Bands of Color, 2007, Oil on Panel, 30x40
Jayne asked me a question about whether my paintings are wet when I send them out and also about using varnish. So here is my very wordy answer to her quick question in the comments of my last post. Poor girl!
Most of the time I like to work fast. So over the past few years I have developed a manner of painting that facilitates that need I have, but is flexible enough to allow to plan and consider detail, which is another aspect of how I like to work.
And my one of my limitations right now is that, for the most part, I can only work during the day. Since I have always liked to work with glazes it was fairly easy to accommodate that sort of schedule, with just a few adjustments.
So to start with, I use oil paint straight from the tube, and in forming the image I end up wiping most of it off, so it is a pretty thin base. After having a lot of difficulties with the drying times at this stage (read here), I found that Gamblin paints dry faster and since they have a color that I like for the underpainting, I was able to switch over. It takes about two days for the underpainting to dry, so I usually do them on Fridays and then they are ready to go by Monday.
The rest of the color layers are mixed with liquin, and they generally dry overnight. Unless I do a thicker, more opaque layer. And there are a few colors and/or brands of paint that take longer to dry. But for the most part I paint a a layer or so on each painting each day. Which is why I paint in batches. By the end of a week or so, I have anywhere from one to a dozen paintings finished. Depending on scale of course. And my energy level. Heh.
Anyway, when I am finished with the color glazes, the surface has some spots that are shinier that others, because in some areas I use Liquin more than in other areas. So to even it out I brush a clear coat over the entire surface. This is not really for use as protection the way varnish is, it just evens out the dull spots and also brings out the color. A more matte finish would make the paintings look entirely different.
I have read conflicting opinions about using liquin as a varnish in some of the artist forums. But personally, I have always used it as a last coat (except for some experimenting in college) and have never had any problems with it. The pieces that I coated with Liquin 20 years ago in college, still look great (well except for a few dings from being stored poorly in garages, attics and barns over the years, but that's a whole different issue). I can rework the painting if I want to or repair it if necessary, without having to remove and then reapply varnish. The last coat dries overnight, although if I am going to pack it up for shipping, I try to wait at least a few days.
I know that most painters apply varnish, but I have to say that having to do that might be a deal breaker for me! I am way too lazy to deal with varnish. Guess that could be considered another one of my limitations. Heh.