Watercolors that don't require glazing

Sherry Lee

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 25, 2002
Phoenix, Az.
I have an artist that states there is a new kind of paper for her watercolors in which, when the art is completed, it is sprayed with matte Krylon "which saves it". It is supposedly then framed like an oil, without glass.

Has anyone heard of this "new technique"?
I don't think I would EVER spray anything on a watercolor. The spray might make the paint run. AND... there is no such thing as a substrate that will change watercolors into a permanent paint.

They might be thinking of the new watercolor canvas. It is a canvas that has been designed for watercolor painting. It comes as a canvas board, or you can buy it by the yard. You still will want to glaze the painting to protect it from moisture.

In case you were thinking this, I NEVER spray anyone's artwork. If they want it done, they do it......AND, I never encourage it either.

Personally, I think the artist's are simply looking for a way to cut their framing costs.....and we all (framer's) know what that outcome is!
No, and according to the CCI glazing an oil is not a bad thing.
Are they going to stretch it on bars like an oil? Dry mount it?

Or just smoosh it into a frame with some corrugated backing?

We glaze $5 coated posters mainly 'cause, if we don't, they look like $5 posters.

I think a watercolor, sprayed with Krylon and framed w/o glazing, would look like a $5 poster - unworthy of glazing.

But I'm in Wisconsin. We'll need to hear from the two coasts to find out if this is a trend. If it is, I'll have at least five years before I need to worry about it.
Sherry I am with Sue on this one and would advise tha artist to rethink their technique. But as I have just said on another thread ,"I have very limited Art Medium Knowledge" .But I do have some and what I have been taught coupled with the Framing knowledge I have says this is one of the worst ideas some ARTIST have.

Have you asked this artist where they were taught this amazeing new and innovative technique and what the credentials of the instructor were? ( in my very limited experience with TRUE artist types I have been told that sprying of fixitives or coating with lacquers on WC,Cavasses and even some photos can eventually give the work a distorted yellowing appearnace.)

It is my understanding that this is one of those old wives tales of the art world. But as Sue said ,WC by it's nature will probably rejuvinate and may run with the addition of anything in a liquid form.It fact I have been told that some artist utilize this principle to alter a finished work that isn't quite what they wanted.
Okay, Jerry's with me, Buddy's with Sue and poor Lance is still dancing all alone.

Come on, people, he's an attractive*, bright, single guy!

*According to my daughter, who is allowed to have opinions about this as long as the single guy lives at the other end of the world.
Another vote from the framing capital of the world....no to the idea of spraying a watercolor and not using glass. Geez, who do these artists think they're dealing with?
I wouldn't worry about the pigment so much as the paper. Even sprayed with a sealant the paper is exposed to household pollutants and dust. How would you go about cleaning something like this.
The glazing acts as a physical barrier to protect the paper.
A gallery in south Florida was (back in the 70's) mounting a particular artist's watercolors to linen, varnishing over the watercolor, and stretching the painting like a canvas. The varnish discolored over the years, and the paper oxydized. The cost to recover from the process done so many years ago exceeds the original purchase price. Fortunately, the piece will have a much greater value once the restoration process is complete.
maybe suggest to the artist they could decopauge it to a pice of plywood, varnish it, and then you'll frame it.

Artists are almost always thier own worst enemy.They're in a tough situation especially the ones that don't market themselves successfully,if at all. It's sort of like us framing for free.
In the years of dealing with them, I have found it easiest to treat them as you would any client, but when they ask for an artist discount have one available that you stick to.Eventually you'll get a handful of artists that understand and respect the work you do for them.
Funny, an artist I know came in today with a watercolor that he had varnished and glued onto gatorboard.
He said he's calling it mixed media.

It must be a new trend.
Fredrix has fairly recently come out with a "Watercolor Artist Canvas". That is probably what your customer is talking about. Fredrix advetises that it can be framed with glass or without if it is spraycoated. It is available prestretched onto stretcher bars, as panels, in pad form as sheets and on rolls. I think it came out last spring. We have some available in our store but have sold very little of it and I haven't seen any come back to be framed. I'd warn the customer per the advice previously posted. I'm sure the spray will make it look less like a watercolor and more like an acrylic or oil wash which is what I'd reccomend my customers use if thats what they want. I have my doubts that this stuff will really catch on as it's hard to figure out many good reasons to use it. Of course past history says I'm usually dead wrong about these things so you better be ready. I'd rather they sprayed it themselves if thats what they really want but would do it for them (for an appropriate fee of course) as long as they were aware of the possible risks in something that I have no more experience with than they do. More info is available at www.fredrixartistcanvas.com
Once these ideas get into the head of an artist, they are extremely hard to remove.

You must perform an idea-ectomy.

Offer to splash the painting with water.

Hand it to a two-year-old who has just learned that you can do more with crayons than eat them.

Suggest hanging it in the kitchen of the local legion hall in honor of their Friday night fish fry.

Then gently repeat your assertion that watercolors should be glazed.

Tough love is never easy but this situation requires strong measures.

Good luck.

When "idea-ectomy" appears in the OED next year, can it be used to postpone the inevitable entry of "scrapbooking?

Pat :D :D
Some of the new inkjet inks and the papers they print on also act like watercolors - they're not "sneeze-proof" :D

These printers and their users ("artists") have spurred a proliferation of laminators in all sorts of configurations and sizes w/ the main purpose of extending the "life" of the art. As framers, most of us have done laminating at one time or another and similar to anything sprayed on an original, is irreversible.

I would use caution regarding these sprays and attempt to educate these "artists" - Although my "artists" prefered no frames or glazing - they just liked to use magnets
A few years ago....

Ok, so it was in 1973, we had a watercolor artist who combined forces with his wife who was a paper maker and sculpter.

They had us custom mill a float frame that they could mount the paper to. (think 2,000 lb weight with beautiful decal edges. About 3/8 -1/2" thick) This way the water colored paper "Floated in mid-air" . . . AND "exposed it to the maximum amount of environmental degradement possible".

Now those were artists who understood their art.

The high faluten name for it is "Wasting Art". It is made to NOT be perserved.

I have a sneaking feeling, the idea is coming back. I have had customers asking for a "high acid content mat" lately.... maybe we need to raise the price...?
Where would you locate a new, high acid-content mat? Every one of 'em starts out acid-free for at least a few weeks.
Ron's comment about the use of everyday ink jet printers as a substitue for Giclees was brought to may attention just yesterday.

While helping the PBs art auction that we annually do,I received a couple of nice looking prints that turned out to be what appered to be regular thin paper printed on a compueter witha color ink jet. These were nowhere close to the quality of a Gilee,even a poor one. However I know many artist thought they were one and the same.

we yesterday i took in 4 items for framing from a former business accquaintance and good customer. they were a diploma,two litho prints from the couples recent trip to San Fransico and a print that looked like w WC of a Streetcar on St Charles ave. in N.O.. The last one was the reason for the reminder and KIT's last comment as well.

The work was double matted and mounted alreay. The couple wanted to change the mats and were very proud of the work since the artist ( another close accquataince and contributor ro the Art auction) Roger Carrington was well known for his WC work . Upon examination (since they wanted to save the backing with the stamp and signature of this recntly deceased ( 2 mos. ago)artist)I discoverd that the mount board was corrugated cardboard and that the mats had been attched to it with foldeed over masking tape on all for sides. I had to be very carefull since this tape had the highest tack i have evr seen. When i removed the mats i discoverd that the work was one of those INK JET copies on which Mr. Carrinton had left the Streetcar side plagered blank to personalize the work with the purchasers name.

I have in my possesion a few of this artist works which are true water colors even though one bares a inked title and another was personalized for the Former N.O. Saints Place Kicker Martin Anderson.So i know he produced nice work previously but this was far from that quality. And the matting and mounting were atricious. But I am sure he felt it was just as nice as any Giclee and framed suitably also.
Which make Ron and especially Kit's comment "Once these ideas get into the head of an artist, they are extremely hard to remove." very accurate.
Artists who think that they can preserve the pigments, gums, and paper on which watercolor is
done with a thin layer of sprayed on sealant are
going to regret their optomism. It is impossible
to know how much spray sealant has been deposited
on the surface and an uneven coating will lead
to uneven aging. Some charcoals that have been
sparyed end up looking as if they have been attacked by graffiti vandals, since the spraying shows up as they age. Glazing materials are critical to the protection of watercolors.

This thread is probably the closest thing I've seen to a consensus since I first arrived here.

Pretty much everyone agrees it's a bad idea.

I think Baer agees, but I'm not certain.
I agree Ron (Baer?), 'Isn't It LOVELY' (old song)?? I can't wait to present my new 'convoluted?' idea presented by another artist. It is a new twist on framing pastels - presented in a pastel magazine, but I want to read the pages written on it before sharing.

Until then, thanks to all!! You made Ron's day, perhaps even week, month or year!
Originally posted by D_Derbonne:
Funny, an artist I know came in today with a watercolor that he had varnished and glued onto gatorboard.
He said he's calling it mixed media.

It must be a new trend.
Nah. That's not new. Self-destructive art has been produced all along. But who knew? Only a few, because nearly all of those self-destructive works are no longer with us.

If there is a trend, it is that artists don't seem to care how long their works last. Aren't we fortunate that Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and all the rest of the "Masters" didn't feel that way? If their works had self-destructed, what would we admire in our art museums today?
If there is a trend, it is that artists don't seem to care how long their works last.
That explains the orange gates and curtains in Central Park. I heard that it cost somewhere in the $21 million range. Imagine the children we could feed for that kind of money.
Originally posted by Walt C:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> If there is a trend, it is that artists don't seem to care how long their works last.
That explains the orange gates and curtains in Central Park. I heard that it cost somewhere in the $21 million range. Imagine the children we could feed for that kind of money. </font>[/QUOTE]I thought the same this morning when it was reported that the artist visited the site to see how the gates were holding up in the inclement weather. ALL that money spent on this and the durability is in question??
I am in need of a short and easy to understand and completely up to date explanation of the Giclee process. I need to give this to some artist types at a PBS Art Auction so that they can understand the differance between the real thing ( not Coca -Cola) and the older ,outdated ,immataions ( a la Ink Jet prints on regular Paper) often substituted by some uninformed artist.
Can anyone make any recommandations?
Charles BUDDY Drago CPF ®
Needles and Knots