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Varnishing acrylics

Posted By MargaretBeynon 4 Months Ago
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MargaretBeynon
Posted 4 Months Ago
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I know very little about acrylics and I've only just started using them.  What I wondered was, do they have to be varnished? If so what would you recommend I use.  So far I'm liking them a lot but I've only painted three so far😀so I have a long way to go yet!  Any advice would be helpful. 

Margaret Beynon


Lesley Hardy
Posted 4 Months Ago
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The advise I have from here on the forum was that acrylics don't need to be varnished, but I found it brightens the colour. And seems to somehow gives them that finishing look. If you know what I mean... I used liquitex professional gloss medium and varnish.. it's a little expensive but is well worth it. I've also used liquitex soluvar gloss varnish for both acrylics and oils.. I only put a thin watered down layer on. It seems to work for me... I m sure someone with more knowledge will add variation to this.....

Lesley hardy
SylviaEvans
Posted 4 Months Ago
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Yes varnishing an acrylic painting will enhance the colour. There are various brands , I use a Winsor and Newton artist varnish. There is a matte varnish as well if you don’t want it too shiny. It’s all personal preverance. Plus if your painting is varnished it helps to keep it clean and free from dust etc as you can easily lightly brush it or even sponge it.

Sylvia.
MargaretBeynon
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Many thanks Lesley and Sylvia for your replies. Of course, as yet, I don't think my paintings merit being varnished but come the day when I create the masterpiece I will be ready😂😂😂

Margaret Beynon


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Margaret, I read your title as “vanishing acrylics “ initially and thought eh?! That’s a whole different ball game. Your acrylics are looking good. I don’t always varnish my oils because I just don’t think of it, but must admit they do look quite different, and perhaps more finished, so I assume acrylics would look the same.
TonyAuffret
Posted 4 Months Ago
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From the point of view of protecting the painting, I am not convinced that varnishing is of any great benefit.  I have been dabbling in acrylics, on and off, for about 40 years and never felt the need to varnish.  In fact I think one of the reasons I took them up is reading some-where, way back when, that they didn't need varnishing as nothing short of sandpaper would damage the surface.  I haven't tried the sandpaper yet but my unvarnished efforts seem to have stood the test of time.  I am intrigued about 'enhancing the colour' and having won a can of acrylic spray varnish from 'The Artist' I may well give it a go.  It's the sort of thing that if it works for you do it, it it doesn't, there's no harm done.
RobertJones
Posted 4 Months Ago
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Depends on what surface you've painted them on - acrylic on watercolour paper benefits from being framed under glass, but not necessarily varnishing.  Acrylics on canvas or board - well; there are several schools of thought.   One is that acrylic paint can get dirty over time, and when it does is hard to clean: the surface is rather softer and more porous than you might think. although that varies between brands; so dirt can sink in.  And another is that, frankly, if the paint does get dirty, you can clean it with water and even a bit of soap.....  as I've done, and it worked.

Even so, I usually varnish, using an acrylic or removable varnish depending on what I happen to have available.  This is on the 'better safe than sorry' principle.  Matte varnish doesn't do a lot for the colours, but a gloss varnish will - and you can control the degree of gloss by adding just one coat instead of two.

There's a lot of information on Will Kemp's website which you will find useful.  He uses Golden Acrylics, I think - and uses an 'isolation coat' before applying the varnish: so it can get quite complicated, the deeper you look. 
SylviaEvans
Posted 4 Months Ago
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Oh Margaret varnish them now just to see the difference. Tony varnish does enhance the colour tremendously, it makes it almost glow for want of better terminology. If you put a water colour under glass it seems to give an extra dimension which is exactly what varnish does with an acrylic . Not sure about spray varnish it would be good if you have an opinion when you try it. A great varnisher of our time was the lovely Kyffin Williams he possibly over varnished on occasion .

Sylvia.
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4 Months Ago by SylviaEvans
EllenM
Posted 4 Months Ago
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Margaret, I do both. If they’re on paper I do as Robert said....I frame under glass. If they’re on stretched canvas or canvas on board, I put a thin coat of Daler Rowney acrylic gloss varnish on. I agree with Sylvia, it makes the colours seem sharper somehow if you varnish.
From what I’ve seen of your acrylic paintings on the gallery, I think they’re brilliant for saying you’ve just started using them. Keep going. So pleased you’re enjoying them.

Ellen
MargaretBeynon
Posted 4 Months Ago
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Thanks Sylvia, I will definitely get some varnish when I order some more goodies!

Ellen, I appreciate very much what you have said about my acrylic work, I have now taken over the whole of our dining table with my paraphernalia and as we live in a small cottage.....well you can imagine😀  This painting lark needs lots of room!  I think we need a bigger house or a shed in the garden like Sylvia!!!! 

Margaret Beynon


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You can find satin varnish as well as the gloss and matte,   I have noticed that there is be a fashion for highly glossed canvases in commercial galleries.  But suck it and see (not literally)!
SandraKennedy
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Loving your acrylic paintings Margaret. I too would recommend varnish as it does seem to brighten up the colours. And satin is a good compromise if you don't want too glossy an effect. And yes the paraphernalia does tend to take over!
JenEdwards
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I use a crystal clear uva spray varnish on my acrylics, and I have to agree it makes the colours pop. It also protects them from dirt and sun damage should they be placed anywhere where the sun should shine on them daily. Spraying is also a billion times easier than brushing to varnish, as you don't get any brush marks in it, it goes on smooth and even.

Jen


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