Welcome to my new and improved blog where you will learn about the answers to essential art questions. You’re here today because although you know how to apply a varnish to your painting you aren't sure how to remove it. It’s funny how little things such as this are thought to be innate for an artist but in reality, it isn’t! We learn so much in school such as how to paint properly, how to write, and how to explore alternative areas of expertise. But rarely do schools teach us fundamentals such as how to varnish let alone remove one. I’m here to make removing your varnish easy!
What is a varnish
Before we discuss how to remove a varnish let's review what a varnish is. Varnish is a top coat layer that enhances the color of a painting while also serving as a protective layer for the painting. Paintings possess pocket holes similar to pores. When a varnish is applied it protects the surface creating a barrier coating that protects it from dirt, oils, UV rays, and yellowing. They’re two categories of varnishes (removable and permeant ) and various finishes (Gloss, matte, satin). However, the best varnish to use on your paintings is removable varnish for archival purposes in the future.
How to Remove a varnish.
Materials List: Gloves, respirator, mineral spirits, Liquitex soluvar varnish, Lint-free cloth, Plastic bucket or metal tray, plastic sheet the size of the rags.
To begin we will prep all of your materials with your gloves and respirator on before removing the varnish. Pour the mineral spirits, enough to fill the bottom of your bucket or tray. Before removing the varnish from the entire painting start with removing the varnish from a corner of the painting. Starting with a test will familiarize you with the process and test the effects of removing a varnish. If this is your first time removing a varnish start with testing an area of the painting before removing the varnish from the entire painting. Starting with the text begin start with your mineral spirit solvent.
Varnish Removal Test:
1.) After pouring the mineral spirits cut a square out of your lint cloth and soak the square in your tray or bucket.
2.) When the cloth is saturated wring out any excess solution from the cloth. Apply the square to one corner of the painting with the plastic sheet over the cloth to prevent the mineral spirits from evaporation.
3.)Smooth out the cloth removing bubbles allowing the entire cloth to touch the panting surface.
4.) After two minutes lift a corner of the rag to ensure the varnish liquified. If the varnish hasn’t leave the rag on for another two minutes.
5.) Using the cloth that is on the surface flip it over and proceed with folding it in half. Wipe the varnish off of the painting top to bottom once.
6.) Using a second cloth repeat steps 1-5 to another section of the painting.
7.) Repeat Steps 1-5 until the varnish is removed from the entire painting