Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Thanked 13 Times in 3 Posts

    When to varnish an oil painting?

    I mean how long do you guys usually wait berfore applying varnish to your oil paintings. I read from some leaflet of a painting medium manufacturer that I got from my local art store that you should wait at least a year?! And for retouching varnish, which can be used as a quick first varnish at least 3 months..

    Really that long? I mean It's ok, but I'd hate to go around the houses of anyone who has bought a painting from me just to varnish them years from the making..

    I've also read that you could use retouching varnish for this when the painting is just touch dry? Any truth in that? At least it would even the glossines throughout the painting right away while not protecting like final varnish.
    Last edited by Jazam; June 1st, 2007 at 09:53 AM.
    On the way to atelier:Jazam's sketchbook

  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Thanked 225 Times in 153 Posts
    It depends. Not everyone paints the same way, using the same material, or under the same conditions. Then again, some people say they never bother varnishing at all, or use permanent resins (copal) within the painting itself, which brings up other concerns. The reasons for varnishing are to offer protection to the paint surface, balance out the sheen, and make it easier to care for. Having a varnish that is removable is a good idea, as well, if that surface needs replacing over time for any reason.

    Yes, you can use a retouch varnish when the paint is dry to touch. The standard recommended wait time there is about 1 week. The amount of resin to solvent content is low enough in retouch to allow the oil to still cure, which is why you don't want to do a final varnish too soon. If you have a client waiting or show coming soon, using retouch is a good option in the short term.

    As for how long before a final varnish, it varies. The oil surface should have enough time to cure completely, and some can be completely dry in 3-4 months. It depends on how you paint or with what type of medium (maybe alkyds for example.) The recommended wait time is 6 months minimum for a "typical" oil painting, whatever that may be. If you paint very heavily, wait up to a year. I write dates on the back of the work to help keep track of this.
    David B. Clemons

Similar Threads

  1. remove varnish from oil painting?
    By painterpat in forum Art Discussions
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: July 18th, 2011, 10:05 PM
  2. liquin and retouch varnish
    By noche in forum Art Discussions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: September 5th, 2009, 09:44 PM
  3. Art: Oil Painting; polyurethane varnish?
    By MarkDN in forum Fine Art
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: November 23rd, 2005, 12:56 PM
  4. Art: retouch varnish do's or don'ts
    By loomer in forum Fine Art
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: August 12th, 2005, 07:43 PM
  5. Oil painting "varnish" when? + making own board?
    By nick reynolds in forum ART TUTORIALS, ART TIPS & ART TRICKS - ARCHIVE
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: April 26th, 2004, 02:58 PM

Members who have read this thread: 1


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Designed by The Coldest Water, we build the coldest best water bottles, ice packs and best pillows.