Varnishing or Sealing?

If you are the type of artist who likes to paint in watercolors on an alternate support as clay board or watercolor canvas, you have two options to choose from: either you frame behind glass as with a traditional watercolor, implementing the same safety measures and that is the painting itself does not come into direct contact with the glass and that there is a space between the artwork and the glass or you seal your work and frame as an oil or acrylic painting. Since the paint lifts so easily off of these surfaces, for me, this is the safest sealing and varnishing.

The advantage of the first one is that, if you paint in large surfaces, a matted painting framed behind glass can be expensive to pay for and a heavy one to hang on your wall. As what other artists claiming, paintings on the larger sized watercolor canvas sealed and varnished sell much better since they are easier to frame and the frames are lighter without the glass. There is a school of thought that also accepts the truth that oils sells as higher prices as than watercolors. Probably it’s the long tradition of oil painting that adds a certain glass. Victorian watercolorists took great pains using body color and gum Arabic to intensify a painting, this way it will appear like an oil to be able to get higher prices for their work. As for me, I looked at framing without glass as means to transport works easier for shows, to say nothing of it being safer.

I try using many different techniques to come up with a sealing method that I prefer to use now. I like a glossy finish, so the products I mention are all about accomplishing this goal. For clay board and canvas paintings, let’s start with the clay board fixative. I suggest that you use three coats, don’t’ forget to allow enough time to make it dry in application of each layer, and then use the Krylon Triple-Thick Clear Glaze (one coat of this product is equal to three coats of other clear acrylic fixative). Apply at least two coats until you achieve the finish you want. And to complete the process, I usually spray six thin layer of UV resistant varnish. However, when doing this, you should keep in mind some reminders: first, big space (make sure you have one); make sure nothing is near by that may get even a little of the spray; if you have a glasses, you may want to take them off; and make sure the room is well-ventilated.

Another technique is recommended by Golden for varnishing acrylics. In this technique it requires an isolation layer so that this layer would protect the acrylic. Use Golden soft gel for the isolation layer. Mix two parts gel to one part water and brush it on. I usually apply this layer onto watercolor canvas. Despite the glossy finish, it wasn’t as glossy as I liked, but maybe if you’re looking for more of a matte finish, you may appreciate the look. I didn’t like applying this with a brush either. The mix is quite watery and brushes easily, but I preferred spraying. This layer is followed up by the MSA Archival Varnish. For prints, this is up to eight thin layers. I do at least six coats for paintings and prints. It’s an easy precaution to protect your work.

I already tried these two techniques using watercolors on paper. I set up the work on mat board before I start. The good thing about this is that you will get really good looking product after you finished the process. The gloss finish will make it more attracting and the abstract painting looks created from a watercolor when the paints were first applies, juicy and wet.

Like this article? You may also check out our site for contemporary paintings. We have several abstract paintings you can choose from including their price.

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