Upload new images. The image library for this site will open in a new window.
Upload new documents. The document library for this site will open in a new window.
Show web part zones on the page. Web parts can be added to display dynamic content such as calendars or photo galleries.
Choose between different arrangements of page sections. Page layouts can be changed even after content has been added.
Open the Navigation Management window, which can be used to view the full current branch of the menu tree, and edit it.
Move this whole section down, swapping places with the section below it.
Check for and fix problems in the body text. Text pasted in from other sources may contain malformed HTML which the code cleaner will remove.
Accordion feature turned off, click to turn on.
Accordion featurd turned on, click to turn off.
Change the way the image is cropped for this page layout.
Cycle through size options for this image or video.
Align the media panel to the right/left in this section.
Open the image pane in this body section. Click in the image pane to select an image from the image library.
Open the video pane in this body section. Click in the video pane to embed a video. Click ? for step-by-step instructions.
Remove the image from the media panel. This does not delete the image from the library.
Remove the video from the media panel.
I'm looking into using Golden Polymer Varnish on my egg tempera icons. What would be the drawbacks of using this varnish?
In my experience, other varnishes cause FAM or blooming (I think the solvents in oil-based varnishes aggravate the lipids, especially Gamvar). Golden Polymer Varnish is the only water-thinnable varnish I've found that is also reversible/removable (Lascaux doesn't seem to be reversible, at least that I can find...or is it?). Golden does not seem to cause immediate blooming in my tests, even on new paint swatches a few days old (not that I plan to varnish that soon). Reversability is important to me since it is quite likely for an icon to get lipstick on it eventually, if not oily spot, etc.
I like the look of the matte surface as it is quite similar to the egg; the gloss looks fantastic over the gold. A Golden technical expert said to use the gloss first to seal it, then use the matte over top for the final sheen. So, I can cover the entire icon (gold and tempera) with gloss, then cover only the tempera with matte. The entire surface is then protected and removable.
I've also seen in another thread the recommendation to use Krylon Crystal Clear as an isolation coat. I'm a little worried about orange peel, to be honest, but I think that's worth looking into as well.
Also in another thread was the concern about the alkalinity of this varnish. Would that negatively interact with the egg tempera? The expert at Golden said they do not recommend the Polymer Varnish for oil paint. The binder in tempera is a drying oil. Will this be problematic?
Thank you for your help.
Brian Matthew Whirledge
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
I did a series of test panels applying various isolators over egg tempera (cured from one to 15 days); among the products were Golden GAC 500 medium and Golden Acrylic Gel medium. I was skeptical they would go on without lifting or smearing the paint (being water-based, like tempera) but no problem – and almost five years later they look perfect, with no efflorescence.
Schadler, Isolator Test Panel.jpeg
I know, five years isn't much in the scheme of things, but as a solitary artist in my studio (not a research lab or paint company) my research/testing capacities are limited.
The techs at Golden Paint are very smart and helpful, and I trust their input. On the other hand they don't do much (if any?) testing on egg tempera. This is often the challenge with our medium: there's neither a large pool of artists working in it (never mind innovating) nor many companies doing extensive research and testing, and it can be hard to find answers. As an experienced tempera painter and varnisher, I don't see, off hand, a problem with using a synthetic polymer-based varnish atop tempera - but I'm not a trained chemist or conservator, and hopefully some will chime in.
A Golden technical expert said to use the gloss first to seal it, then use the matte over top for the final sheen.
I want to underscore this. Matte/satin varnishes are gloss varnishes with matting agents (small, crystal-like particles) added to create a microscopically irregular surface that scatters light, akin to frosted glass (versus perfectly smooth glass, like a gloss varnish). If a matte or satin varnish is applied directly to a high PVC, absorbent surface such as egg tempera, the liquid varnish sinks in while the matting agents remain on top, resulting in a cloudy or frosted appearance. Hence an initial isolating layer (the gloss varnish, in your case) is requisite when applying a matte or satin varnish to egg tempera (or any high PVC surface).
…Krylon Crystal Clear as an isolation coat. I'm a little worried about orange peel, to be honest, but I think that's worth looking into as well.
Krylon Crystal Clear is, last time I checked, B-72. I have tried applying B-72 both via Krylon spray cans and making it myself and using a sponge brush – so far I have found it a bit finicky, and have gotten orange peel a few times. The last time I used it I first practiced on 4 test panels, all with success, before applying it to a finished piece, which promptly erupted into orange peel. Whether B-72 is truly tricky to apply, or just tricky to apply on a high PVC or recently cured ET surface, or I'm not very good at it, I can't say. I know Dr. Joyce Stoner uses it on Wyeth temperas with success, always via a spray booth. If she, Brian or Kristin have more insights on B-72 on egg tempera (how widely it's done, if there's been testing or research on it relative to tempera) it would be interesting to hear.
Also in another thread was the concern about the alkalinity of this varnish. Would that negatively interact with the egg tempera?
With my usual disclaimer that I'm not a chemist/conservator, I'd say alkalinity shouldn't be a problem; after all, true gesso is very alkaline and doesn't affect tempera (and actually servers as a buffer to the acidity of a wood-based panel, although that's a different topic).
The expert at Golden said they do not recommend the Polymer Varnish for oil paint. The binder in tempera is a drying oil.
I wouldn't say egg oil is generally considered a "drying" oil – it's more often categorized as a "non-drying" oil. But in actuality, it's not quite either: many of the lipids in egg yolk are not polymerizing while others may polymerize to a degree...it's not certain (and one of the mysteries of egg tempera). What is certain is that, over time (about 3 months, I estimate) the egg oil + proteins within the paint cure enough to form a durable paint film, but don't fully cure; the egg oil retains some degree of "mobility", which is why it can travel and lipids effloresce onto the paint surface (i.e. Fatty Acid Migration). So tempera is like oil paint and not at all like oil paint. How this affects varnishes used on top of tempera is hard to say (due, again, to limited group experience and testing/research).
Varnishing, already a challenge in many mediums, is definitely a bit complicated in tempera (due to its high PVC, propensity toward FAM, rarity, etc.). But there always have been and will be ET artists who want and/or need to varnish their paintings. If you go ahead with the Golden Polymer Varnish, please let us know how it works out. It's very helpful to have the practical experience of ET artists contributing to the pool of knowledge.
Koo, thank you so much for your answer (and for your book!). To clarify, this is the Polymer Varnish I'm using:
It is not GAC 500, or gel medium, but a removable varnish.
It is certainly the least worse option I've encountered:
1. Water-based: no solvents to exacerabte blooming (FAM), it's easy to clean up, and has no fumes. As water-based, it is crystal clear and will not yellow or darken.
2. Removable/reversible (with a mild ammonia solution like windex). The finished surface can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution.
3. Provides mechanical protection (more than just the paint, less than spar urethane, which some iconographers use).
4. The gloss over the gold is the best varnish I've seen yet. On my sample, the difference is barely discernable between the varnished and unvarnished gold.
5. The matte is exceptionally matte; better than any other varnish I've seen. It is almost as flat as a nourishing layer.
6. This varnish is vapor-permeable and stays somewhat open, allowing the egg to continue to cure and polymerize, even under the varnish.
To prevent the matting agent from becoming cloudy, I need to first coat it with gloss to seal it. This is fine, since I can cover the entire icon with gloss to protect the gold and seal the paint at the same time. Then, I can varnish only the painted figure with matte.
I varnished an icon this way over the weekend, and I am very pleased with the result! The gold looks exceptional--better than any other varnish I've used. The figure (tempera) is very matte and looks very similar to the original painted surface.
On my test sample, I didn't have trouble with paint lifting with normal application, even though it is a waterbased varnish. I did push it, and was able to lift and move newer paint (a few days old), but only if I really scrubbed it and abused it, something I won't do to a finished artwork. The icon I varnished has been curing for 5 months, but there were a couple of spots that I touched up a week ago. No paint lifted, moved, or bloomed during the varnishing.
Thanks again for your helpful response, and please let me know if I'm overlooking something. Otherwise, I think I'll continue using this varnish. It's the most promising and least-worst option I've encountered so far.
That's all very interesting, and very good news! What sort of brush did you use to apply the varnish, and was it self leveling? Any other comments on the application process?
I'm looking forward to trying it and am glad you posted about it.
The varnish was self-leveling, and I don't have any visible brushstrokes. The varnish did bead up on the gold a bit in places, so I had to brush it out a bit to get it to stick.
The icon is 8x10"; I used a 1-1/2" flat wash synthetic "sable" brush to apply to gloss over everything. I waited 24 hours between coats. I used a #12 pointed round synthetic to apply to matte to the tempera-painted figure so I could still load a decent amount of varnish but have control applying it methodically. I filled in the figure in sections logical to the composition, trying to keep a wet edge as much as possible.
The Golden technician repeatedly told me to apply very thin coats, which I aimed for. I loaded the brush, and wiped it well before applying, especially for the matte. I didn't want to overdo it. On my test piece, a thick application of the matte resulted in cloudiness, even over the gloss.
Thanks, Brian - this is very helpful. I'm working on an update of my book and will be sure to include this information. And, of couse, give the varnsih a try myself.