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Zest-it® Damar Retouching Varnish

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About Zest-it® Damar Retouching Varnish

Varnishes in general.

The primary role of any varnish is to protect the surface of a painting or object. Varnishing a painting is an important factor in the archival life of an oil painting. Damar Varnish (sometimes spelt Dammar) is the traditional varnish for oil paintings and has stood the test of time. The painted surface needs to dry before any varnish is applied, with oil paint this is a slow process as the oils dry by oxidization and need air to do this. Depending on the thickness of the paint this can take between 3 to 12 months. Varnishing needs to be carried out on a dry day with little air flow for best results. It is always better to apply varnish in thin coats allowing drying in-between. Apply with a soft brush and even strokes. Protect from dust whilst drying. Always test on a small area before applying to the painting.
Damar Retouching Varnish information is on this page, click the link for Damar Picture Varnish.

retouching varnish
Zest-it® Damar Retouching Varnish



soft brushvarnish brush
Soft brushes suitable for varnishing.



gum damarGum Damar Crystals



250 ml retouching varnish
Zest-it® Damar Retouching Varnish

Zest-it Damar Retouching Varnish is made for Zest-it and Gum Damar, you may have read that Gum Damar only dissolves in Turpentine is use to be the case -things have move on. Gum Damar dissolves naturally in Zest-it in about 2 to 3 days without any assistance, apart from the occasional stir. This type of varnish is also referred to as a 'spirit varnish' or 'cold cut varnish' in some written works, because heat is not used to dissolve the resin. Once dissolved we allow the solution to rest before filtering to remove any minute particles that remain in suspension in the solution, the filtered varnish is bright and crystal clear.

The Damar Retouching Varnish can be used to protect a paint that is 'in progress', for reviving dull or sunken area of a painting or mixed with painting medium.
To use it on dull or sunken parts of an oil painting to give back the 'wet' look. For many people this is important when matching colours, as optically wet and dry paint colours look different. Working on a painting that is optically balanced is much easier and more rewarding.

To use the Damar Retouching Varnish:- first use a soft brush to remove any dust from the painting surface. Pour a small amount of the varnish into a pot large enough to accommodate the brush you are using. Lay the painting down, face up, on a flat table or surface.
Load the soft varnish brush with varnish, if varnish drips from the brush then it is over loaded, squeeze some out using the side of the pot.
Starting just outside the dull or sunken area, apply the varnish in small even strokes. Check that the dull areas are covered with varnish by allowing light to fall onto the surface, this will show any areas that do not have varnish.

Leave the painting flat for about 10 minutes whilst you wash out your varnish brush with Zest-it, reshape and put aside to dry. The varnish remaining in the pot you used your brush in, is often best discarded. As it may now contain dust and paint particles, these would contaminate the next painting or the whole bottle if you poured it back in.

Now take the painting and stand it, face down, angled against a wall. This allows the varnish to dry without dust settling on the surface. Place a pencil or the like between the top edge of the painting and the wall, this prevents the painting sticking to the wall.

Check the dryness of the varnish after about one and a half hours, use your knuckle not your finger tips, otherwise your finger print will be in the varnish surface. This varnish dries to a gloss finish.

When you start work on the painting again, colours will be easier to judge as the painting will be more optically balanced, the colours will be more true to the original oil paint used, the surface film with be integrated and stable.

Because the Retouching Varnish is a light varnish, it can be applied to a painting that is touch dry and in progress. The varnish allows the oil paint to breath and continue its drying process, the surface can be painted onto when work on the painting commences.

If you require a very light painting medium, the Retouching varnish can be add to a painting medium to enhance its glossiness and speed drying.

This is a light varnish that can also be used on wood, stone, metal, paper, acrylic paintings and plastic surfaces to give a protective finish. Can also be used with a mouth diffuser for oil pastels, pastels and gouache paintings.

Sizes available - 50 ml; 125 ml; 250ml;500 ml and 1 Litre. Larger sizes on request.

Copyright© Jacqui Blackman 2004

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