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Author Topic: Non-Glossy Damar Varnish
George
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quote:
Originally posted by divina:
...how long should take to dry?

It should dry within a few hours, depending upon the humidity. Also, make sure to allow the varnish and rthe icon to sit in the same room for several hours so that they are at the same temperature.

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George O'Hanlon
Executive Director
Iconofile, Inc.
A nonprofit educational organization about sacred art

Posts: 911 | From: Northern California | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
divina
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Thanks George, the concistency came like melted honey and I have used it like you say, how long should take to dry ?
Thanks again
D

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George
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quote:
Originally posted by divina:
I'm not sure at what temperature do you have to apply the varnish, at room temperature? How do you buff the excess away?

You apply it at room temperature and you absolutely do not touch it once it has been applied. Brush it on with parallel strokes in a single direction.

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George O'Hanlon
Executive Director
Iconofile, Inc.
A nonprofit educational organization about sacred art

Posts: 911 | From: Northern California | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
divina
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Hi George,
I want to use this varnish you have posted the ingredients for, but I'm not sure at what temperature do you have to apply the varnish, at room temperature?
I have allready prepered and I am letting it rest
How do you buff the excess away?

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Jody
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I haven't seen the icon in a number of years, but I am anxious to take a look. I assume the olipha was absorbed and lost it's glossy sheen. Excuse my ignorance as my experience is mostly with acrylic...this however was an egg tempera icon. I thought most of the sheen was due to the "egg" itself and not necessarily the olipha. In any case, you answered my question...thanks.
Posts: 14 | From: Central Pennsylvania | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
George
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quote:
Originally posted by Jody:
She wondered if another coat should be applied? Would that have any adverse effects after so many years?

What does it mean that the olifa is "imperceptible"? Does it mean that it no longer has a glossy appearance? What is the painting layer? Egg tempera? Acrylics? If the olifa was applied correctly it should not be necessary to reapply it. If the olifa was applied over egg tempera, it may appear to have "sunken" into the paint layer, because it has been absorbed by it. This is somewhat typical, although it indicates possibly that the levkas was too absorbent or that not enough binder was used in the egg tempera paint layer. Needless to say, olifa should not be applied over acrylic paints.

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George O'Hanlon
Executive Director
Iconofile, Inc.
A nonprofit educational organization about sacred art

Posts: 911 | From: Northern California | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jody
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This forum about varnishing raises another question for me...I've only ever used stand linseed oil on one occasion. The person who commissioned the piece said that it appears to have "dried up". Which is, I'm sure, what happened. It probably wasn't completely dry when she received it and over the last 5 yrs, the finish is now imperceptible. She wondered if another coat should be applied ? Would that have any adverse effects after so many years ?
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George
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quote:
Originally posted by Thomas:
Is there any uneven soaking problems with this stuff compared to the oil? Does it apply evenly?

As I have explained in other posts, the uneveness of olipha is due to the absorbency of the ground, the ratio of egg yolk to pigment in the tempera layer, and the amount of time the tempera layer has been allowed to dry. Olipha will be absorbed into the ground and tempera layer giving rise to the appearance of dull ("sunken" spots) and gloss mottling on the completed icon painting. The spirit varnish recipe given below has less tendency to be absorbed into the tempera layer. However, if it does it is easy to correct simply by applying another coat of varnish.

--------------------
George O'Hanlon
Executive Director
Iconofile, Inc.
A nonprofit educational organization about sacred art

Posts: 911 | From: Northern California | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tom
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Is there any uneven soaking problems with this stuff compared to the oil? Does it apply evenly?

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Tom

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George
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quote:
Originally posted by david payne:
Is there a down-side to this method over conventional olipha (linseed stand and refined oil)?

There is no down-side to using damar varnish. In fact, from a conservation viewpoint it is superior to traditional olipha. However, damar varnish is not traditional and is not consdiered to be "canonical" by some icon painters, although the latter is debatable. Again from an art conservartion viewpoint, damar is superior because it is fast drying, does not yellow, and is easily removed if it needs to be cleaned. Many painters use pure damar varnish, but the high-gloss is objectionable to some who prefer a satin sheen. The addition of beeswax helps to reduce the glossy appearance of damar and actually renders it more waterproof.

--------------------
George O'Hanlon
Executive Director
Iconofile, Inc.
A nonprofit educational organization about sacred art

Posts: 911 | From: Northern California | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
David
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George,

Is there a down-side to this method over conventional olipha (linseed stand and refined oil)? I have been using a mixture of 1 part stand and 1 part refined linseed and it seems to take weeks to dry and even in a fairly clean area the amount of dust that can accumulate is amazing. Not to mention the fact that some of the pigment sometimes floats into the oil and can cloud the finish.

I would rather use something fast drying if it is just as long lived and acceptable.

Dave

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George
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Here is a recent letter from a reader:

quote:
I've enjoyed your articles. I paint icons for myself, after having learned in several places in the states. I now live in Mendoza, Argentina and I'm getting around to the point of sealing the egg tempera. I'm reluctant to continue using varnish; I don't like the gloss effect. I have also tried a drying oil from Kremer's, but I don't feel skilled enough to apply it correctly. So I thought of shellac mixed with alcohol. Do you feel it is a suitable coating? Thank's for your attention.

Be well, Daniel Grigorio Stepenberg

You may try shellac on the icon, however, shellac typically becomes brittle with age and unless you are using bleached shellac it will affect the color of the painting. If you are uncertain about using oil for the olipha, it is perhaps best to use damar varnish with wax. Although damar is typically very glossy, when applied with wax it softens the visual effect. Here is a recipe that you can use:

DAMAR VARNISH
Ingredients
Damar lumps 1 part
Turpentine 1 part


Place the limps and turpentine in a tightly capped bottle, agitating or turning it daily until the resin has dissolved, which will take several days. Allowing the bottle to stand in warm sunshine accelerates the process.

WAX VARNISH
Ingredients
Beeswax 1 part
Turpentine 3 parts


Over an enclosed electric hotplate, heat both ingredients in a double boiler until the wax melts into solution with the turpentine. Remove from heat; stir from time to time as the solution cools to a very soft paste.

Now heat one part each of the damar varnish and the beeswax varnish together and stir thoroughly. When the wax has melted into the solution and it has become clear, remove from the heat and let cool.

Apply with a clean, natural bristle flat brush. Make sure the room and the icon surface are free from dust. Make sure the varnish and the icon are at the same temperature. Allow both to be in the room for several hours before applying. It should dry in about 15 minutes after application.

--------------------
George O'Hanlon
Executive Director
Iconofile, Inc.
A nonprofit educational organization about sacred art

Posts: 911 | From: Northern California | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged


 
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