Oil Paint Varnishes – Winsor & Newton

R589.00R1 099.00

Adding the right varnish, in the right way, is a sound investment to ensure your finished oil or acrylic painting stays looking its best. Varnish protects the painting from dirt and dust and evens out the painting’s final appearance, making it all equally glossy or matt. It is important to wait until oil paintings are thoroughly dry (6-12 months) before varnishing.

Over the years, dirt and dust will stick to the varnish, rather than the painting. When the time is right, the varnish itself can be removed and the painting re-varnished to make it look as good as new. An alternative to this is Retouching Varnish that gives a temporary layer of protection that can still be painted on unlike other artists’ varnishes. To achieve this, it is best to keep subsequent layers of colour as “fat” as possible (thinned with lots of oil medium like Refined Linseed Oil, Poppy Oil, etc.) and applied as finely as possible. A final layer of artists’ varnish should then be applied after the last oil application has been allowed to dry for at least 6 months. It is not necessary to remove the retouching varnish before applying the final varnish.

Shake well before use. Do not use as a mediums.

Available options:

  • Artists’ Matt Varnish.
  • Artists’ Retouching Varnish.
  • Professional Dammar Varnish.


Artists’ Matt Varnish:

  • Quick-drying.
  • UV resistant – non-yellowing.
  • Does not bloom or crack.
  • Removable with Artists’ White Spirit  or Distilled Turpentine.


Professional Dammar Varnish:

  • Traditional varnish with a high-gloss finish.
  • Easy to use: simply spray the aerosol evenly over piece from a distance of around 30cm.
  • Removable with Distilled Turpentine.
  • Suitable for fine art.


Artists’ Retouching Varnish:

  • Gives temporary protection to recently completed oil paintings that have dried to the touch.
  • UV resistant gloss varnish.
  • Can be painted on top of.
  • Quick-drying.
  • Use thinly.


View our range of Winsor & Newton products.

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What types of finished surfaces can be varnished?
Varnishes work well with oil and acrylic because the paint films are relatively thick and separate from the surface.

Varnishes do not work well with gouache, watercolour and drawings, because they will be absorbed by the paint and/or paper, becoming an integral part of the picture. This could cause discolouration. Additionally, varnish on drawings and gouache or watercolour works cannot be removed.


Tips on how to use Winsor & Newton aerosol varnishes (and precent clogged nozzles):

  • Try not to store aerosols below 15C (59F). If they have been stored around this temperature do not use them until they come up to room temperature again. This is because all aerosols contain a mix of product and propellant and at lower temperatures, the products want to “drop out of solution”. If this happens they could either block the nozzle or come out in blobs and fall on your work.
  • Always shake the container vigorously before use to ensure the contents are homogenous.
  • Always hold the container upside down and spray for a couple of seconds. This will send a spray of propellant only out of the nozzle and clear it. Always do this at the end of use as well, to clear the nozzle of material build-up.
  • Be careful if using the container extensively over a short period, as the contents’ temperature will drop with a potential for the product to drop out of solution. This applies to all aerosols but is only likely to be noticed during extensive use.
  • Always spray with the can almost vertical and allow the contents to “cascade” onto the work.
  • When spraying, the can should be held at least 25-30cm (10-12 inches) away from the work.
  • Mount the work on a support that you don’t mind spoiling and spray side to side beyond the extremities of the work to ensure full coverage.
  • For porous, unprimed surfaces such as card, canvas, hardboard or plaster, apply a thin layer of gloss varnish before using any matt or satin varnish.

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