6 tips to strengthen your intuition and make you more creative

Often people come to my courses who want to learn to paint more freely . You want to loosen up and get to the image results with more ease . They have to function in everyday life through work and family and are therefore used to the mind taking the lead and spreading out so much that there is no place for intuition. Lately I have been reading more often about “ gut feeling ”, which ideally is placed next to the mind. Your gut feeling can help you to make decisions in a flash, without your mind weighing all the information for hours. In painting, it often doesn’t help you if you’re just in the “head”. Why? Even if you have mastered all the compositional rules perfectly, the picture may still lack the lightness, the specific swing or the disturbing factor that makes the whole thing really lively and individual. Often I only find pictures interesting when the rules of composition are turned a little upside down. The gut feeling can develop from the experience . In my opinion, it is good if the knowledge slides down a floor and you are more likely to “ feel ” what is to come next. You are then able to play freely with these rules and gain ease, but also your own clarity , because you do not cling to the rules of composition and bite into them.   How do you get out of the mind into the feeling, into your intuition? It is a good idea to open all your senses while painting: To really look carefully is an art that strengthens your perception. But also the other senses like hearing, taste, smell, feeling can help you to work less from the mind. Now you might be wondering what this is about now? Why can hearing be important for painters? I think all of this is good for perceiving more sensitively. There are people who take in their information primarily with their eyes, but there are also people who are auditory-oriented. Others have to feel something to feel what’s going on with it. So: what does it sound like when the paint is warped on the canvas? Does the brush rustle? How does the material you work with smell? Do you feel the pressure with which you guide your painting tool and how does it feel in your hand? To expand your possibilities, it is great if the less developed senses have something to do. And because “tasting” is really difficult when painting, there is a delicious lunch in the studio during all-day courses that stimulates all the senses🙂   Linking the left and right hemispheres of the brain Even if scientists do not agree, I am convinced that by activating both hemispheres of the brain, you can be holistically creative. Among other things , the left hemisphere  should be responsible for the rational handling of tasks. Logical skills, numbers, language, facts are ascribed to her. She has analytical tendencies and likes order. The right half of the brain  is more about fantasy, rhythm and feelings. It should be spontaneous, creative, intuitive and visual and also likes chaos. By networking the two halves, you can benefit from both sides. This can be done, for example, by working with both hands, for example with 2 pens in the right and left hand to draw in yourself (also crosswise). You can also try to approach tasks differently than you are used to: e.g. using your untrained hand to paint or draw. Then you also train the less pronounced half of the brain.   I am a person of movement. Although I also like “lying down” in all its variations (on the sofa, in the hammock, in bed, on the beach), I often only manage to change perspective through movement. I can also relax better through movement than through absolute rest. In the resting position, the thoughts circle in my head all the more, but through the movement I feel my body and the mind is calm ! Try not to just sit or stand in one spot during the painting process. Get moving, go around the table or easel, or put the picture on the floor so you can work with more momentum . You will see how the expression in the picture will change.   Can you only work when you feel like it or would it be helpful if you look for like-minded people with whom you get together too regularly and stick with it, because the communal experience  in the group inspires you? Or is it better when you have peace and quiet, are alone and you can concentrate fully on yourself? Try out how this aspect affects your painting.   How does the room have to be so that you feel comfortable  and you get into a good painting mood? Do you have to cover up or make space to work undisturbed  ? How must the noises be like the light? Does music inspire you or do fragrances open your senses? All of this can help you let the thinking fade into the background for a brief moment.   Stress and too little time kill creativity, as does too strong an inner critic and expectation pressure (also that of other people). Likewise distraction. Switch the phone to quiet when you go to the studio so that you can really get involved in the ” feeling “!   In one of my last week’s courses I had a participant whose intellect first wanted to ” understand ” the further procedure in the picture and who thought many, many steps in advance. After a while the saying came: “I’ll just do it!” Then I knew she was ready to put her mind back a little and dare to venture into the unknown and the unexpected . And I was allowed to accompany you in this important step !  

Angelika, what are you doing with the picture edges?

I am often asked that and I had already told you in one of the last blog articles that I don’t pay so much attention to the edges of my work. However, there are different views and options, which I will briefly explain to you below. 1. You leave the edges as they are . It can also be seen in the large art houses: the traces of work that arise in the painting process can be found on the edge of the picture . Running tracks and splashes are therefore desirable in this case. I think this is an interesting option, it sometimes gives the viewer an insight into how the picture was created. 2. You consciously work in the edges . This is particularly recommended for deeper stretcher frames (XL frame strips) or for picture boards (Casani boxes). I drag all colored areas, lines or collage paper around the corner. The edge is treated like the front of the picture. By incorporating the wide picture borders, I came up with the idea of ​​working on cubes in order to bring the design into three dimensions. 3. You draw at least the color tones around the edge of the picture, a similar color scheme is enough . But since I work the pictures in many layers, I don’t know what the final color will look like until the very end. It is therefore advisable to wait until the work is completely finished, otherwise you will be more concerned with the edge than with the actual motif. 4. You tape off the edge. I’ve really never done that before, but I’ve seen it many times with participants. That way, the edge remains sparkling clean, of course , but looks like a foreign body depending on where the picture is hanging. This can work well on white walls, but less so on colored walls. When viewed from the side, the white border quickly becomes an unwanted focal point. 4. You draw a dark color from the edge to just over the front edge of the picture. This then works like a frame and a bit decorative. The dark edge gives the picture a hold and looks immediately refined. I have seen this with some colleagues. This can make sense, especially with abstract structural images, because the edge then appears calm. 5. You choose a frame, for example a shadow gap frame . Admittedly, that is simply too expensive for me. Since I paint a lot, I sell more often and I rearrange my work at home at least as often, it doesn’t make sense to frame the pictures every time. At times I would have to store them very carefully. But if you really have a great job that finds its final place, a suitable framing can increase the effect of the picture enormously.  

Getting into abstraction – possibilities and ways

My style of painting lies between object and abstraction. Sometimes it’s the inner pictures that I paint, landscapes that I have saved somewhere. But sometimes I also work from photographs. In doing so, I do not implement them one-to-one, but play with different forms of abstraction. The motif is sometimes more, sometimes less easy to recognize. Before I explain the ways to get there, the first question that arises is what abstract or abstract means. An abstract picture is a picture without the character of a representation, so it avoids any reference to representationality. Today’s definition of abstract painting is any form of a simplifying representation that reduces natural impressions. I would call this abstracted. One of the first abstract painters can be called William Turner (1775-1851). In his painting, he was very interested in the mood of the landscape, often only vague outlines can be recognized and the forms begin to dissolve. Another forerunner of abstraction is Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890). The impressionists wanted to depict the object at the moment of its acquisition. Dynamics, emotions and brushwork played a major role. This can be studied very vividly in Van Gogh’s work (e.g. starry night or wheat field with cypresses) The next intermediate step between representational and abstract art was Cubism. The view of cubism made it possible to simultaneously take different perspectives in one picture. Who does not know them, Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) portraits of women that show the figure both frontally and in profile? Kasimir Malewitch (1878 – 1935) “Black Square” from 1915 can be seen as the big bang of abstract art . It marked the beginning of non-representational art (Suprematimus).   So abstraction means: • no correct appearance of objects • Form resolution simplification • Exaggeration or independence of color and geometry • Gestures, traces, brushwork How can we get into abstraction? So it’s either about reduction or exaggeration. For example, you get into the reduction • by working over a large area without form contrasts • by omitting the details (e.g. by placing tracing paper) • by changing or simplifying the color tone • Achieve an enlargement by changing the section, by zooming in as with the camera Exaggerate by • Increase in the stroke of the brush • More expressive coloring (e.g. complementary sounds) or alienated coloring • Dissolve surfaces with structure through material or tool The transitions are flowing from realistic to abstract (simplified) to very abstract (non-representational). Even if you work freely and start abstractly, it is possible that forms and arrangements arise in which you can discover something concrete. Whether you go along and pursue what has arisen or destroy it in a picturesque way is a decision that you can make again and again. The question that arises again and again is how exactly you work out a motif. Sometimes it is more exciting to just hint at a motif and leave it to the viewer what he sees in it. A personal translation and interpretation of a situation is what distinguishes our images from photos. In the best case, your personality and your special way of working will also be reflected in the picture. It is often assumed that abstract works are not art and that no artistic talent or craftsmanship is necessary. Really “good” art is only the hyper-realistic rendering of a situation. My opinion is that abstract painting is the most difficult of all, because there are only a few clues in what has already been seen. Everything that arises comes from ourselves. Nobody says how it should be. Sometimes it’s not that easy, but we can use this freedom!

My favorite material: neon paint

I have to admit, it looks very toxic in the tube: fluorescent paint. But I love it especially in the shades of neon magenta and neon orange, and not only because it lights the way to bed at night. It can really be used universally and can do more than the first glance suggests. So what can you do with it? Mood and light With neon color you can conjure up a great mood in your pictures. It’s practically like turning on the light. You can either paint directly with the colors or cover similar tones with a thin glaze later. This has a great effect, especially with red tones, because red tones often become dull after drying. With a magenta glaze, the red remains brilliant. In addition, a glaze brings depth into the picture. Fluorescent watercolor paints Neon watercolor paints are also available in specialist shops. Especially when I’m out and about with the sketchbook, I like to take the glowing pots with me. This allows me to achieve a wide variety of sunny and fresh tones by mixing with the conventional colors. And since I like to paint less realistically and to exaggerate a bit, I am very happy to discover this material. Neon oil pastels You can also use fluorescent oil pastels , for example. to set reflections or flashlights on surfaces. Neon-colored lines bring light and lightness into your picture. Even with somewhat dull or overpainted structural grounds, you can revive the surface with the oil pastel and a neon-colored pastel remains shiny. Pigments Fluorescent pigments, which can be used with various binders, also have a great effect. With acrylic emulsion (similar to acrylic binders, only more liquid and shiny), the result is a shiny, luminous and translucent surface that can stand in exciting contrast to rough structural backgrounds. Rubbed into a cold wax, the neon pigments appear a little more matt than when used with acrylic emulsion, but still transparent. It also lets the lower layers shine through. Combinations with other color tones Basically, the neon colors go with all color tones. But they are especially great with their dull and broken color tones. For example, with gray-beige-white sounds, the neon color unfolds its full radiance and brings tension into the picture through this quality contrast. These colors work just as well with rust elements – again a special quality contrast. You can either use a thin layer of neon acrylic paint, light coatings with the oil pastel, or you can add the fluorescent pigment directly to the mass when mixing the iron primer and then let it oxidize. This creates rust tones with extreme luminosity. I know such material trends come and go. But the epoch in which a picture is created can often also be recognized by the type of color tones used. I don’t think that the neon color will be a milestone in retrospect. But it’s just fun to work with.

How do you achieve lightness in the picture?

Paint relaxed and easy A few years ago I worked with a lot of material in my pictures. Structural compounds and pastes, bitumen, marble waste and thick rusty surfaces. Gladly materials with a “life of their own”. However, thick layers of material often appear heavy. But that’s not all. It also depends on the painting how the design looks in your picture. My work has changed over the years, and its appearance has become lighter and lighter. At first unconsciously, then consciously used. I still enjoy working in different techniques and with a wide variety of materials. Often times, however, a brush, paint and a few pens are enough for me today. What is important for pictures to radiate lightness and looseness? 1. Transparencies Perhaps it is because I have mainly done watercolors for many years, but I also like to work diluted with acrylic paint. I let the paint run and flow, using liquid Indian ink so that the layers of paint run into one another naturally. They result in transparent, shimmering surfaces. Transparencies also bring depth into the picture. You can also work translucent with undiluted acrylic paint, e.g. B. with a linoleum roller. In this way you can create overlays in the picture, ie mix large and small shapes and use them stacked on top of each other. 2. Loose brushwork A loose brushstroke contributes significantly to the lightness of the picture. In doing so, I always try to find out how much unrest the picture can have. I also combine the structured area with a lot of brush marks with very calm elements, with little noticeable brush marks. 3. Play of lines An airy play of lines brings a lot of lightness into the picture, especially when the lines are delicate or sometimes thicker and thinner. It is also a way of enhancing the contrasts in your picture. 4. Organic, naturally created shapes A geometrical representation is constructed in the vast majority of cases and has a more uncomplicated effect. That’s why I use organic shapes that are created. Either through painterly and “intuitive brush swing” or through techniques in which the forms arise naturally, such as. B. pourings or washouts. 5. Dynamic arrangement Look for less static arrangements, but also work with diagonals, i.e. not only use vertical and horizontal arrangements. You can achieve a different effect just by placing the elements. 6. Coloring Last but not least, the coloring is important, whether your picture looks light or heavy. Powdery pastel tones or lightened, mixed colors have a lighter effect than pure colors, which are more striking. Ultimately, however, it is also a question of personality, with which image design options you feel comfortable. Everyone has their own preferences. For me it is the case that the reduction of materials leaves more and more space for my own painterly handwriting. It slows me down less, but lets the images emerge with ease. That can be seen and felt.

Paint sustainably

Small things, big impact! As you read the headline of this article, you might think: That too. Now she’s also adding her mustard on this subject. Especially since sustainability is used in all sorts of sensible and nonsensical contexts and is sometimes misused to promote advertising. It’s not that I’m an environmental activist. And there are a few things I could do about myself. In fact, the best thing would be to forego creative work entirely. But that is definitely not possible. People have always felt the need to express themselves artistically. And there are definitely different forms, if I wasn’t allowed to paint, draw or be creative, I would wither. So this is not an option. Nevertheless, my perspective has changed over the years. I’m looking for solutions how I can work creatively, but still not produce tons of unnecessary garbage. But everyone has to decide for themselves how the priorities are set. Sometimes there are small things that don’t hurt, but in the long run and in large measure they have an effect. Here are a few of those little things that I practice to reduce the junk Disposable gloves, Zewas or paper plates I hardly ever use such things. Washing hands, old tea towels, old T-shirts or empty plastic packaging that are already there anyway also serve the purpose and can be used several times. I don’t need a fresh plate every time, a sturdy cover made from wall paints or acrylic binders is very durable and can also be used with water-based glazes without softening. An old glass or plexiglass plate is also great. If the disposable cup is frowned upon, why not the disposable, palette, cardboard plate too? Use existing tools or misuse them You don’t always need the very best artist quality, you can also use existing tools for your painting. Dish brushes, rubber squeegees from the hardware store or pot sponges can withstand a long time. You can prime your pictures with remnants of white wall paint. A mixture of dish soap and sunflower oil can replace the solvent for your oil paint. Work with surfaces that can be revised Since I’ve been an artist for many years, I have a lot of painted canvases. A very large amount, really. And for some time now, I have rarely used a completely fresh canvas. In the majority of cases I recycle old pictures. Pictures that are outdated because I am at a different point in my development or pictures that I have never really worked out anything new and which are a repetition of earlier work. I can let such pictures go again and form the basis of a new design. Among other things, because I often over-paint the old pictures, I hardly ever varnish my work. It is difficult to get an absorbent primer back on a very smooth and sealed surface.   Keeping the paint moist for the next day of painting I need a lot of paint for large canvases. But sometimes it’s hard to tell how much. Sometimes I put the paint directly on the canvas, then I can save myself the detour via the palette. If I have leftovers on the palette, I wrap them with the packaging film from the freshly bought canvases (mostly those of my course participants). If I can’t paint for a long time, I spray a little water over it with the spray bottle. The acrylic paint will last for a few days. Should I still have leftovers that I need to rinse off, I first remove most of the paint with an old rag or dirty paper before cleaning the palette. This means that less acrylic paint ends up in the sink. Maintaining materials well Unfortunately, many artist’s brushes no longer have the long service life they used to have, these are my experiences. But if you handle your material well, you will definitely benefit from it for longer. When I wash the brushes (which I usually only do at the end of the painting session, as I work wet on wet with the different shades) I then place them on an old terry towel to dry. I don’t put them in a jar, otherwise the moisture will pull into the clamp and the wood in it may swell. The brush hairs fall out quickly and the brush becomes unusable. Now and then painting on paper For me a playground: Working on paper. We use less material than when using stretcher frames and it takes up less space to store the finished pictures. In addition, you can let off steam on paper, because it is “only” paper. You can cut it wonderfully to change the composition or cut it into pieces to make cards, bookmarks, etc. out of it (if it doesn’t seem to work as a whole). You can also later integrate it into acrylic paintings. Collect materials and include them in collages Some participants bring real treasure chests with them: The collections of special papers, old documents or newspaper clippings are great to use in collages. I also enjoy self-made sketches twice: once when I draw them and a second time when they find a place in a picture. Patterned or structured fabrics can also be worked in perfectly. You can make it yourself and only touch it if necessary.You can use natural materials with acrylic binders (or white wall paint, if the structural compound should be white) to make the structure yourself: sand, ash or colored earths are structure and first coloring at the same time. And because you only do that when you need these substrates, nothing will go bad or firm.

Art makes …

In her blog Gestatten Kunst – Your way through the forest of images , the art historian Esther Klippel has set herself the task of providing her readers with the classic tools of art history . In doing so, she also deals – always with a wink – with the role of art in our world today and its effect on us. Esther Klippel’s contribution “Art Makes …” is a humorous attempt at classification. ART makes EDUCATED That is self-explanatory. It is not called “visual arts” for nothing . ART makes you SATISFIED There are enough artist biographies with which one (and woman) does not want to swap: van Gogh went crazy, Caravaggio was persecuted as a criminal for half his life, Rembrandt died impoverished. Women in art had no cuts for a long time anyway and often had to fight hard (and yet unsuccessfully) to gain recognition and respect for their work. In comparison, your own problems seem much less essential . ART makes SEXY It proves that beauty never had fixed criteria . So we come to the satisfying realization: “I don’t fit into today’s ideal of beauty, but so many centuries ago I would have been an absolute blast.” You feel much better right away. Anne Louis Girodet-Trioson: Reclining Nude on a Divan (detail), ca.1793, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (wikimedia commons). ART makes you CRAZY Seriously! Known as Stendhal’s syndrome , the phenomenon is named after the French writer who caught it while visiting Florence in 1817 and was subsequently described by other intellectuals and travelers. The concentration of outstanding art and architecture in the city seems to flood the senses of those affected in such a way that they develop palpitations, fainting, hallucinations, panic attacks and more. If you are planning a trip to Florence: Better to take a look at the nearest gelateria every now and then. Vincent van Gogh: Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889, Courtauld Gallery, London ART makes BEAUTIFUL She can delight us . This is then reflected on our face. It’s that easy. So if there is not enough time and money for the spa: off to the museum! Giovanni Bernini: The rapture of St. Theresa (detail), 1645-52, Santa Maria della Vitoria, Rome, Livioandronico 2013 / Wikipedia ART makes you AWAKE For example, if the alarm beeps because, lost in the audio guide, you have come too close to the work. (Video) installations are not infrequently loud and / or ask you to be active in some way. Sometimes works of art frighten or surprise us and get us out of the rut of trotting through an exhibition. (My hello-wake experience a few years ago: In an exhibition by the artist Pierre Huyghes, the white dog with a pink foreleg, which I had only recently seen in a video, suddenly stood in front of me.) Thomas Kilpper: Installation in Švicarija, Ljubljana, Biennale for Graphic Arts, 2013, ART makes SHARP At least our eyes. But also because of their erotic representations (see also point 3). You can still learn a lot there! Practice a few poses on the sofa and / or in front of the mirror! ART makes AGGRO Can happen. Works of art in public spaces are regularly sprayed, tipped over, destroyed . The list of attacks on paintings with acid, knives and paint is also long. Interestingly, in the second case, the perpetrators do not even take action against particularly provocative works. But often on famous works such as the Mona Lisa, pictures by Dürer or similar. Probably because it attracts more attention. Small consolation: you choose painted people instead of living ones … ART makes you SLIM Both the brain and the walking apparatus are challenged when visiting the exhibition. That consumes twice the calories!  François Verwilt (attributed to): Man Dancing with a Dog, ca.1640-60, Reichsmuseum, Amsterdam ART does NOTHING “She just wants to play”. It’s not quite like that, of course. Contrary to long-term ideas, no artist draws from an eternal source of inspiration that simply flows out of him onto the canvas, into the marble, the writing paper, music paper or anywhere else. Also, very few creative people will perceive their calling as a fun pastime. The work of art itself is first of all just a lifeless thing made of different materials, ink on paper, etc. As long as no one is there to look at it, read it, or hear it, it actually doesn’t matter. It only comes into existence when we pay attention to it.

PINK WOOL BLANKET

It’s gotten really cold, don’t you think so? With us, the heaters are already on and the blankets are always ready on the sofa. And another one can now join them.   THE PINK WOOL BLANKET I was so happy when I finished the last stitch. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because more knitting projects are waiting for me. And I couldn’t wait to get started. But today I’ll show you my beautiful pink blanket first. Pink wool blanket   Pink wool blanket   I particularly like the color, it’s a bit pale and not so obtrusive. There are pink tones that I don’t like at all, pink is not always pink …   Pink wool blanket   It is also very soft and cozy … Just like you would imagine a blanket to be. It was not at all difficult to knit this blanket as it was knitted alternately right and left. So very simple patterns. Here it is from one side.   And it looks like this from the other side. Pink wool blanket   You always think that it is difficult to knit such a blanket, but it’s not like that. There are really more difficult things to knit. I always knitted the blanket on the couch in the evening while watching Supernatural. They don’t really go together, but it was really great. The knitting went as if by itself and if I didn’t want to hear something disgusting / creepy from the series, I already had a blanket in my hand.  WHAT COMES AFTER THE PINK WOOL BLANKET? At the moment it’s a cardigan. A big challenge for me, because you have to knit several parts and these parts have to fit together afterwards. I’m curious whether everything will work out as I imagine it to be …  I will definitely show it to you when it is finished. Assuming it’s somehow portable … And if not, I’ll show it anyway. 

WALL DECORATION TIPS

Sometimes it is extremely difficult for me to make a decision, at least when it comes to furnishings or decorations. It’s certainly not because I don’t like anything, rather the opposite is the case here. In this post I told you that I am looking for suitable pictures for the wall in the dining room. I found many. Too many. And in the end I didn’t order any … Since I could not decide until now, I had to come up with something else. Ultimately, only things that were there anyway were used and the wall has still become super beautiful. That’s why I got the idea that my approach might be interesting for you.  MY TIPS FOR WALL DECORATION THE MOOD First of all, it is important to know what mood the finished decorated wall should convey. This should be carefully considered, because then you can also determine the colors and the type of images to be used. I chose the happy version. You can see that quite well, I think.  THE COLORS Of course, the colors play an important role here. If I had only hung black and white pictures on my wall, the overall picture would be completely different. Light colors dominate here, but a bit of black also belongs here. The black spots of color serve to ensure that the overall picture does not appear too cute.  MATERIALS It doesn’t always have to be made of paper. A beautiful fabric does it too. In all honesty, when it’s framed and hung up, you really can’t tell if it’s fabric or paper. So I don’t see it. And often you have some leftover fabric, why not just use it as a wall decoration? And the black and white dotted fabric is made for this wall. Or you can also use scraps of wallpaper, the main thing is that it fits the overall picture.  FRAMELESS Pictures, prints or postcards can be hung up without a frame. You can use paper clips, trousers or washi tape for this. I used washi tape for the cute Christmas cards. Such tapes do not cost much and are very versatile. They look cute and don’t cause holes.  NATURAL MATERIALS I need wood and plants everywhere. You will hardly find a place with me where there is no wood. It’s just beautiful and natural. There are also beautiful prints of plants if you don’t have shelves or don’t want to hang one. So these were my wall decorating tips . Maybe they were a little helpful. I really hope so! 

NEW OLD CHAIRS

Hello my dears,  do you sometimes have that certain feeling that gnaws at you and no longer leaves you alone? I felt the same way with our grandma’s chairs. I still think it’s pretty. The problem or rather MY problem were the different wood tones in the dining room. It seemed restless to me. And when the time comes that I feel this restlessness in me, it usually doesn’t take long before a change comes into the house.    NEW OLD CHAIRS Since new chairs are out of the question, I simply painted the chairs black. Not a big effort but a big change! The whole room now seems calmer to me. The peace and quiet was what I longed for. And since I was already in my element, the picture wall was also changed a bit. I’m more than satisfied with the result, but see for yourself …  If you also want to paint old chairs, I have a few tips for you.  First sand the chair a little so that the surface is roughened, so the paint can be absorbed much better. Thoroughly clean after sanding. It has to be really clean and free of grease.  Apply the first layer thinly and so that the paint really stays in place, the first layer should be completely dry before you paint the second time.  When the desired color is achieved, I would possibly also seal with a clear coat. Then the paint won’t chip off so quickly. It makes sense, especially with chairs that are often moved back and forth.  But please keep in mind that I am not a professional. It’s just the way I work, I’ve been doing it for years and it has always worked well so far.  I always use water-based varnish, I can’t handle synthetic resin varnish at all. It stinks and the dry season lasts forever. The advantage is that the things are really scratch and shock resistant. But you can decide for yourself what you want to take.  And how do you like our new old chairs? Do you have something that could use a coat of paint?