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Varnish can be produced from resins or synthetic polymers and is used to cover and protect your finished work. Both temporary and permanent options are available at UV archival quality for any painting medium. We carry Grumbacher, Winsor & Newton, Gamblin, Atelier, Chroma, Krylon, Liquitex, and Golden.
Damar Varnish is the most popular of all varnishes. Created from tree resins of damar gum and mixed with turpentine, damar varnish can be used for retouching dried layers, color mixing, and as a final sealant.
Sam Flax carries several brands of Retouching Varnish which can be applied to painted areas to rework the color and blending or can be applied to a recently completed oil painting as a temporary sealant to prevent the accumulation of dust. Available in both liquid and spray-on formulas, retouch varnish is a necessity for every oil painter.
Conserv-Art Varnish (gloss and matte) is a synthetic petroleum-based resin that dries quickly to a hard but flexible clear, permanent varnish. With a non-yellowing film, Conserv-Art varnish will not bloom or crack with age.
Golden MSA (Mineral Spirit Acrylic) Varnish contains ultra-violet light stabilizers suspended in an acrylic-based resin binder that can be applied to acrylic, oil, and alkyd painted surfaces. The UVLS system provides increased resistance to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, so it is suitable for exterior and interior application. MSA Varnish (Gloss) dries to a highly reflective finish. MSA Varnish (Satin) offers moderate reflection, similar to most matte varnishes. MSA Varnish (Matte) finish is exceptionally flat. The different finishes can be intermixed, or used sequentially, to achieve the desired sheen. For restoration purposes, the varnish may be removed with mineral spirits.
Golden Polymer Varnish (satin, gloss, and matte) is a water-based acrylic polymer varnish formulated to provide protection from ultraviolet radiation. Designed as a strong topcoat to protect the soft layers of acrylic paint, polymer varnish comes in a variety of finishes to produce the finished look you desire.
Liquitex Archival Permanent Varnish (Matte, Satin, Gloss or High Gloss) is a synthetic, polymer varnish that dries completely clear on acrylic painted surfaces. Non-yellowing, water resistant and UV protected, archival permanent varnish has a light, syrupy viscosity that brushes on easily, and provides protection for both indoor and outdoor exposure. Finished surfaces may be easily wiped clean of dirt and dust that may accumulate.
The addition of varnish to a watercolor painting will change the appearance, texture and feel of the paper substrate, resulting in darker colors with the use of a gloss varnish or lighter colors with the use of a matte or satin varnish. As a varnish will change the way in which light reflects off the paper, painters may want to consider photographing the piece before adding the varnish layer.
Kamar Varnish is an excellent choice for varnishing watercolors as it is more likely to retain the original color of the pigments and applies lightly to the painted surface. Kamar varnish is also a suitable replacement for Damar Varnish on oil and acrylics as it does not yellow with age.