and it can be yellowing. I’ve talked to many people, including conservators, art manufacturers and woodworkers about these issues, and feel they have been addressed. If applied thinly and to a solid panel, the brittleness is addressed (tempera paint also gets brittle as it ages, which is one of the reasons we work on solid panels). Regarding yellowing, its possible to buy "platina", very pale varieties of shellac that, if applied in a thin layer, impart no discoloration. From what I’ve read shellac’s color is stable: its doesn’t continue to get more yellow as it ages, but rather stays whatever color it was when first applied - and I have a 15 year old test strip of shellac that so far bears this out; there is not one bit of discoloration. In addition to working with a "platina" shellac, it is also important to use the "dewaxed" varieties.

Despite what I've just said, you can find people who vehemently disagree to shellac being applied to tempera - just as many people strongly feel that no varnish of any sort should be put on a tempera painting, even though many traditional tempera techniques employ varnishes. As mentioned, I think, if technical considerations are addressed, varnishing is a perfectly acceptable option.

Hope that helps, Mona. I'd love to hear how it works for you. Happy tempering - hope you are staying cool...

Koo
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Old 29-07-13, 02:12 PM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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Always good to hear your input Koo, thanks
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Old 01-08-13, 04:06 AM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koo Schadler View Post
...as well as Gamblin and Dorland wax mediums)...whether the wax is derived from petroleum, as in the Renaissance formulation; or from bees, as with the other two) ...
I'm pretty sure that Dorland's Wax medium is a mixture of several waxes including ozkerite and micro-crystalline.

To mona:
Quote:
If so, have you tried it over either oil gilding, or over egg tempera as an isolating layer to paint in oil on top of...
I would avoid painting oil over wax. It's not a firm or stable enough surface for oil to be happy on top of it. If you're wanting to create a barrier between the tempera and the oil paint, I'd go with either 2# de-waxed clear shellac, or a thin resin varnish, like a retouch. You might see a color shift in the tempera when you add either of these.
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Old 01-08-13, 10:50 PM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Renaissance wax as a protective coating over egg tempera and gold leaf surfaces?

Dear Koo, Eric, DB, and all, I have not yet had the opportunity to test out the Renaissance wax I have purchased on either of the surfaces I was asking about, and yet I am grateful to Koo for warning me about the waiting period over egg tempera.

The actual project I have at hand is an oil painting over gold leaf on a panel that I have oil-gilded, and my decision at the moment I think will be to use the shellac varnish that Michael Bergt recommended to me, and yet he is recommending a 3-part shellac crystals to one part denatured alcohol, whereas I am wondering if I can get away with a 5 to 1 or even 6 to 1 ratio on that one. So has anyone tried the shellac varnish over the gold leaf?, and yet I know that Michael has produced a whole volume of gold-leafed panels which he has incised and these can be seen on his website. I had asked Michael about the Renaissance wax too, and yet he has been busy fielding his latest show, so I expect eventually to test that out myself when I have got less time pressure. Several surgeries this year have thrown my entire line-up off not either, but almost, and yet I am glad to be back among the useful painters out there.

Koo, thanks for patiently reviewing the shellac method again for us all, and yes, platina would be the way to go on the shellac too, as it is the blondest crystal out there as far as I have been able to determine also. DB thanks also for weighing in with your perspective on using oil over wax, since I will actually be painting over the varnished surface of the outer border on this gilded panel, and here is a link to the work I have been discussing with my question, one which is still in progress, and which will have a background of a garden and a wisteria vine, if I can pull that part off, on the outer section of the panel with portions of the gilding still visible:

http://granderjoyofspirit.blogspot.c...t-of-mike.html

best to all! Mona
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Old 02-08-13, 07:32 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Hi Mona,

Sorry to hear about your health challenges )-: Hope you are all set with surgeries for a while and are back to the easel.

I've tried shellac over gold leaf a couple of times and it worked well (in my limited experience). I believe it is better to use less shellac than more...less yellowing, less brittleness, etc. I've had luck varnishing with a 1 part shellac to 6 parts denatured alcohol. I've also tried ratios of 1:8, even 1:12 - they can work okay as isolating layers, but tend to be insufficient coverage as a varnish. You want enough shellac to get a consistent finish on the surface, so if your ground is especially absorbent, you might need a richer mix...it all depends on your surface.

In short, its best to practice before you apply it to a treasured piece of art, to make sure you have the right ratio to achieve your goals (i.e. either to isolate paint layers, in which case you need a lesser percentage of shellac; or to varnish a surface, in which case you might need a higher percentage of shellac). As you know, it sets up quickly and shouldn't be reworked. I know you already know all this, but I want to be clear with anyone reading this for whom shellac varnishing is new - please practice first!

Koo
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Old 03-08-13, 06:01 PM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Renaissance was as a protective coating over egg tempera and gold leaf surfaces

Thanks for the good wishes Koo, and for your thoughts on the shellac. Caution is always advisable whenever possible, yes. :-)

happy painting, Mona
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