Varnishing ...D'OH!

Varnishing. I really hate it it.

Why do I hate it?

I don't do it enough. I only have done it for a few very important pieces at the request of the collectors.  I worry that a mistake or accident will result in the world blowing up...I mean, one of my paintings being damaged and one of my paying clients being disappointed. My anxiety leads to procrastination which leads to more anxiety because I know I have to get it done.

What happens to me....

Eventually the stress builds up and conditions to varnish are never quite right (rain, humidity, the kids playing in the area (my patio) where I would varnish, etc..).  I don't exactly have a sterile environment to work it.  But after waiting forever for conditions to change,  I take the bull by the horns and Just Do It. I use a spray varnish to minimize my possible mistakes (all the while thinking that spraying on instead of the brushing on is a mistake somehow...) I do it. I spray on the varnish..the painting is nice and gloss. Beautiful....but then I see a little something to the left  (a piece of lint) and then something on the right (a piece of hair or a leaf). Here's where I feel like Homer Simpson  and exclaim "D'oh!" after a nice slap to the forehead.

 Why is varnishing "necessary" anyway?

I have a lot of artist friends that poo poo varnishing, especially for acrylic paintings. I have seen lots of oil paintings hanging in the homes of family and friends that were obviously not varnished. I could tell because  now the oil paint has dried and sunk in a bit giving a flat (dried out) or an uneven type appearance to the painting. Varnishes can unify a painting by giving it an even sheen. They offer protection from dust, dirt and damage. They also allow for the painting to be cleaned in the future without damaging the underlying paint surface. That's important right?

I just finishing varnishing a bunch of oil paintings for clients this week.   There weren't any major disasters and they probably won't see the tiny pieces of lint here and there that I can see with my X-ray vision.

My Declaration

When I build my dream studio, I will design a room just for varnishing....a true and sterile clean room.  I will wear one of those suits that you go meet the alien or the contaminated person in.... and everything will be PERFECT!


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