Is Varnishing Acrylics Necessary?

by Kathleen Huebener in Painting Tips


Previously I had thought it wasn’t necessary. But I changed my mind after viewing the artwork of Winslow Homer that was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in April of 2008. It was the museum’s eye-opening “before” and “after” photos of Winslow Homer’s artwork after cleaning that convinced me. What dramatic changes the “after” photos showed! The colors of the original works were restored to vibrancy again.

Now I realize realistically that most of us artists will never have our paintings mounted in museums for centuries to come. But some of us presently have paintings being exhibited in restaurants, coffee houses, and other establishments with possible pollution problems: smoke, cooking oils, or even candle soot. If the need for our artwork to be cleaned ever arises, it is imperative for the artwork to be varnished in the correct manner.  
There are many good tutorials, articles, and videos on varnishing. But it was hard for me to make a decision without seeing the effect directly on my artwork. I needed to experiment with various varnishes. Next blog will be what I discovered varnishing one of my acrylic paintings.