This morning I set out to vanish the oil paintings I thought were dry. Here is the set up in the sun room adjoining my studio. I’m using Gamblin’s Gamvar picture varnish with a touch of Gamsol in it to make the varnish less glossy.
I tested each painting to see if it was dry to the pressure of a finger nail and they all seemed to be.
You can see the difference in the unvarnished painting ‘Before varnishing’ and the one that has the varnish brushed on it ‘Wet varnish’. It will not be as glossy when it is dry as I added a tiny bit of Gamsol to it to make it less glossy and more satin.
All went well on the paintings that I finished mid-September. I then brushed varnish on one of the paintings I did in the beginning of November. This one was one of the ones I did last, so it should be the least dry. Things went well and the varnish and paint seemed to be doing what they should. I thought all the paintings were dry and ready. I was expecting to get these varnished, soon to dry and then to ship off to my Kickstarter patrons at that level.
But on, no, that was not to be. I started varnishing the second one, which had just passed the finger nail dryness test when I noticed things turning cloudy. And it was the clouds. The varnish was lifting off the sky – blue and white paint were being removed and spread on the rest of the painting. Dag nab it (well that wasn’t exactly what I said.)
You can see in the top of these two paintings where the under-painting is exposed and the sky and background are removed. Also the rag has some of the paint from the painting on it. Now I will wait for the varnish to dry a bit and try to repair the areas with bare canvas. Oh, I am very sad about this but it also recalls the old adage: Patience is a virtue. Fortunately I have a resilient spirit and am already recovered and ready to fix what went wrong.