I am in a painting frenzy. A painting, collaging, varnishing frenzy. It is ugly and the studio looks like a pig sty; I am down to perhaps an 8 inch square work space, having covered every visible surface (and there are a lot of them) with some work in progress. It is scary.
A varnishing mad woman, that's me, doing all the pieces I finished last week. And hoping to heck I can get them to dry down to travel to the show tomorrow. That's what waxed paper is for, right?
Anyway, my varnish is acting funky again. The polymer gloss varnish looks kind of chalky, definitely very matte looking, ugh, ugh, ugh, not what I wanted and not consistent with the rest of my work. It has happened before and I have been puzzled about the cause.
So I spontaneously picked up the phone yesterday and called Golden. I explained my issue and was instantly connected to a wonderful tech support guy who is my new best friend. Lucky for me, he is into over-analysis of art products (my male twin) so together we carefully discussed every single angle of my isolation coat and varnish process. I confessed that we have a water softener which was my prime suspect. In fact, I had previously switched to bottled water because I was worried about the water softener.
Here's the skinny for anyone who might be using a similar product - water based varnish that requires diluting - the water softener is a deal killer. It puts salt in the varnish and can look yucky and chalky. I've gotten mixed results though because if you pre-mix a batch and don't use it for awhile, the salt settles to the bottom and the varnish could work ok(or at least it seems like it does) if you don't stir it. If you do stir it, the salt might kick up and dull your piece. Or not. Depends on how much is in there, etc, etc, etc. Which is why I have had such inconsistent results. Which makes sense, EXCEPT I had already switched to bottled water awhile back.
Well, Golden Guy says I probably have minerals in my bottled water that are doing the same thing.
Duh. Never thought of that.
The answer: distilled water. This is not found in the drinking water section of the grocery as I just discovered. In our store, it's by the ironing stuff, by spray starch, detergent and such.
Problem solved. I mixed up a new batch and everything looks great. I am going to keep this water on hand and use it in any diluted or mixed product. For instance, when I am making paste paper and mixing up my paste.
And Golden..........well what can I say, they truly are. The attention to customer service is amazing.