How to remove damar varnish from an oil painting

By Kazrajind | 06.07.2020

how to remove damar varnish from an oil painting

Cold Wax Medium comparison

Video demonstration of Oiling out an oil painting using Galkyd and Gamsol – Gamblin. 2. Apply a Re-touch varnish – Re-touch varnish is a standard Dammar varnish that has been diluted with Turpentine by the manufacturer. It can be used during the course of a painting and as a temporary picture varnish to restore colours and add an even sheen to your painting yet still allow the oil to dry. Uses. Dammar varnish, made from dammar gum dissolved in turpentine, was introduced as a picture varnish in ; commonly used in oil painting, both during the painting process and after the painting is finished. Dammar varnish and similar gum varnishes auto-oxidize and yellow over a relatively short time regardless of storage method; this effect is more pronounced on artwork stored in.

Article - May 8, This article was inspired by a question from Brian. He what are the qualities of an outstanding teacher I recently watched a woodworking show on TV. The cabinet maker used a mixture of linseed oil, tung oil, and polyurethane for the finish. He stated that he bought it off of the shelf. Do you know of any product like this, or do I have to mix it myself? If I have to mix it, what is the ratio?

You can buy things like boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits in large gallon jugs, and then purchase the varnish as needed. I think its better to have a varnish component in the mixture for extra durability, unless you truly want an oil-only finish. Another advantage to mixing your own home brew is the fact that you will have total control over the finishes properties. Want a more close to the wood look and feel? Add more oil.

Want more protection? Add more varnish. Want to make the finish easier to spread around the surface? Add more thinner. And for more information on oil-based finishes, check out our video: Oil-Based Finish How to find peace in god. The Wood Whisperer is proudly sponsored by brands that Marc trusts. Thank you for making this possible. All rights reserved.

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Free to try

In an Oil painting initially, it is the oil that gives the glossy effect, however, over time as the oil dries out it is actually the varnish that gives the sheen. Different finishes of the same brand can usually be intermixed within each product type or used sequentially, to achieve any desired level of gloss. Zest-it® Damar Picture Varnish: Zest-it® Damar Picture Varnish. The Damar Picture Varnish is made from Zest-it and Gum Damar crystals, dries to a tough, clear, flexible film with a Gloss finish. Use as a final varnish to a dried oil painting, can also be mixed with Clear Painting Medium for faster drying. Apply in thin coats. Use 25% wax medium with 75% oil color for brush painting and 50% wax medium with 50% oil color for knife techniques. Ralph Mayer recommends this recipe for a good all-purpose glaze and oil-painting medium: Damar varnish (5-pound cut) - 1 fluid ounce Stand oil - 1 fluid ounch Pure gum turpentine - 5 fluid ounces Cobalt drier - about 15 drops”.

Not only can it really bring up the vibrancy and richness in your realist paintings but it offers protection for the painted surface from atmospheric effects to make the surface easier to clean in the future. No One technique for varnishing suits every situation — the texture of the paint surface, whether you want a matte or gloss finish, speed of completion etc.. So if you work in very thin layers it dries a lot quicker than if you work impasto with thicker blobs of paint.

Earth colours such as Raw umber dry a lot quicker. Pro tip: Some brands of student quality oil paints contain driers in their slower drying pigments in order to bring the drying times closer together. Drying rates tend to average out as colours are almost always mixed on the palette, so the drying times tend to equalise to a great degree. Traditional oil paints dry by oxidization, when the oil reacts with oxygen in the air. The pigments in oil paints are dispersed in oil, which may itself be dissolved in a solvent and that solvent evaporates away when the paint dries.

This leaves the pigment and oil behind. If you have very thin paint application with earth colours, an oil painting can be touch dry within a day or two for a thicker painting with other pigments it may take 10 — 14 days. If you have very thin paint application with earth colours, an oil painting can be fully dry within a couple of months but for a thicker painting, it may take 6 months or as long as 2 years.

There are some modern synthetic varnishes that are now being manufactured that have the benefit of allowing the oxidation process to take place through a permeable varnish layer applied to a touch dry oil painting. The worst that could happen would be that your varnish layer would crack as the paints contracts as it dries, however, this would really only be most apparent if you painted with a very thick application of paint.

Once the oil paint is dry enough then you can apply the varnish directly to the painting surface. On an acrylic painting, this differs as the isolation coat adds a much-needed sheet of thin protection over the paint surface. They are a lovely Golden colour and as such, give a rich glossy and enamel-like appearance. However, they are susceptible to cracking, extensive yellowing and become increasingly difficult to remove from painting over time.

Hard varnishes do not redissolve in a solvent such as Mineral Spirits or Turpentine. They must be dissolved in hot oil which can get a tad complicated! True hard Copal and Amber varnishes are rare in the world today, some specialist manufacturers still offer unique historically-accurate painting varnishes if you want to go completely old school.

Dammar can be spelt Damar and Mastic varnishes are referred to as soft varnishes , they dissolve in solvents such as Turpentine and Mineral spirits. This means soft varnishes are still removable from an oil painting surface without greatly affecting the paint layers below.

Pro-tip: To dilute the Dammar varnish you ideally need to use Turpentine which is better suited to a well ventilated separate studio space, rather than a ventilated room in a home. Dammar varnish comes from tree resin and is paler than Copal but has great viscosity and is still used commonly in oil painting today, the visual aesthetic look of Dammar has a luscious quality to it similar to the historical hard varnishes. Pro tip: I often use Dammar in the final layers of an oil painting as part of the glazing medium because it really goes on so nicely and has a nice translucent quality when you first apply it.

The advantage of using the Dammar varnish in the final glaze helps to make the medium leaner than if we just used Linseed Oil. It also saturates the colour a lot more than if we just used Turpentine or Mineral Spirits to dilute the paint consistency.

Because we mix the Dammar varnish with Linseed Oil in the glaze medium, the flexibility of the Linseed Oil balances out the brittleness of the Dammar varnish. I use the choice of varnish as an aesthetic judgement, it might not be as technically sound as keeping a crystal clear finish that the synthetic varnish would give but I just like it. I usually apply Dammar varnish to smaller paintings as it can go very tacky, very quickly and is harder to control with a brush.

A clear coat on the first application that stays clear over time, therefore non-yellowing and more flexible. They are available in liquid or aerosol form, are readily available and cost-effective and they come in a variety of sheens, such as matte, satin or gloss. Alkyd Synthetic Resins such as Schmincke Picture Varnish provides a glossy, non-yellowing, colourless, highly resistant topcoat.

Must be applied after months. Some recent varnishes also have the great advantage of being able to be applied when the painting is just touch dry — rather than waiting for the painting to be fully cured. Sponge application can also give a smooth finish and enable you to keep your materials super clean by using the sponge once and then throwing it away. Gamvar saturates and gives greater depth to the colors in your painting and gives your work a unified and protective semi-gloss surface.

Developed in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art, Gamvar goes on water-clear, stays water-clear and can be easily and safely removed with Gamsol. Gamvar is virtually odorless and ready to apply. Gamvar can be applied when the thickest areas of your painting are thoroughly dry and firm to the touch. The greatest advantage of the Gamvar varnish is the ability to apply it when the painting is touch dry.

This is a revelation when varnishing an Oil. Sometimes you can find areas of your painting that have turned dull, matte and lighter in colour, even though surrounding areas are still glossy and rich. This is where the oil from the paint has soaked into an absorbent ground and left just the pigment on the canvas surface. Too much solvent or Turpentine in the paint mix 2. A cheap Gesso, a too absorbent or an unevenly absorbent ground.

The two options you have to restore an uneven sheen to your painting before final picture varnishing are:. The painting must be touch dry and then you can apply the oil with a clean, lint-free rag or paint on with a soft brush and then remove most of it with a rag.

Apply a Re-touch varnish — Re-touch varnish is a standard Dammar varnish that has been diluted with Turpentine by the manufacturer. It can be used during the course of a painting and as a temporary picture varnish to restore colours and add an even sheen to your painting yet still allow the oil to dry fully.

For oil painting, the matting agent that is usually added to the gloss varnish is a wax. You can mix in different quantities of wax to change the sheen of your varnish. You can also apply Cold Wax Medium straight to your painting and then buff it up with a rag and this will give you a very slight lustre to your finished work. This can be easier to apply than using a brush with Dammar or Synthetic varnishes as the product is in a wax form — similar to adding wax polish to a table.

However, for realist paintings when you are trying to bring out colours and form in your work, the matte varnish will dull, desaturate and flatten out the three-dimensional effect and colours of the painting. For example, MSA varnish needs to be diluted with Turpentine before applying and if using a brush application is best applied with a few thin coats.

When using a spray varnish if you work in several layers, you can judge the sheen and increase the gloss level the more coats you apply. A sprayed coat of varnish will dry within 10 minutes and subsequent coats can then be applied, always allow the previous coat to dry first. Warm the canvas next to the radiator to make sure there is no water in the canvas to prevent blooming. Pour out some varnish into a shallow dish. It is easier to control the amount of varnish on your brush this way.

You need to work quickly but gently — Apply in long even strokes to cover the surface top to bottom while moving from one side to the other. Work side to side , left to right, slightly overlapping each stroke — you are aiming to have no visible brush-marks.

Once you leave an area, do not go back over areas that you have done. If you do, you risk dragging partially dry resin into wet, which will dry cloudy over dark colours. If you missed any areas, allow to dry completely and re-varnish. After varnishing. I often cover my painting with a board slightly larger than the canvas, resting it on props so it hovers and reduces the amount of dust that could fall on the wet varnish layer.

Alternatively, with large canvass I will prop them facing a wall when the varnish is semi-dry. How to apply a varnish to an Acrylic Painting. Really useful and so kind of you to down load it for free. Cheers, Carol. Great informative post as usual. It would be great to see an expansion of the oil painting section.

Any future plans? Thanks for latest email — packed with useful information as usual. Any and all info on oil painting is most welcome. Will, thank you for your information, I enjoy reading and learning. I sit and study what it was looking like and could see things that I could improve on. I picked you out on u- tube, and have learned some things there that helped. I would like to send you my picture and get a opinion.

I want him to be perfect. Thank you again, Melva. I always take pleasure in reading every detail of yo lessons and approaches this has provided a room for tremendous improvement in the way l exhibit my art works. Thanks for the info Steven, I took art classes at the local museum art studio 2 years ago, the instructor only referred me to the Golden Varnish, which was good, however difficult to work with.

The range of varnishes you told us about is wonderful. Thank you again. Thank you very much for the informations, I am usually shy to leave comments or ask a questions but I follow to your website and I found it very helpful.

Hi Will, Thank you so much!! I Love this! I think I missed something. How much if so? I would like so to use this Soft Traditional Natural Varnish. It says just to warm. Also, would I dilute a copal picture varnish brilliant gloss?

It seems fairly thick. I would like so to use this too as I have! Just one more. Do you know of any use for this without the Cracking Varnish?

2 thoughts on “How to remove damar varnish from an oil painting

  1. Gardami

    You would want more RAM certainly, though a better GPU and CPU would also help a lot.


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