In my previous post I said that a glaze was beading up on the painting, like water on a Simonized car hood.
I should have said "Varnish"! It was a two-part varnish; dissolve crystals in a solvent, then apply to painting. But the mixture would not adhere to the painting. Sanding was out of the question of course. I rubbed the varnish in but got results that were not uniform.
From now on I will use Damar varnish, tried and true.
I use a varnish called "GamVar", made by Gamblin company. It is a synthetic varnish, which is a good thing. Since I use natural resins and oils in my painting/glazing medium, I feel that it is a good idea to protect the painting with a synthetic varnish. This means that the varnish is just a tad incompatible with the materials in my painting, and that is what I want, because I don't want the molecules in my varnish cross-linking, and bonding with the molecules in my painted surface. This can make the varnish difficult to dissolve, and remove after it has aged for years, and is ready to be removed, and preplaced.
There are 3 functions that a picture varnish must perform. One is that it should make the surface appear uniform, evening out the high and low glossy areas. Another is that it must protect the surface of the painting from dirt, staining, and abrasions. The last, function, and one that many artists often ignore, or dismiss as not being important, is that it must be removable--and with the weakest of all solvents--without harming, or dissolving the surface of the painting beneath it.
GamVar has filled the requirements for me. One of my paintings received a top award, and the person who followed the judge around when he was making his choices, told me afterward that it was, indeed, the FINISH on my painting that was the deciding factor between my Best Of Show, and the runner-up.
This varnish beads up on my painted surface just about every time I apply it. But, this is a slow-drying varnish (another reason that I like it) and I have plenty of time to brush it after having applied it. The beading is caused by the surface tension of the glossy, hard, dry surface of the painting, and it can be overcome by simply performing more brushing, after having applied the varnish.
GamVar is easily removable with the weakest of all solvents--Odorless Mineral Spirits, or Gamsol, if you care to stick with Gamblin's products. I have actually had occasion to remove the GamVar from two paintings, when the surfaces were damaged in shipment, and it removed very well. I re-applied the GamVar, and I had a better appearance than I had before. I removed the initial application of GamVar with Gamsol, and without appreciably dissolving any of the paint beneath it.
Perhaps you were working with GamVar, and experienced the beading-up of it on the surface of your painting. Just keep brushing, and that will eventually break the surface tension that causes the beading. In my opinion, GamVar is a much better choice of a varnish for an oil painting than Damar. Damar dries while I am applying it, becoming gummy and tacky, while I am brushing it. It can also bond with the surface of my painting. It also requires Turpentine to remove it, and Turpentine is a more aggressive a solvent than Mineral Spirits.
All factors considered, I would recommend GamVar as a picture varnish, and I'd use extended brushing to eliminate the beading that is almost bound to occur. What can I say bad about it? After all, it helped my painting win a Best Of Show, once. And, for that, I'm willing to deal with the beading, whenever it occurs.
Thanks for replying. GamVar is the varnish I meant. Okay, next time I will continue to brush it on until it adheres. That's good to know.
And I really like your paintings!