Friday, May 1, 2015


Been working hard for my solo show next month in The Hague (Netherlands). Beautiful gallery in the old center, close to the Royal Palace. Projects like this are very inspiring. The final painting is almost ready and now it's time for the stuff that I don't like. Varnishing for example.

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

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