Monday, March 28, 2016

Creek Crossing - Show Tip #20

Creek Crossing, 24 x 36, oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2016
Sold in Solo Show, "Chasing Color, Finding Light", Davis Gallery

I love how creeks crisscross through coastal marshes. They ebb and flow with the tide, always changing their "look" so to speak. When clouds hover overhead, it's just about as perfect as it gets. This little creek crossing is a special place for our family... my husband learned to fish off this little bridge, just like his father before him and our children after him. Now we look forward to teaching our grandchildren at this very same spot! 

Show Tip #20 - Varnishing Day(s)
I highly recommend setting aside several days for varnishing dry paintings in small batches. Saving them all till the end is a recipe for last minute problems and stress. But why bother at all? Besides providing a protective seal, varnish evens out the surface tone on an oil painting (pigments tend to "sink" or dull out as they dry). I usually use an oiling out process for this purpose, but this time around I decided to varnish everything. It is way more efficient with large canvases. I am using Gamvar by Gamblin, and am very pleased with the result. Click HERE for an excellent demo on the Gamblin website showing how to apply varnish correctly. 

Historical footnote: Back in the 1800's, the Royal Academy in London would offer a "Varnishing Day" to artists prior to the opening of their Summer Exhibition. In addition to varnishing finished pieces on location, artists would make last minute adjustments (and some cases, finish incomplete work). It was chaotic, but exhilarating I'm sure. Click HERE for a funny depiction of the craziness of the day, illustrated by George DuMaurier. 

Here are links to other Show Tips:
Tip #4 - Work in Series
Tip #6 - Be Kind to YOU
Tip #8 - Stay Flexible
Tip #11 - Take Notes
Tip #12 - Know when to Quit
Tip #13 - Stay Updated
Tip #15 - Assign Tasks
Tip #16 - Step Back
Tip #17 - Sign As You Go
Tip #19 - Celebrate Growth

Painters - join me at this Plein Air Workshop:
April 28-30, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA
Contact Info: Mary Anderson, 912-634-8414


Eddie Aldridge said...

Thanks Laurel, I've been wondering whether to varnish or not and what to use. How long would you leave a painting before varnishing? and do you use gloss, matt or semi-gloss?

Love the feeling of high summer in 'Creek Crossing', can almost hear the bees buzzing and larks singing.

Eddie Aldridge

Sharon L. Graves said...

Love this post! Love learning about the fishing lessons on the little bridge and love learning about varnishing day. Thanks so much.

Laurel Daniel said...

Thank you for your comments, Eddie and Sharon!

To answer your question, Eddie... With the Gamvar varnish from Gamblin, you can test the painting by lightly pressing your thumbnail into a thick area of paint. If it doesn't give, you can varnish. My paintings seem to take about 2 weeks to reach that point, give or take. Gamvar is glossy, but the demo gives a couple of ways to lessen the gloss or make it matte. I'm going with a slightly lessened gloss. I highly recommend following that link to the Varnishing Demo on the Gamblin website. It is better than a thousand words! :)

Here is the link again: