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Old 11-03-2005, 07:22 PM   #1
Patt Legg Patt Legg is offline
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Those darn sunken in areas




I know this is a different subject but I have been so discouraged.

It seems that I continually have those areas (after completing the painting) that still look dry, sunken in, just plain unlike the rest of the painting. I use my own mixture of turp,damar and linseed for a medium. Only I use it VERY sparingly. I put Damar for a final varnish. Lately I have been using Gamblin's Gamar varnish.

What can I do to prevent those sunken in areas-they look terrible?

Your ideas are appreciated

Patt
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Old 11-03-2005, 10:43 PM   #2
Marcus Lim Marcus Lim is offline
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Hi Pat,
I wonder if your "sunken areas" mean those dry matte patches that appear at random areas of your paintings? I share the same problem, and i find they are like wild mushrooms, popping up when and where they like it!
But i realized that after the painting's dry, i spray retouch varnish to give it that even sheen...that does solve the problem temporarily for me. And six months' down the road, i'll be able to put up that more permanent varnish on the paintings.
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Old 11-03-2005, 10:52 PM   #3
Patt Legg Patt Legg is offline
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Thanks Marcus, and I too have done what you have suggested. One of my problems is that sometimes I have sold the portrait and it is already varnished. I still see some of these places and by then it is too late to do anything after it is in the hands of the client.

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Old 11-03-2005, 10:58 PM   #4
Marcus Lim Marcus Lim is offline
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Well, it's true that it's beyond us once the painting's been sold.
A curator once shared that we could include some tips and pointers on our sales receipt, to let them know that the painting's new at the time of sales. And that we can recommend x-brand / x-formula of varnishing to be done by a professional to lengthen their passion for your painting.
I wonder if this is a good tip?
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Old 11-03-2005, 11:08 PM   #5
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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There are some sound observations and good tips in this thread from a couple of pages back, That Old Sinkin' Feeling.

There is some mention in there of just getting rid of the culprit pigments. Peggy Baumgaertner, for example, talks in her videos about having done just that.

I've had my best luck here with just rubbing linseed oil over the area with my fingertip, then wiping off the "extra."
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Old 11-04-2005, 04:26 AM   #6
Marcus Lim Marcus Lim is offline
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Oh wow steve, the linseed trick works huh? i should have tried that before going for the retouch...thanks for sharing!
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Old 11-04-2005, 06:27 PM   #7
Patt Legg Patt Legg is offline
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Thanks Steven, I certainly will try that. About the painting sale, it just happens that I varnish, let it set til dry and maybe previously had made appt. for pickup. I am noticing all that drying time that it looks like that---then no time to correct it.

I will try the linseed for sure.

One more question, have any of you EVER had to go back into a finished portrait for small touch ups. For instance, I have already varnished the final varnish. The client insists on small things, a slight turn up of the corners of the mouth, slendering down a chin area. Couldn't I use straight varnish as my medium and touch these up? Wouldn't that blend into the varnished area?

Thanks all
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Old 11-04-2005, 07:23 PM   #8
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Just quickly passing through, I should point out that my oil rubbing procedure is intended for pre-varnishing endeavors, not to resuscitate something that hasn't responded even to varnish. That's a tougher nut to crack. And in fact, I haven't experienced it so I can't tell you how I hedged my bets.

I believe that the weight of authority is quite strongly against painting over varnish. There is an adhesion concern, but also, if the varnish ever has to be removed, there goes your layer of changes with it! More about that when time permits . . . [By the way, if you're thinking like I used to and figured there would never be an occasion when you'd have to strip the varnish off a painting, think again. And if it happens, and your varnish is fast bonded to the paint because you laid it down on a wet layer, crystal ball says there's disappointment in your future.]

I wouldn't get in a hurry to get a coat of varnish on a painting, even if it's about to go out the door to the left coast. If I had any doubt whatsoever that the painting was completely dry, I'd probably hit it with a light spray of retouch varnish for "presentation" purposes and then make the client swear on a stack of Marvel comics that the painting would either be returned to me for varnishing in a year, or taken to a professional in the client's locale for that purpose.
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:45 AM   #9
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If areas are sinking consistently, that means you didn't use enough medium in those places. You may use a retouch varnish, after the fact. Since retouch varnishes usually contain Damar, some prefer to mix up their own oiling-out medium instead. Take your normal media, in my case, 1 part Stand Oil/ 2 1/2 parts turp. Mix up a media twice as lean, 1S/5T. Use that to oil her out. The faded colors should instantly come right out.
Wait at least a year before applying final varnish. I've been led to believe that another layer of paint ought not be put over the final varnish.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:17 PM   #10
Peggy Baumgaertner Peggy Baumgaertner is offline
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I spray with retouch varnish, but the only one on the market that still "works" is Blair. You need to do some research on Blair, because I hear they are discontinuing it. Jerry's had it the last I looked. Steven is right, you really should not be painting over a varnished painting. If you find you must repaint (......when I get that feeling, I go lie down until the feeling goes away....), the varnish needs to be completely removed before new paint can be applied. At that point, you are getting into a major archival area, and can seriously mess up your painting. Better to wait two or three years to varnish, so you know there will be no corrections. I spray with retouch varnish (Blair) before the painting goes out.

If I find I need to make a correction after I've varnished, I remove the old varnish (it takes hours, cotton swabs, clean cotton cloth, turp, and tremendous patience), apply the paint, and spray with retouch varnish....and pray....

You cannot varnish twice.
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