Varnishing oil paintings

To varnish or not to varnish, that is the question!

When we’ve finished painting your portrait or art reproduction we don’t normally varnish the painting as a painting needs to be completely dry before applying varnish and an oil painting usually takes 6 months to dry. So after 6 months should you varnish it, is it even important?

Well, varnish protects a painting from dirt, dust and pollution in the air, so it probably is a good idea to apply varnish to your painting. There are different types of varnish you can buy from art shops, such a matte or glossy varnish. The difference between the two is that a glossy varnish when it dries,  dries completely clear while matte varnishes leave a slightly frosted glass appearance, so it depends on the look you’re after.

I need to reiterate that you need to leave a good 6 months before you varnish your painting, if the canvas is still wet and you apply the varnish, there’s a good probability that your painting will crack.

By the way, in case you’re wondering how to varnish a painting, luckily, there is a really simply solution!  You can actually buy a varnishing spray & simply spray a layer of varnish across the whole painting. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

One Response to “Varnishing oil paintings”

  1. Michael says:

    Great suggestion on using a simple spray varnish! I’ve always done the brush-on technique and, no matter how good the brush, then spent time painfully searching out and removing the one errant brush hair that always seems to get lodged into the varnish. Next time I’m going with the spray for sure!

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