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Why I'm Praising Spray Varnish


For a painter spray varnish is one of those things you just aren't drawn to using because we just love painting our varnish on with a paint brush. ....but this is an essential tool to have in your arsenal and here's why.


I was recently varnishing work right before an exhibition (not a good idea by the way!) and I had applied an isolation coat of medium before moving to the stage of varnishing. I went for a coffee to give it time to dry - when I cam back it was covered in tiny dust particles! 


For whatever reason there was lot of dust moving around in the air of the studio and it was sticking to my paintings which happened to have alot of white space in them. So the dust was very, VERY noticeable. I cleaned it off as best as I could by touching up with paint which was super annoying. Then I was stuck with a dilemma - how would I varnish the paintings without the same problem occurring? LIGHTBULB! I got the idea to dig out the spray varnish I had bought the previous year. 


There it was: Golden Archival Spray Varnish. The product comes in gloss, and matte but luckily the can I had on hand was satin finish so it wouldn't change the look of my surface too much. 


I was super satisfied with the results! And no extra dust particles were sticking to my paintings!


You have to follow the directions step by step - read up on it before you start spraying. 


Some of the instructions include shaking the can for 2 minutes!?! Boring? I know - which is why I included the hilarious video above that gives you lots of creative moves for "shaking your can" .


I'd recommend that you turn the pieces as you spray it and try to make every effort to keep the angle of the spray consistent on the surface of your art. You want to avoid overlap marks made by heavy application so its better to do a few coats letting it dry in between rather than try to spray a thicker coat which would be really risky. You could end up with drips. Test the product on a test canvas first - even more accurate if you use similar tones and colours. Matte finishes can sometimes dull dark colours because matte finishes have tiny white particles in them. Always test first!!!


Varnish isn't easily removed. Read the instructions for the product that you buy very carefully. For more info on Golden's spray varnish please check it out here: Please wear the appropriate respirator mask and proper cartridges for this use when applying a spray varnish as it is a health hazard to breath it in.


Video source [1]

About the author

Artist in residence Rebecca Chaperon

Rebecca Chaperon is our Artist-in-Residence

With a compulsion to create unique visual stories, her paintings often follow the thread of a heroine's misadventures through a surreal landscape.

She's had the pleasure of teaching at Langara College and given community workshops on painting techniques with an emphasis on watercolour, oil and acrylic. She is a board member at the Grunt gallery.

View her online portfolio

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