Varnishing Your Painting and Finding Your Style


Summer is in full swing and my schedule has never been crazier! I have been super inspired by all of the creative souls down at the Sawdust Art Festival, including so many of my coworkers and visitors as well! I highly recommend visiting if you haven't yet, it's truly a unique and wonderful experience. 

All of this creativity surrounding me encouraged me to pursue and challenge the reveal of my painting style. 

 The Garden Party series proved to be key in experimentation of palette, texture, and subject. I will continue this style in paintings to come! I feel as though it is true to who I am as an artist, and feel that each piece is a representation of my personality, intellect, and soul. 

Now onto my varnishing technique...

I'm still pretty new to the addition of varnishing to my artistic process, but ever since my transition to acrylic from oil I longed for the sheen and finish quality that acrylic seems to fall short of. (Note: It is advised to NEVER varnish an oil painting)

You Will Need: 

Soft Gloss Gel

Gloss or Matte Varnish (I prefer Gloss)

A Varnish Brush (CLEAN!!!)

A Soft Gel Brush (Gesso Brush works fine)

A dusting towl


A glass bowl

Step 1: Prep your work zone and collect materials so they're at the ready. Place your canvas or panel on a flat surface so it's facing up and all areas can be reached. 

Step 2: Dust off your acrylic painting with dusting cloth. This prevents cloudiness in your gloss finish.

Step 3: Apply water and soft gloss mixture to your canvas in long, even strokes. This is called your "isolation coat," and separates your paints from the varnish, just in case it causes a tint, or if it's ever removed in the future. Your painting is safe! Allow to dry about 1-2 hours. 

Step 4: Apply varnish with clean varnish brush and clean glass bowl using long, even strokes. Be careful not to drag dried or tacky varnish with your brush. Allow to dry before going over areas you may have missed the first time. Allow to dry for 2 hours. 

Step 5: This step is optional, but while I wait for the varnish to dry I go around the edges of my canvas with gesso and a small brush to clean up any paint or varnish or soft gel that may have ended up on the sides of the canvas. 

Step 6: Enjoy a beautiful, protected, saturated, and oil-painting like effect on your acrylic painting! 



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