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I used Old Holland Gloss Picture Varnish (made from ketone resin) on an oil painting as I was looking for a nonyellowing product. It is too glossy. Neither the supplier nor Old Holland can tell me if I can do a second layer with their Matte Picture Varnish without losing clarity. Has anyone used these products?
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I do not have experience with that specific product but have
used keytone resinous varnishes in the past. If it is made from keytone N
(which it could very well be) this makes a workable varnish with agood degree
of saturation. It is not completely non-yellowing (really almost nothing is
absolutely non-yellowing) but is is not a bad choice. How old is the product?
It is my understanding that keytone N is no longer being made. They may just
have a stockpile (I know that they still offer manganese blue in their oil
paint line although it has not been made for quite some time).
As to whether one can overcoat a glossy varnish with a matte
one, many actually suggest applying a gloss varnish first if one is going to
apply a matte varnish later since the gloss creates a more contiguous surface
coating. This is probably not necessary with oil paintings. I would also want
to make sure that the result would not be too matte for your needs. Perhaps you
would be better off mixing matte and gloss together to create satin or other
degrees of gloss. As in all things, test first.
Just how successful this will be will depend on a number of
factors. If you gloss coating is quite thick and you are brushing on the
additional coat, you may cut into it and create areas of mixed gloss and matte
creating an uneven surface. Spraying would be preferable if possible.
Additionally, a surface made less glossy by the addition of a coating containing
matting agents does not look EXACTLY the same as one that is less glossy due to
having less varnish on the surface.
So, like so many things, it depends. If you do try to recoat
with a varnish with a lower gloss, make sure that you let the lower varnish
completely dry for a few days to lessen the chance of picking it up with the
Others may have more direct knowledge of this particular varnish
or even a different opinion on the manner.
Old Holland has a brochure with minimal information on this varnish. I purchased it a month ago. The gloss is very bad. I was just grateful that it didn't lift paint. One would think that their matte product was chemically compatable but the company won't commit themselves. I will have to test. I might also test wax directly over the varnish to see if the gloss is toned down.
Old Holland's literature describes both Matte and Gloss Varnish as "ketone resin dissolved in white spirit" with beeswax listed as the matting agent in the Matte product. They do recommend 1 week's drying time before top-coating (though they don't directly address layering matte over gloss). I don't see any reason why, as Brian suggests, the two couldn't be combined to achieve gradations of surface sheen.
Re; The Manganese blue. It must have run out as they now sell "Manganese Blue Extra" (basically a hue colour) instead.
I looked that up on their website and see that is the case. My local art supply store still has the OH oi paint containing the true pigment but I doubt that it is a fast mover in my town;)