dust on oil painting [Archive] - Artist Forum

: dust on oil painting

05-03-2018, 12:45 PM

I am new to painting and I am trying to varnish about 7 paintings for an upcoming show. I started with 2 ones with a white background and noticed after varnishing with Gamvar matte they are covered with dust that is stuck on. Is there a way to prevent this? AND can I repaint over the Gamvar to cover it up?

Much thanks,

M Winther
05-08-2018, 03:14 PM
There is no reason to varnish oil paintings at all. In earlier times, the air was so full of contaminants, and the paintings so valuable, that they saw it necessary. But varnish only degrades paintings. You've already discovered the degradable effect. Unvarnished oil paintings can be cleaned with soap water. The oil paint layer is very sturdy and repels dirt. Georges Braque was appalled when he saw the effect of the conservators' work on some of his paintings. They had mistakenly varnished them, despite the fact that he never used varnish.

07-29-2018, 05:01 AM
M Winther, Following Mark Carder and others, they say that varnishing paintings (with Damar gloss) is essential to restore the fresh, just painted effect and rescue the painting from the patchy opaque look they get when drying.
Why do you think one shouldn't varnish them?

Gin Mellon
08-07-2018, 10:55 AM
I have noticed misc. particles on my canvases... either airborne or from brushes.. if I see them ok, if not.... well... an article I read said that a famous painter's canvas had some bits of sand on it... he had been at the beach..
just carry on if it is too late to somehow pick it off the canvas.. I keep new house-painters brushes around to dust off particles if my painting has dried..

11-14-2018, 03:21 AM
I beleive its good to hire a professional to clean and preserve your paintings.

12-01-2018, 02:11 PM
Varnishing a painting definitely makes the colors much more vibrant and deepens dark tones. I'd never call my artwork ready unless it's been varnished.
I just had the same problems with dust when varnishing today. I'd say the best way to avoid it would be to clean all work surfaces + the painting and brushes properly before starting. Pressurized air cans work nicely for this.