Art supplies Mexico Oil Painting Painting Product Review Studio

Painting Sold and Varnished: A Review and How-To with New Pre-Mixed Gamvar Varnish (for oils, acrylics, alkyds)

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 9"x12, oil on panel
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 9″x12, oil on panel

I just sold the painting above and wanted to varnish it with a protective layer before shipping. I’ve been afraid to try traditional damar-based varnish which is prone to drips, bubbles and yellowing. I knew that somehow at least one cat hair would embed itself. So in the past I used a spray-on varnish (which has its own disadvantagse) or just shipped sold paintings without varnishing.

The ORIGINAL 2-part Gamvar Picture Varnish
The ORIGINAL 2-part Gamvar

I’d read that Gamblin’s Gamvar synthetic varnish was easier to use and very archival, developed based on research at the National Gallery of Art. But it came as a two-part kit that you have to gently mix, every hour over eight hours. For me, that is a recipe for failure. I knew I’d get distracted and miss an hour just like when I make a cup of tea, forget about it, and hours later have to throw it out and start over.

New Gamvar Pre-Mixed Picture Varnish
New Gamvar Pre-Mixed Picture Varnish

Now it comes Pre-Mixed! Gamblin just released a pre-mixed version of Gamvar in a 2 oz. bottle containing enough varnish to cover 40 square feet. I called Gamblin with some questions that I didn’t see answered on their website. Their technical support people were on other calls so the operator connected me to their president who cheerfully answered my questions. You can’t beat that for customer service!

My questions and his answers were: