What lies within, that's what I don't know......
A word of warning while I'm at it. I used a fine-grained acrylic paint for this, one I've used many times before and which gives me usually good results. On this occasion, there was a problem - the painting is not quite the same now, although the differences are minor, as it appears here. When I went to varnish it, some of the paint actually lifted, and smeared - most of the picture was fine, but the damage occurred on the lit part of the pediment, and parts of the tree.
I'm in discussion with the paint company about why this might have occurred with paint which had never given me this trouble before, but I don't believe it was a batch problem, as I've used this specific pot before, several times.
What I THINK happened is this: I nearly always use only water as a medium with acrylic paint; this particular product can be diluted a great deal while still maintaining pigment strength, but there is a limit to how far you can dilute acrylic without the paint becoming under-bound (i.e. its "stickiness" is compromised). This is likely to be all the more true if one's painting on a canvas-covered board, as I was, for several reasons: one, while the paint will dry reliably quickly on a stretched canvas, as it's exposed to the air front and back, and on paper (watercolour or acrylic paper) it can actually take longer on a heavy board - it will look dry, and feel dry, but it might not have proved throughout; especially if the weather is cold and damp.
It might have been safer if I'd waited at least a week before trying to varnish it - as it was, the quite soupy (thick, sticky) varnish and the bristle brush with which I applied it just pulled paint off the surface (and caused me to squeal somewhat.....).
Lessons from this:
- Employ painting medium, eg gloss medium, in future rather than just water when painting thinly
- Let the painting dry thoroughly in a warm room
- Bear in mind that canvas glued to board will cause the paint to dry more slowly (or at least can)
- Leave the painting for 7 days or so before varnishing
- If using a fine-grained acrylic, particularly, bear all the above in mind even more so!
I'll post any further suggestions I might receive from the company. As for the painting - here it be.