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Video:How to Varnish a Painting

with Marco Cutrone

In this About.com video, learn the basics of how to varnish a painting, so you can protect your work of art properly.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Varnish a Painting

Hi, I'm Marco Cutrone from Marco Cutrone Fine Arts. I'm a realist painter. I'm here for About.com and today I'm going to go over how to varnish a painting.

What is Varnish?

Varnish adds a layer of protection, keeping dust and other environmental elements off of a painting. It can also create a unified feeling throughout the entire painting. You can select a glossy or matte varnish.

How to Apply Varnish

Varnish comes in a spray can, or it can be applied with a brush. You must be very patient when applying varnish. Make sure your painting surface is clean and dry. If you varnish too soon, you can smudge the top layer of paint. It can also create cracks in the painting down the road. Wait 6 months before applying varnish. It takes much less time, however, for acrylic paint to dry. If your painting is not completely dry, but you want to even out the appearance, you can use re-touching varnish. Make sure you varnish the painting in a well-lit area. This helps in being able to see where you have varnished the painting and where you haven't.  If you are using a brush, make sure that it has soft, long hair. I find that a large filbert or a fan brush work well. Whether you are using a spray can or a brush, make sure that you apply the varnish evenly. I apply my varnish from left to right. I then let it dry and apply another layer from top to bottom. I find that this helps minimize the appearance of brush strokes.  

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