Saturday, February 5, 2022

To Resin or Not

 One reads about artists and their inspirations, their muses. Sometimes it is just sitting in front of the canvas and letting my imagination flow. Other times, I have an idea I hope I can articulate with the paints. In both cases, sometimes I am successful, other times I am not.

Over the years I have read more about painting and taken advantage of advice offered from successful artists. I have accumulated supplies that I think I need, trying to balance the best quality for the money, keeping in mind the idea that "professional" products will not make one a professional.

In reading articles, I learned that you prep your canvases days ahead of putting paint to cloth.Then the art of mixing paints and how to clean up my mess. In looking at the works of other artists, I saw that there final products were bright, with a glass like finish, and spectacular colors. As I watched my paintings dry, the colors become darker and more dull. Obviously I was missing something.

It didn't take me long to find the "something". It was resin or varnish applied to the painting 3 or 4 weeks after the painting completely dries and airs out. Reading further I saw that there were multiple types of medium to use, and naturally, there is much controversy and differences of opinion over the best to use. Reading through the pros and cons of the process and different products I found myself overwhelmed by both the number of choices as well as the process involved. Little did I know that the creation of the work is the easy part.

There were articles about the number of layers of resin needed. You need to mix the resin and the hardener in exact proportion. The mixer needs to be stirred for exactly 3 minutes. The canvas has to be exactly level. After applying the resin mixture it is necessary that all bubbles be removed. Then the canvas needs to be covered so no dust or hair get into the resin coat.

Reading further says that additional coats are up to the artist, according to their preference. It take 8 hours to reach the "tacky" stage, 12 hours before it can be touched, and then 24 hours to completely harden. However, should one want to apply an additional coat (naturally 2 or 3 are recommended), that needs to be done 3 hours after the initial application. Oh, and did I mention that one needs to be sure the resin mixture does not get on any unwanted surface.

I was exhausted just thinking about all this. There had to be an easier way. Then, eureka! There is a spray varnish that is easy to apply as well as any additional applications one wants. I purchased a can. In reading more (which I should have never done) I found that the use of "spray" resins is frowned upon. The result is not  nearly as effective as using traditional resin. Back to the drawing board, and Amazon to order some traditional resin.

The package arrived. I read the instructions that were intimidating at best, confusing at most. But I soldiered on, carefully following the steps. I will spare you the details of the application. Needless to say by the time I was finished, I was totally frustrated with the process. There were places on the canvas where the resin refused to adhere, bubbles in the finish, and cleaning up was almost impossible.

How bad could the spray be after all? Perhaps a true resin coating is over rated. . . . But then that thick glass like finish is hard (no pun intended) to resist.

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