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Old 10-26-2009, 08:29 PM   #1
John Reidy John Reidy is offline
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Liquitex Soluvar




I was discussing varnishes with a friend who mentioned she has heard of several oil painters (figurative) who use Liquitex Soluvar 12 to 14 days after they finish the painting. They claim it oxidizes with the paint and is a fine final varnish.

My view is that portraits are in a different class and require a regular varnish schedule of approximately 6 mos. to a year before a final varnish is applied. A retouch varnish is appropriate several days/weeks after finishing the painting.

I realize that I am no authority on the subject but rely more on the proven techniques I have found in this forum.

Anyone have any thoughts on the subject?
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:35 PM   #2
Julie Deane Julie Deane is offline
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I'd be really hesitant to do that.

If no-one gives you an answer here, John, try over at amien.org.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
John Reidy John Reidy is offline
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I am very hesitant. My question is more for validation than for a change to my regular procedures.

I believe the artists mentioned don't worry too much about longevity.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:46 AM   #4
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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I know of some very fine artists who do this because it means they no longer need to be involved once the check clears. People do all sorts of questionable things in my view. They add dammar varnish to mediums, use alkyd mediums, use Maroger medium, use acrylic grounds and use paint containing zinc.

I think a portrait artist has a responsibility to deliver archivally sound work that will last for many generations. A painting needs to be perfectly dry before the varnish can be applied. This includes Soluvar as well.
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:26 AM   #5
John Reidy John Reidy is offline
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Thanks, Marvin. Even though I don't understand every word you wrote, I believe in your assessment.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:48 AM   #6
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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Which words don't you understand?
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:43 PM   #7
John Reidy John Reidy is offline
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I usually am quiet so people might think I'm smarter than I am but this is one instance I must confess I don't know what Maroger medium is.

I remember my Latin teacher told me she thought I was smart. If only she knew I usually was just lost in her class.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:40 PM   #8
Richard Bingham Richard Bingham is offline
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John, "Maroger's Medium" is the combination of "black oil", which is linseed oil cooked with litharge to saturation, and a saturated "cut" of mastic tears (the resin of the pistacio tree) in turpentine. The mixture forms a thixotropic gel, which becomes fluid with manipulation and sets up as a gel when undisturbed. Jacques Maroger was the head conservator at the Louve for a number of years through the 1940's, and this medium is the result of years of experimentation on his part . He called it "Rubens' Medium" as he believed he had re-created a "secret" of this old master, which had been a "holy grail" alluded to by DeMayrne, who presumed to document Rubens' studio practises duing his lifetime, and sought after by no less than Joshua Reynolds, whose experimentations resulted in a number of forumlae generally employing water-soluble gums (e.g., gum arabic, gum tragacanth) to effect a jelly-like consistency. These were used quite widely through the 18th and 19th century, were known generically as "Meguilp" (which can be found spelled about a hundred (?) different ways) and equally well-known to be the root cause of a wide range of paint failures.

Maroger's is the favorite medium to hate among painters who feel the cause of all manner of paint failures is the use of resins and treated oils of any type, and detrimental to archival permanence.

Shooting from the hip (always a bad idea) I believe Soluvar, like Gamvar, is an isoacrylate resin, and if so, as Marvin advises, it would be bad practise to apply it as a final varnish to a painting that is not thoroughly dry. I'm off to see if I can learn what kind of material Soluvar actually is.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:56 PM   #9
John Reidy John Reidy is offline
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Very interesting. My brief encounter to read up on this lead me to believe that Maroger's Medium is truly the medium used by the old masters. The few articles I found were quite convincing.

My trust is through benign faith in those posters on this website that I have read over time. My theory is that if you are correct or put forth explanations that I can trust in the small things then I can put faith in larger issues that I have no point of reference.

Richard, I have found you and Marvin, as well as others, to be voices of reason that I have learned from in the past and I put much more faith in your's and Marvin's words than any article on google.

Thanks.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:47 PM   #10
Richard Bingham Richard Bingham is offline
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Without going deeper than the Soluvar MSDS sheet, (which does not identify the acrylic resin) it appears it is the equivalent of Gamvar, an acrylic resin soluble in mineral spirits.

Thank you for your kind words, John. The only agenda I propose on art fora, when I can, is to help painters in oils become more knowledgeable about their materials on their own terms, in a useful manner, rather than blindly following hearsay, opinion, or commercial hype.

It's not difficult to perform your own tests of materials, and it is becoming more necessary to be a "QC" guy in your own studio as traditional, proven materials are supplanted by those which are more agreeable for manufacturers' bottom lines than what's "best" for painting: e.g., the widespread use of safflower oil as a vehicle in paints as opposed to high quality linseed oils, and the near-disappearance of true pure spirits of gum turpentine, now supplanted by solvents produced from steam-distilling forest wastes.
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