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I have recently come across a waterbased varnish (Acrylic resin 80%; stabilisers - according to the manufacturer's website) that is recommended as a product for varnishing oil or acrylic paintings. I have never seen a waterbased acrylic dispersion varnish recommended for use on oil paintings before.
I am curious as to your viewpoints on this. Specifically regarding adhesion and ease of removal.
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I do not know the specific product you are referring to but
the acrylic polymer varnishes that I have knowledge and experience with should
not be applied to oil paint. They require a rather alkaline solution for
removal (usually made so by the use of ammonia, which is volatile and will eventually
evaporate from the varnish as/after drying). Even if the oil paint is not
harmed by the application of an alkaline varnish, it would very likely be
damaged trying to remove that coating. Oil paint is saponified at higher pHs.
In essence, this is converting the fatty acids in the oils into water soluble
I would be very suspicious of such a product unless it is explicitly/conclusively
shown that they were able to make and remove the dried film with a solution
somewhere near neutral or even very slightly acidic.
This one's news to me, too. I'm aware of some varnishes sold for application over finished water-miscible oil paintings, but the varnishes themselves list isopropyl alcohol on the SDS, so I don't think those would meet the standard of "water-based". I can imagine it's possible a destructive interaction could occur between a water-based top coat and some types of painting supports, which could swell or sag from moisture.
Thank you both for your insights. Interestingly, I think this product has been available for some time although, I can't be sure as I only recently noticed its availability.
There is no harm in listing the brand and name of the product. I would be interested in how they market the varnish and any possible technical info that they provide. If little is offered, I would like to request some form the manufacturer.
Ok. It's a Maimeri product. It is listed on Blick here. And on Maimeri site here. I'll be very interested to here the results of your enquiries.
Unfortunately, we do not have a contact at Maimeri. There is
no indication of reversibility other than saying that it is “non-yellowing.” I
worry about that. I also worry that the safety sheet is a dead or unreachable
link, although since I have had to deal with the complexities of web serves
since starting this and a technical art history site, I assume that this is an IT
Frankly, unless I read something monumentally new about how
they achieve this water-based varnish, I would avoid using it on any oil
I will reach out to Maimeri to see if they can provide any
I think this is the SDS: https://cdn.dick-blick.com/msds/DBH_SDS_015651294.pdfOne reputable retailer lists this as "non-removable", BTW.
Also Reading over the MSDS, which Matthew was able to find, we see that the pH of the varnish is 9.1, which is
too alkaline to be safely applied to an oil painting, especially one that was paintied recently.
What we have is the MSDS and not the SDS. It will be
interesting to see what they would be required to include on the newer SDS