The finishing touch for my current series of paintings has eluded me for the six or so months that I've put in. Having finished the paintings, I first thought letting the natural wood texture show under the paint a good idea, but I kept bouncing back and forth between thinking it charming and distracting. At the time (February?) I had decided on a satin finish polyurethane... which, it turned out accentuated certain grains and let others lay flat, leaving me with an inconsistent finish. After some research and test runs, and many discussion with gruff paint store regulars, I settled on this magical stuff.
It's a little pricey, but man-oh-man, check out this sheen! This is after a six hour dry time. Check out that lamp! In a larger picture, you can even see me and my phone in the reflection!
Of course, I had to do some pretty crafty dry-box building. I don't even have a picture of the mess that is the dry box for the larger paintings! After such a wait and investment, I'm happy to say that I adore the look it achieves, and hope everyone who sees them will agree.