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Old 10-14-2004, 10:37 PM   #21
Terri Ficenec Terri Ficenec is offline
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Hi Michele, thanks so much! I didn't see a 'contact us' or email link on Gamblin's web site. But, I did find this:
"...Like damar, Gamvar has a high shine. To make Gamvar less shiny, dilute with up to 50% OMS. Also painters can make a matting agent from 2 fl oz of Gamsol OMS and 1 teaspoon of Cold Wax Medium. Dissolve the wax completely in Gamsol. Add this in place of a percentage of OMS to make Gamvar more matte.

..."

so I'm thinking that the reason my varnish is looking so milky is that maybe I've just got way too much Bee's Wax in there. I'm going to mix up a new batch using a teaspoon and some OMS rather than 2 tablespoons, and see if that looks better. I'm afraid that with as much wax as is in this batch, my darks would look streaky.

I should've majored in chemistry, my 'studio' is starting to look like a lab!
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Old 10-14-2004, 11:14 PM   #22
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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There is a contact e-mail on the Gamblin site, though it took me a while to find it the other day.

I found that cutting the Gamvar with OMS was just as satisfactory, at producing a more matte finish, as using the wax. However the varnish/OMS mixture is probably not as effective as protecting the surface as a varnish/wax mix would be.
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Old 01-06-2005, 09:26 AM   #23
Cindy Procious Cindy Procious is offline
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Yoo hooo, Mike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McCarty
I have recently read strong recommendations for Gamvar. One from Marvin M. and one from Chris S. I think Sharon N. mentioned it also.

I am on the verge of varnishing several paintings. My last experience with Damar has put me completely off varnishing. Can anyone advise as to whether Gamvar gives a shiny or matte finish?

Also, I understand that Gamvar comes in a crystal form, can any all thumbed scientist make this work?
I'm quoting a post from 2003 I think, but I wanted to ask you, if I might... What was your negative experience with Damar, and have you taken up varnishing again, given the strings of advice?

I have an old commission on my easel (delivered to me yesterday) to be varnished, so I was reading up on the latest.
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:29 AM   #24
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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Cindy,

If I remember correctly my experiences with Damar probably had as much to do with my inexperience in application as with the product itself. I found that it would puddle up in places and was too shinny for my taste. The whole subject of varnish is a frightening one to me.

Because I like the finished look, and because I am so reluctant to change what seems to be working, I am now using a mixture of liquitex soluvar matte and glossy finish.

The mixture (tragedy), which includes cinnamon, sugar, turpentine, along with a cameo from Linda Brandon appearing as Ophelia (or was it Desdemona), can be found in the following thread:

http://forum.portraitartist.com/showthread.php?t=2895

Others have stronger views on the subject. I am no chemist, I don't enjoy diddling with these matters. I tend to park on something that works and turn off key.
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:49 AM   #25
Cindy Procious Cindy Procious is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McCarty
Others have stronger views on the subject. I am no chemist, I don't enjoy diddling with these matters. I tend to park on something that works and turn off key.
I can totally relate to that.

I have never varnished, so I will definitely be practicing on my own pieces. Practice or no, it seems such a shame to risk ruining something on which I worked so hard (and would have to replace for free should I actually succeed in ruining it!) so I am very reluctant to get started on this aspect of oil painting.

Not to mention the fact that its framed, and I can't remove the painting from its prison. So, does one normally varnish in the frame? Employ taping or masking to protect the frame?

Thanks for the link, O Claudius, (or would that be Iago?) - I shall check it out forthwith, ere I err.
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Old 01-06-2005, 10:59 AM   #26
Cindy Procious Cindy Procious is offline
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Cry pardon, sir. You were surely victim, not villian!

O fate, thy sweet pastry cast a pall. What of thy painting, sir?
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:05 AM   #27
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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I'm no chemist either, nor do I like taking risks with important paintings. So I use the varnish that the National Gallery uses: Gamvar, by Gamblin. Easy, simple, looks great. (Hey, that ought to be a tv commercial!)

Damar varnish yellows dramatically over time and because it needs strong solvents when conservators try to remove it, sometimes a bit of the top layer of paint comes off with it. (You can see some before and after varnish removal pictures on some museum websites.) I try to stay away from it, even retouch varnish made with Damar.

With Gamvar, if you make a terrible mess of it (though I don't see how) you can take it all off with a more gentle solvent like odorless mineral spirits. Gamvar is glossy but it's easy to cut that glossiness by thinning the varnish with mineral sprits when you put it on, or with Gamblin Cold Wax medium in whatever proportion you like, to get a less glossy surface if that's your preference.

I always take the paintings out of the frames before varnishing, and wait til the varnish is very dry before putting the frames back on.
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:09 AM   #28
Cindy Procious Cindy Procious is offline
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Thanks Michele. Looks like a trip to Utrecht (in the snow & freezing rain!) is in order.

I was afraid you were going to say you take the paintings out of the frames. The framers put the brown paper on the back! Grrr. Now I guess I need to get an exacto and remove that paper. Or - this just occurred to me - I have a great relationship with the framers that did this job - maybe I can have THEM remove the painting!

So, it is the usual custom to remove the painting, then? Does noone varnish in the frame?

Oh - and one more question (sorry to be a pest) - how long usually is that "fully dry" drying time?
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Old 01-06-2005, 11:51 AM   #29
Mike McCarty Mike McCarty is offline
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I could never muster the courage to completely strip the painting of the varnish and begin again. Luckily the painting was mine. If you look directly at it you can't detect the offending section, but from the side, with my one good critical eye, it doth stink to high heaven.
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Old 01-06-2005, 12:28 PM   #30
Michele Rushworth Michele Rushworth is offline
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How long it takes something to "dry", whether it's paint or varnish, depends on so many factors: what type, how thick, type of support used for the painting, ambient temperature, humidity, light, etc.
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