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Gouache painters: to seal or not

If you are an artist selling gouache paintings, do you seal them or leave unsealed. If left unsealed, how do you mail the painting safely to protect the paint surface.

I have been playing with gouache lately and my friend has been doing it for years. She suggested I use a cold wax sealer. I put two coats on and buff it. I think it is called Dorlan’s Cold Wax. When I ship I put the painting into a glassine bag or a plastic sleeve. I have only been painting very small paintings 4x6 or smaller so far, but want to try some larger sizes soon. Right now we are in a big heatwave in Calif. 103+ days! My studio is just too hot to go out there right now. And the smoke from all the fires is horrible. Pray for California.

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Thanks for replying. I have so far sprayed 3-4 times with a matte archival spray sealer on the gouaches. Then I have put the cold wax on and buffed it. However, with that the colors do darken. I do like the lighter colors that are there before I seal it. So I’ve been wondering how artists who do not seal them, wrap them for mailing and do they instruct the buyer to keep it protected until it is framed under glass.

I’m so sorry. I lived in California for a while. California seems to take a beating every year now. If it’s not drought, it’s fires. And all this with a pandemic going on. Stay safe.

Hi Maureen.

I’m no expert on gouache. I haven’t used it for years but I am familiar with it’s properties.
Honestly I really don’t think you should attempt to seal it.
I’d invest instead in some really nice glassine sleeves to put the work into and leave it at that.
Good luck.

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Thank you Jacqueline for your advice. I might try that from now on, so that the gouache keeps it’s nice matte look and doesn’t darken as it does with a sealer.

We used to live in CA and my brother lives in the Bay area. The summer fires seem to come every year now. I’m sorry for what you are going through.

Hi there, I do paint with gouache a lot and sell it. I do not seal it, because sealing will change how it looks, colors, values and matte finish I love gouache for.
How I ship: wrap in tracing paper first, then clear plastic bag, then 2 sheets of heavy unbendable cardboard, then waterproof envelope. Seems to be working well

Thank you Julia for the information. I think I’m going to try it that way. I’ve been sealing them, but like you said, it changes how the gouaches look. I have glassine paper for covering a pastel, so I might us that.Thanks for your advice.

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I looked at your gallery page. Your work is beautiful! Do you use watercolor paper or illustration board. I’ve been using Canson watercolor board. but I see that some professionals do them on watercolor paper and mask off a 1-2" wide border around the painting.

Thank you Maureen! That’s exactly how I do it - watercolor paper and masking tape and working on board

I love the look of gouache, and watercolor and gouache used together, but switched to acrylics because i didn’t like having to frame them under glass. I read an article by Lena Rivo describing how she varnishes mounted gouache paintings so framing without glass is possible. I realize that this will darken the colors somewhat…but are there any other drawbacks to doing this? Has anyone tried framing watercolors or gouache on board without glass?

I do varnish mine, and in the past have sprayed them with Krylon, and then have rubbed cold wax on them. I recently have done the technique in Lena Rivo’s video. The colors do darken a small bit. You can always paint your values a little lighter to compensate. I don’t want to have to frame under glass, so I would rather varnish them. I prefer a satin look, no the gloss, but I think you do have to spray first with a gloss spray, then a matte or satin, and then the liquitex liquid varnish of your preference.

I do not varnish mine. Didn’t find that varnish Lena uses, must be from UK. The only one I have found was spray. Read the label, lot’s of possible negative effects on human health, no thanks :slight_smile: I also like matte finish of gouache, that varnishing will kill. Someone advised to use cold wax medium, that sounds interesting, but I have not tried it yet

I think you are correct. I’ve never sealed one but I don’t use gouache that often. Also I’ve heard that there is no need to varnish acrylic (if you use acrylic gouache).