After a discussion in a Facebook group about sealing art with wax instead of varnish, I decided to do a little test. I had an old can of Renaissance Wax that I’ve used for sealing copper in years past, had never tried it on papers and it had never occurred to me to smear it over a painting.
The test subjects, left to right, are 2 acrylic pours on canvas board (one leaning on glass container) that were previously sealed with a gloss varnish – the wax dulled the gloss a bit and they’re no longer tacky. I can stack them now without them trying to stick together. In front of them (lower left) is a pale pencil drawing – think prismacolors (picked a variety of old works that won’t may me cry if destroyed in test). There was slight color lift while applying the wax but overall, the wax did brighten it a bit.
Next to those first three is an alcohol ink abstract on yupo. There was serious color lift applying the wax, but could buff it so as to not leave color streaks. The end result left a smooth plastic feel. It’s a use at risk on alcohol inks.
The next two were a fiasco. The pink one is a Faber-Castell polychromos pencil drawing outlined with a fine line Sharpie and the wax dissolved the black ink. I was able to buff the smears off, leaving the lines just a faded memory of black. The pastel drawing below it was destroyed, as expected.
The last drawing (below the can) was also done in polychromos. There was a slight color lift evident on the buff cloth, but the result was fairly decent.
Waxing the 5×5 acrylic on hard gessobord (shown leaning in back – all others are ACEO size) achieved the best results. There was no color lift and the wax gave the varied dullness a nice, even finish with a soft glow.
In conclusion, I’d wax acrylics again in a heartbeat but think twice before carefully waxing over pencils or alcohol inks.
Thanks for reading!