A list of my current favorites…
Italian Wax Medium – Old Masters (brand)
Flemish Maroger – Old Masters (brand)
Liquid Lead – Doak (brand): Used sparingly
Tix-O-Gel – Doak (brand): For extremely thick brush work. Strokes keep their shape nicely.
White Sandbox Sand – bought at Home Depot. Ground with a mortar and pestle. The sandy powder yields a very interesting texture.
Liquin Original (Winsor & Newton) – provides a permanent (non-removable), protective coating. Although it isn’t a traditional finishing varnish, it’s common practice for “Trompe L’Oeil” artists to use Liquin as their final coating. Important: only to be applied after the painting has completely dried/oxidized. 1-2 carefully applied, very thin coats leave a uniform matte finish that doesn’t detract from realism effects by adding gloss or visible built-up glossy patches.
Damar Varnish – A single uniform coat works well for the final varnish on all “not-so-fine” detailed pieces.
Damar Retouch Varnish (spray can and liquid) – Used to temporarily correct the luminosity, translucency and color of the paint for matching after the paint has dried/oxidized. Use sparingly. Too much build-up will leave glossy patches, which will be amplified by the final varnish coat.
B67 Resin (Doak) – Robert Doak recommended this when I was searching for a high gloss “even” leveling varnish. It was everything Robert said it would be, and more. It is archival and removable and extremely difficult to work with. Out of the jar it has a honey-like consistency and has to be warmed in a pot of water on a stove-top burner until it’s thin enough to be applied. As it cools it becomes stringy, so the application must be completed very quickly.