I'm always on the hunt to try new oil painting products and I decided to try out Gamblin's Gamvar gloss varnish. For anyone new to varnishing: varnish is used after a painting has dried and the artist wants to bring back a richer surface. It brings back sunken in looking colors and there's many different types of varnish from matte to glossy. I personally prefer a gloss varnish. I had previously been using Winsor and Newton's gloss varnish.
The first thing I noticed about Gamvar is that it has almost no odor at all. This is really nice since it's good to varnish paintings indoors with no windows open. Varnishing outside or with windows open can cause dust and other particles to land on your canvas and set in when the varnish dries.
The second thing I like about the Gamvar is that the bottle is really easy to open; this might sound like an obvious feature, but Winsor and Newton has bottles with a black safety top that are SO ANNOYING to open and I usually end up breaking the tops off (Get on that W+N).
The Gamvar is also water-like in it's consistency, I really like this because a little bit of Gamvar spreads across the surface really nicely and goes a long way. Other varnishes dry really quickly and get sticky and tacky almost instantly.
I'm still waiting for the first coat of Gamvar to dry to see if I need another coat, but I have to say right now that Gamvar is the best oil painting varnish that I've used. I've used all types of varnish (including the traditional dammar and copal) and I love the way Gamvar looks and feels. Besides gloss, they also have a matte and satin finish, which I haven't used those but I imagine they're also really nice.
Thank you Gamblin for a terrific product, I won't be using any other varnish from now on.
*The images below show some progress shots as I used the Gamvar on some recent and older paintings. I'm going to see how the Gamvar dries and might apply a second coat after 24 hours.
UPDATE: After the first coat dried, the gloss lost a little shine so I decided to add a second coat. The first coat dried after 24 hours so I applied another thin coat and now it looks great.