The shapes and colors are varied yet balanced, the final touches have been added, and the paint is dry. The painting is done- and yet there is still much to be done. One of the most important steps to make a painting look and feel complete and professional is to add medium and varnish.
I don’t love finishing and varnishing my work, but man, does it make a difference. It helps bring everything together- it unifies and completes- and more importantly, it protects. So don’t neglect the final (maybe tedious) stage!
Alright, so here’s what I do:
1. First I spray the work with fixitive. I use a lot of graphite, and it can smudge under the first layer of medium if I’m not careful.
2. Then I sign my work. I decide which way is up, and choose my writing utensil. I love the softness of pencil. This may require some Absorbant Ground by Golden to help it stick.
(Sometimes I use a Micron Pen.)
3. Next I add a layer of GAC 100 by Golden. This helps guard against SID (support induced discoloration). It is as terrifying as it sounds. I never want to forget this step, so I write a note on the back of each panel.
(This tells me that I have GAC 100 on top of the painting)
4. I add one or two layers of Liquitex Pouring Medium. This smooths everything out, creates unity and beauty. Mmmm. But I never add more than two coats- as it can increase the risk of SID (gasp!).
(See how glossy and smooth it is after 1 coat?)
5. Finally, I add a thin layer of Polymer Varnish with UVLS (satin) by Golden. This will help protect against UV rays. (We gotta do all we can!) It also creates a beautiful, soft, elegant sheen.
And there you have it. It’s a lot of work- but necessary, important work that adds layers of beauty and protection.