Sealing and varnishing watercolor paintings on canvas

Sealing and varnishing your work

When you paint in watercolor on an optional support like clayboard or watercolor canvas you have two options: you can frame the back of the glass as with a traditional watercolor, using the same precautions that the painting itself Do not come in direct contact with the glass and it is a space between the artwork and the glass or you can seal your work and frame in the form of oil or acrylic painting. Because the paint comes off these surfaces so easily, for my part, I feel the safest sealing and varnishing.

The latter definitely has some advantages. If you paint on large surfaces, matte painting with a frame behind the glass can be an expensive purchase and too heavy to hang. Some artists have commented that sealed and varnished paintings sell better on large size watercolor canvases because they are easy to frame and the frames are lighter than glass. There is also a school of thought that acknowledges the fact that oil sells for higher prices than watercolors. Perhaps this is a long tradition of oil painting that adds a special mystery to the work. Or maybe it’s the advantage of being able to frame without glass. Victoria’s Watercolorists took great pains to use body color and gum arabic to “elevate” a painting to get higher prices for their work. For me, I see framing without mirrors as an easy way to do things for shows, it’s not safe to say anything about it.

I experimented with many different approaches to the sealing method I use now. Now I must say that I like a glossy finish, so the products I mention are all about achieving this goal. For clayboard and canvas paintings, let me first start with the clayboard fixative. I use about three coats, giving plenty of time to dry between coats. Next, I use the Crylon Triple-Thick Clear Glaze. “Triple-thick” refers to the fact that one coat of this product is equal to three coats of another clear acrylic fixative. I will apply at least two coats until I finish. I follow it with UV resistant varnish, also by Crylon. I will usually spray six thin coats to complete the process. Here are some things to keep in mind when doing this: First of all, make sure you have a large area that is actually covered for spraying. Make sure nothing is too close to get a bit of spray. If you wear them you will want to take off your glasses. He found a difficult way. Make sure the room is well ventilated. There are going to be a lot of sprays, so make sure and use these precautions.

Another approach recommended by Golden for Varnishing Acrylics. This method requires an isolated coating to protect the acrylic when the varnish needs to be removed. Isolation layer is golden soft gel glass, two parts gel is mixed in one part water and brushed. I applied this layer to the watercolor canvas. Despite the glossy finish, it wasn’t as glossy as I liked, but maybe if you are looking for a more matte finish, you might appreciate the look. I didn’t even like to apply it with a brush. The mixture is quite watery and brushes easily, but I prefer spraying. This layer is followed by MSA Archive Varnish. For prints, this is up to eight thin layers. I do at least six layers for paintings and prints. This is an easy precaution to keep your work safe. Because I used MSA Archive Varnish for prints, I now use it instead of Crylon Varnish.

I have tried both of these approaches with Watercolor Works on paper. I mounted on the matboard before starting work. I can’t say I was happy with the results and will continue to use it for alternative support. The great thing about varnishing your work is that when you finish it you get a great looking product. I think the gloss finish really adds a lot and the painting looks like watercolor when the paint was first applied, it was fun and wet.

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