Sunday, January 29, 2017

Varnishing Watercolors

When 2 different people ask me (in one day) how I varnish my watercolors, it seems like a good topic to write about.


Like many of you, I couldn't fathom NOT using glass.  But because I paint a lot of large pieces, they were expensive to frame.  And because I do a big outdoor festival each summer, my husband ended up having to lug all these heavy pieces (from the studio to the van, then to the tent, and then back home because, yes, they didn't all sell!).  

At some point, I started to realize that some well-known artists were varnishing their work instead. So the research began.


I don't profess to using the best method.  I keep experimenting.  I DO make sure that the entire paper is sandwiched inside a protective coating (front and back).  GOLDEN has good information about using their products. Why not try some of these options for yourself.  I find that, depending on the size of the painting, I might use one process for the smaller sizes versus a different process for big ones.  I usually wait till I have several finished pieces to varnish.  Then I tackle them "assembly line" style because the process is a bit laborious.


Although I've been happy with this new way of displaying my work, if you enter shows or competitions, be aware that some won't accept varnished work.  Just read the fine print of your favorite shows before you start varnishing.

"Banana Fofana II"
by Helen K Beacham Fine Art
Watercolor on 140# Arches cold pressed paper, Varnished
Image size:  6"h x 12"w

My Venice workshop is just 3 months away.
Only 2 spots left!
Check out my separate excursion packages 
for both Painters and Non-Painters HERE.
And my August Montreal workshop is open for registration as well (details HERE).