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Artist Tip: Varnishing a Watercolour

November 14, 2011

I made a small pen and ink drawing with watercolor on a bright white piece of Bristol-like board, but this one did not look so great.  The waterproof ink was glossy, and the paint was very matte.  I didn’t like the contrast between the two.  This contrast was very noticeable on the rigid board but not on paper, because the ink soaked into the paper.

You can varnish a watercolour painting.  People mostly do not do this, and let the watercolour paints express the painting in their natural form.  I wanted to have a uniform glossy sheen so the drawn ink lines did not stand out from the paint.  Varnish bounces around light and the colors came out just richer from the coating.  I used my trusty favorite spray on varnish in a nice, even coat.  If you have a watercolour painting that you do not like the surface texture of, try a layer of varnish.  Be warned that this step is permanent; you might want to experiment in advance.

Categories: Artist Tips, Uncategorized
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