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I have been experimenting with Gamvar matte varnish to even out the alternatly dull and shiny areas in my oil paintings, which have large flields of flat color over a smooth surface. The brushstrokes from the varnish application are showing up when the varnish dries and it's distracting to the work. I understand that matte Gamvar is the trickiest to apply and am experimenting with different techniques. In the meantime, I asked a Gamlin product specialist on the phone about spray-applying the matte Gamvar, which they said required a proper respirator and ventilation, but is a common practice for conservators. Has anyone attempted this and can you offer tips before I give it a try? Would this require an air compressor, or can I use a Preval sprayer? Finally, is there a company or conservator anyone can reccomend in NYC that I might be able to hire to do this for me? I reached out to some prominent NYC art materials and finishing companies but so far am coming up dry. Thank you in advance!
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Varnishes with matting agents, as opposed to standard varnishes
that are made more matte by application, manipulation, and after treatment, are
inherently more difficult to apply. The matting agent makes the varnish more
viscous but this is not a huge deal in and of itself. It is essential that the
varnish be perfectly mixed to ensure that the matting agent is completely and
evenly dispersed within the varnish, otherwise you will end up with bands or
regions of more or less matte areas.
Spray application seems to be a perfect alternative but it
is not without its own issues. I have seen overly thinned matte varnishes that
were sprayed onto an absorbent surface create a frosted –looking surface. This probably
occurred because the varnish was so thin that it was absorbed into the surface
and the matting agent, due to its insoluble nature, was left to accumulate at
the surface. This is probably one of the reasons why many art material
providers indicate that their MSA or similar varnishes should not be thinned
beyond a certain percentage.
I would guess that a Preval sprayer should be adequate for
the job, as long as the above are considered. Certainly, a practitioner well versed
in spraying matte varnishes would be preferable.
We will reach out to out colleagues in the NYC area to see
if anyone offers this service.
Thank you so much, Brian. I reached out to several local conservators but so far none have been willing to take on the job. Any reccomendations you have would be greatly appreciated. I'd love to find a conservator that can assist.
In the meantime, I am looking into creating a setup where I can spray-apply the medium myself. If I have to thin the varnish, Gamblin recommended thinning it with Gamvar Satin or Gloss to reduce the amount of wax, as opposed to thinning it with solvent. I'm not sure if the wax particles will clog the sprayer without thinning the varnish or not. I asked Preval direcly and they simply said "depending on the size".
Is there another varnish that can be matted through application, manipulation, or after treatment that can be applied on touch-dry paintings (as opposed to paintings that have been drying for six months)? Perhaps I could brush apply them as an alternative to spraying Gamvar Matte?
This has proved to be quite a research project but I am eager to find a matte varnishing solution that works on touch-dry paintings without leaving brush marks from the application. Thank you again!!
Hi there....we forwarded your inquiry to a few of our recommended contacts in the NYC area and we were able to find someone that is willing to assist you (with consultation and/or application). Lauren Fly has given us permission to share her info so please contact her directly. Her website and contact info can be found here: https://www.flyartsinitiative.com/
Thank you much, Kristin! I'll reach out to her and report back on the thread if I'm able to work about a solution.