Embrace Change

by lesley // posted on Feb 26, 2018

Aerosol varnishes, both retouch and final, have been my go to method for years.  As long as they were applied in a well ventilated area and where over-spray wasn't a concern, they served me well....until now.

This past year I've encountered new caps that are a nightmare to remove, globby sprays (as opposed to fine mists)  and leaky nozzles that become gummy and blocked.  Seems manufacturers can't leave well enough alone.  Essentially the changes are less about product improvement and more about marketing.

Further research has led me to give Gamblin's Gamvar a try.  Gamvar is a liquid varnish that goes on water clear, dries clear, is odourless and can be removed with Gamsol if desired.  You have a choice of three finishes: matte, satin, or gloss.  It really is odourless and over-spray isn't a concern so it can be applied right in the studio.  


 So far I've tried it on Gessobord and wood panel.


It covered well on both surfaces.  I tried both a 1" bristle brush and a sponge applicator on a stick.  I preferred the sponge only because it didn't leave brush marks but the brush worked well too.  I haven't yet tried it on canvas but expect it to behave just as well on that surface.

Just thought I'd pass this along in case you too have encountered problems with the new aerosol containers.

Tell us your preferred varnishing method and products that work well for you.  If you choose not to varnish your work, please share your reasoning behind that decision in the interest of learning from one another.


Good to know you too like Gamvar Erin. Forgot to mention another advantage of sponge over brush - they're disposable!

Tamar you trod where non-artists fear to tread - good on you :) Thanks for the comment and your curiosity.

I have Gamvar and I love it, but I never thought of using a sponge applicator! Great idea!

I am not a painter (or an artist of any kind), and I still found this interesting! Always fascinating to learn what goes on in the process of getting to the finished masterpiece. Thank you!

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