A very distressing varnish problem (advice?)

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  1. #1
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    A very distressing varnish problem (advice?)

    Windsor Newton Artist's Re-touch varnish, actually. I'm in my last week of prep work for a show and was applying retouch varnish to my paintings earlier tonight. I noticed a few paintings (about five I think) were resisting the retouch in some areas. It's very strange, like the retouch will not coat certain spots. It brushes on, then crawls back. The spots are very small but still very noticable, especially if it's all over the painting. I can't figure out why this is happening. One affected painting has been sitting untouched and drying for some months, so it can't be that the paint is too wet. I've never experienced this before and can't figure out how to fix it. Recoating once the first layer is dry doesn't seem to do any good. I've also tried a new bottle of retouch, same problem.

    Anybody have any ideas?

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  3. #2
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    Dave

    I believe this was discussed in this thread, (starting in post 17)

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...hlight=varnish

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    Hi Dave,

    Not sure how relevant this will be to you, but I thought I'd reply just in case I happen to say anything useful. Firstly, I empathise with your problem, I had something similar happen last year and I found the whole experience incredibly frustrating. I attempted to glaze a painting but found that the glaze began 'beading' on the surface, and would not provide coverage over the underlying paint. It was really bizarre because the glaze would 'stick' in certain areas and not others, I ended up having to take it all back off which was a painful process. Daler-Rowney made the glaze I'd used, so I contacted them and asked for advice. Here's part of the reply I received:

    "For the solvent based Painting Medium to "ciss" (ball up) there must be some contamination on the surface of the painting or within the mix (or on the brush). You are right when you describe the effect as like oil and water mixing - this is an effect created from two incompatible mediums.

    It is of course, difficult to determine the reason for the problem by e-mail. We can certainly eliminate some of the variables by testing the Medium and Oils (or the surface if practicable) in our laboratory.

    I hope we can be of some help."

    I realise you're pushed for time, but before potentially destroying a painting with a dodgy varnish, perhaps it'd be worth getting the surface tested, or making absolutely sure all your varnish brushes are free of any contamination etc

    For your reference, I have uploaded a photograph that shows the problem I had:
    http://www.j-k.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/...ze_Problem.jpg

    Best of luck, I hope you get it sorted.

    John

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    This has happened to me on occasion when using resins in my medium, but not while varnishing. The resin can't grab hold of a spot of dried oil that's too slick. The solution was to rub a sliced white onion or garlic on that spot, let it dry, and continue painting. There's a mild acid in the juice that breaks up the surface but doesn't harm the paint. You might give that a try.

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    Thanks for the help. I also got some info from WN about this and I'm surprised how many people have experienced this, and even more surprised that none of the reasons given for the problem quite satisfy me (based on which paintings experienced the beadings vs. how long they've been drying and if I used any medium while painting them). Reasons don't really matter though, being as what I really was needing was a solution. Thanks to all the various advice, I think I've got it under control. Thanks again. I was having a really bad day yesterday, I feel much better now

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    Dave, let us know if your solution works! I know I would be a wreck in your shoes. I hope everything turns out all right.

    Onion and garlic? lol! Cool.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

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    Could it be a brand specific issue? I've been using Grumbacher damar varnish and haven't experienced any of these problems... but that's just my own personal experience. I'd be interested to hear if other people have this problem with different varnishes.

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    Dave, let us know if your solution works! I know I would be a wreck in your shoes. I hope everything turns out all right.
    well let me tell you, I was a wreck last night!

    I was going to try the onion trick this morning (such a state was I in!) but decided first to see what a little gentle cleaning would do. I took a clean glass with fresh clean turp (must be and stay crystal clear, I changed turps once or twice to keep it clean) and just barely wet the tip of a large varnishing brush and lightly brushed over the offending areas, trying to keep it even and my edges soft ("blending" or fading out). I would do this on each painting, then go check the first and continue in multiple gentle coats and eventually the resisting areas all filled in. I think this worked because the turps would ever so slightly break down the retouch and let it slowly build onto the areas of resistance. Most of the painting surface (all but the dots of resistance) was protected by the retouch, so I wasn't too worried about damaging my surface (once I had tested it on my least favorite piece). Once they looked fairly even, I put on a new thin coat of retouch. Final result, I can't even see where the problem areas were.

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    Hey Dave, sorry not to get to this sooner, but what you did is exactly what I would have suggested. Glad everything worked out!


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    Dave, it's been a looooooong time since I worked in oils, but the ultra-hard slick spots not accepting the varnish sounds about right.

    There is one other cause for this type of thing that's more common than you think, and it's caused by household products being used in the area...

    SILICON. It's used in furniture sprays, lubricants, some "waxes" and other crud. It's a big problem with carpenters who produce high end furniture. The silicon gets on the surface of the wood through air drift, and once it's in place, the surface refuses to take stains, varnishes, dyes, you-name-it. It's incredibly difficult to correct. It can get on paintings if someone uses a Pledge-like product in the room that contains silicon while they're cleaning. It hangs in the air for a whil and ultimately settles...onto your work if it's in the air-flow path. It also occurs in painting after some casting operations when silicon has been used as a mold-release.

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    i wouldn't have known how to fix this dave, but i'm glad you got it solved.
    i would've hated to hear one of your pieces was ruined!

    sigh of relief

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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo
    Final result, I can't even see where the problem areas were.
    *big sigh of relief* :-)

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    It's good to hear that you worked out a solution, Dave. Sometimes resins will stick if you just keep pushing them. I didn't want to suggest that method for varnishing since getting a smooth application is important, but sounds like you worked it out well.

    Good luck with your show also.

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