Skip to Main Content
Sign In
Toggle Navigation

Open the Navigation Management window, which can be used to view the full current branch of the menu tree, and edit it.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

MITRA Forum Question Details

Image Picker for Section 0


  • Spray applying Gamvar matte varnishApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2019-03-25 22:39:44 ... Most recent comment 2019-03-31 21:14:25
    Varnishes Oil Paint

    ​Hello all,

    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!


Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    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.

    Brian Baade
    2019-03-26 21:58:53
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​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!!



    2019-03-27 13:22:35
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​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:

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2019-03-27 21:35:03
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​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. 



    2019-03-31 21:14:25

Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
MITRA Forum Question Details
This page cannot be accessed until you accept the Terms of Use, which can be found here.
Please note that this Terms of Use system uses cookies. If you have cookies disabled you will not be able to accept the agreement. If you delete our cookies you will need to re-accept the Terms of Use.
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489