At the stores we find many types of varnish, both finishing spray and liquid brush-on varnish.  What should you use and how?   The liquid brush-on goes further, but personally, I prefer the sprays.  The reason being that I have found the brush-on will chip or peel.  Perhaps I am putting it on too thick, perhaps not.  I just prefer to use spray.

     That said,  there are many varieties of spray varnish.  How is each used?  To make it easier for you to decide, I picked up a KRYLON flyer at our local Hobby Lobby art/craft store and took a photo of it for you to see.  I have typed in the explanations as the lettering is too small for you to read in a photo.  Hopefully this will help you to know which will work best for your situation.

Finishing sprays protect from the elements of nature.  Most have UV protection, plus they help prevent smearing, dirt marks and scratches.  Most importantly, they really make a painting look FINISHED!  A painting that has been varnished looks much richer and the colors appear much deeper.  This makes a HUGE difference especially in acrylic paintings!!  Once you have tried it, you will never go back, believe me!

                                     DESCRIPTION OF TYPES OF VARNISH

1.   UV ARCHIVAL varnish has extra UV light absorber, so it's great for long-term sunlight protection.  It comes in Gloss, Satin and Matte finishes.  Be sure to check which it is before buying.  The finish is listed just below the word ARCHIVAL.

2.   MATTE VARNISH reduces light reflection and eliminates glare-great for use on stencils, ceramics and photographs.  I do not recommend this for acrylic paintings, however, as it just doesn't give the same richness to the painting as a gloss finish will.

3.   RETOUCH VARNISH works as a temporary sealant to protect oil paintings-while still allowing them to deep dry-until final varnish can be applied.

4.   GLOSS VARNISH protects your surface while maintaining a polished sheen.

5.   QUICK DRY SPRAY works like a medium to speed up drying time and increase flow-ideal for use on oil paintings.


     The bottom line here is this: if you paint in ACRYLICS,  I recommend choosing either # 1 or # 4!  I use both, depending on which is in stock at the time. (I buy several cans at one time if on sale, otherwise, I use my 40% off coupon for one can each time I go)  But I ALWAYS BUY GLOSS!!! Never Satin or Matte!! They do protect, but do NOT give the beautiful rich finish that is so desirable!  This step alone makes everyone think that my acrylic paintings are actually done in oils, and that is important to me.

                                                       HAPPY PAINTING!!

     BTW,  below are photos of my two latest paintings.  Both are 30 x 40 (large paintings are big this year)  and both are currently on display at the Back 40 Urban Cafe in St. Augustine, FL along with some 'Ocean Meditations' paintings.

30 x 40
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas

30 X 40
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas

The latest painting I sold is one of my 'Ocean Meditations' series.  I have a photo of it below for you to see.  Enjoy!

12 x 24
Mixed Media

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