I carefully read the weather forecast when planning 'Varnishing-day'. Temperatures have to be mild (and that can be a problem during Dutch spring), little wind, no rain. When the day arrives I open all the doors and windows, take a deep breath and go for it, hoping the draft will chase the fumes. In the past I sometimes wore a face mask, but I had trouble breathing, wearing it.
|Beach with Tyre Tracks, oil on panel, 50 x 150 cm|
There is an infinite number of varnishes on the market today, but basically, there are two kinds for oil paint: retouching varnish and finishing varnish. You got to wait at least a year before applying a finishing varnish (oil paint takes forever to dry), so most of my paintings leave the studio with just a layer of retouching varnish. No problem.
Retouching varnish comes as a glossy varnish only, and I don't want the surface of my paintings to shine like a mirror, so I add terpentine or white spirit, up to 30%. I use a broad hog hair varnishing brush and a small paint roller to add a fine texture to the the surface.
|Windy Beach (excision), oil on panel, 90 x 120 cm|
Once the job is done, I quickly forget the smell and the fumes. Colors are intensified and I like the satin gloss. But the best moment is yet to come, when I enter the gallery and see the work in the great setting of De Twee Pauwen Art Gallery. From May 24 - July 7.
Want to see more of the work I did for this exhibition? Check www.paintingskies.com.