Sealing and varnishing Ampersand panels
Sealing and varnishing finished artwork on Ampersand panels is extremely important especially when framing without glass. Be sure to select a varnish that is appropriate to the type of paint you are using. Below is our list of suggestions for sealing and varnishing popular mediums using products we have successfully tested on our panels.
Watercolor and gouache
Seal watercolors or gouache with several light coats of spray varnish (or fixative), being careful to spray outdoors during warmer months or in a well ventilated and heated area during colder times of the year. We recommend the Krylon® UV Archival varnishes. These spray varnishes offer advanced non-yellowing protection against fading, dirt, moisture, and discoloration. The Krylon UV Archival varnishes contain superior levels of UV light absorbers and are removable for conservation purposes. For additional protection against scratches during transport and also ultraviolet light, follow the application of Krylon spray varnish with Golden® MSA UVLS or Golden® Polymer UVLS varnish. About 4 brushed-on coats provides a very durable archival finish and is also removable for conservation purposes.
Ampersand panels do not lessen the drying time required for oil paints before varnishing. Allow the oil painting to dry for 3-6 months before applying the varnish. A good choice is Gamblin’s Gamvar that is easily applied using a soft natural hair brush. Unlike varnishes made from natural resins like Damar and mastic, Gamvar does not yellow with age or become more difficult to remove. It contains a UV stabilizer and offers some measure of protection to less lightfast pigments, depending on how heavily it is applied.
For Acrylic paintings, a light coat of an acrylic varnish like Golden® MSA UVLS or Golden® Polymer UVLS varnish is advised. Problems such as smoke damage, handling blemishes, and dust or dirt accumulation on the surface of the painting can be removed along with either varnish type. Golden varnishes offer protection from UltraViolet (UV) rays generated from the sun and consolidate the artwork with an even sheen. Gloss varnishes can intensify colors while Matte or Satin Varnishes soften the color and minimize glare. Alternatively, Gamblin’s Gamvar [see varnishing oils] can effectively be used to varnish acrylic paintings.
Sealing pastels with spray fixative tends to dull the color of the pigments, so we recommend all pastels be framed under glass. The glass protects the fragile nature of the pastels while also keeping their colors true to life. For tips on matting and framing pastels, consult this article.
Seal finished Scratchbord art with an acrylic spray fixative. The fixative will dissolve fingerprints or smudges and will protect the surface from dirt and moisture. For best results, first remove all loose dust and debris from the surface with a soft brush. Then, spray with 2-3 coats [or as directed on can] in a warm, well ventilated environment during low humidity.