Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Magic of Varnish

Since I have been oil painting but a few years, I really haven't painted anything that I wanted to save except maybe one or two paintings over the years. Then, late last year and this year I have come more and more into my own style, one that I like and have created paintings I want to keep (as opposed to scraping over and reusing the canvas), or worse thrown away.

I have given several paintings away and sold a couple and warned the individuals that they will have to bring them back so I can varnish them. And to tell you the truth, until I did, they were meaningless expressions heard from teachers.

Wednesday I finally varnished a few paintings. I have several for sale on and it was time to protect them in case they were sold plus several others. After the first painting was coated I was stunned. The shiny and dull layers, strokes and paint that didn't seem to mean much suddenly came into focus and the paintings seemed to come to life! I was stunned.

My first waterlily painting, one of my favorites, had become rather dull and in effect lifeless when it was brought over to be varnished. I even doubted that this was really worth having. Where had that beautiful painting gone? After the first strokes of the varnish, the water seemed to come to life with a depth that the original strokes tried to achieve. Suddenly, there they were. The proud owner stood back and said, "Look at the water! It shimmers." The entire painting shimmered and looked again much like it did when it was painted. In fact, it looked better.

So, if you are a painter, of any media, I would encourage you to protect them. You will be surprised at just how amazing they will look at the moment you seal them and for the years they will be hung on the walls. It was an important moment for me!

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