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Varnishing Mixed Media Paintings

6 thoughts on “Varnishing Mixed Media Paintings”

  1. I had recently observed through the Winsor & Newton Page The application of a conservator varnish over a finished charcoal surface–I believe using it as a spray fixative. This was applied over the course of the demonstrations several times building up a darker tone–with no lift. What is your feelings about this?

    • Hello Dillard, thank you for your comment. Yes, it is certainly possible to apply multiple layers of fixative over dry media paintings and as you observed this can darken these paintings or saturate colors. It solely depends on the artist, whether these visual changes are acceptable to him/her. The advantage, when truly embedding charcoal like that in many layers of fixative is, that the drawing becomes resistant to color lift and it might be possible to show the work without being framed behind glass.

  2. Hello Mirjam,
    I am working with mixed media on multmedia board, prismacolor pencil on top of acrylic or sometime water soluble oil ground. Then sometimes I add surface layer of prismalcolor NuPastel (a hard chalk pastel). I then seal with many layers of archival fixative and then archival spray varnish. Do you know if I still need to protect with glass? I like to avoid glass if possible. Thanks!

    • Hello Ann Michelle,
      we have found that 6 spray coats of GOLDEN Archival Spray Varnish provides good UV-protection, similar to two brush applied coats of MSA Varnish w/UVLS. Therefore it shouldn’t be necessary to protect behind UV-glass in addition, which is also costly. Regular window glass only provides very limited UV-protection anyway.


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