Friday, June 26, 2009

Varnish Disaster Part 2

Well the drippy varnish went sticky instead of drying properly and it was very patchy. On day two I first tried a sponge with solvent on but that seemed to add more dust which was annoying. Worse the paint surface is become increasingly damaged and that whole area now looks a bit of a mess. This is very annoying to say the least in fact I was quite despondent about it but it can't be helped and I did my best.

After the sponge I used a rag again which was much better. It's cotton sheeting, similar to a tea-towel so is lint free but to ensure it was dust free I had to stick masking tape all over it then peel it off. One of those sticky rollers used on clothing would work too I'm sure. The result looked much more even but the paint surface remains damaged. After that, while it was wet I revarnished with gloss varnish and brush. The area is dusty and the overlap between the old dry varnish and the new wet parts on the left is visible but I think this is the best it will get.

Options:

1. Leave it. The dust looks pretty awful and the varnish is very uneven but from a medium distance people don't notice that sort of thing and the varnishing needs to be seen in glancing light to even notice it.
2. When dry apply a new full coat of varnish. That will probably even out the surface but will do nothing about the dust.
3. Carefully try to remove the dust using cotton swabs like a picture restorer. It sounds easier than it is because this varnish turns very sticky and gluey when mixed with solvent. This risks damaging things more. I don't have experience of this. In situations like this I tend to want to try it to gain that experience even if the picture is ruined, because in the long term that knowledge is worth more than one picture. However this is for a competition and I've invested a lot of time into it. Also this whole damage was caused by trying things out when I should have left it.
4. Remove as much varnish as possible, paint over the damaged areas and revarnish. That is a good option if I had the time but I don't. The deadline for the competition is too close. Also this picture has gold leaf in it which might easily be damaged when removing the varnish. I did put an extra careful coat of varnish on the gold area.

I could repaint the picture. If I had time I would. This painting is a paragon of paintings because it's been plagued by disasters and trials and new experiences yet with each one I've tried a fix and started again. Many technical lessons have been learned.

Artistically it remains acceptable. Of course I would correct and change just about everything if I could! I'm not actually satisfied with any part of it as such and could saw this up and weep only a little bit, but the idea would be there even no matter how it was implemented, provided I could convey that to acceptable degree. The hardest part of this saga is that it was better before I messed with it. Perhaps this is fate and I am destined to win this contest with a picture I'm unhappy with. I find that often happens. Onward!

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