On reflection 2
Acrylic on canvas (12 x 9 x 1.5 ins)
My first painting of 2007. Well, the first finished in 2007 to be exact because I started it ages ago and put it to one side - and at that point it had just been undercoated in brick-red acrylic with some white canvas areas left in the centre. I decided to continue it using my theme of 'water reflections' ... I feel that I need to stick with something and keep trying, instead jumping around from this to that! The painting is mainly thin glazes of colour with some opaque passages both underneath and on top.
Fellow artist Philip Edson has suggested that I write about glazing techniques .... Well, I don't if this is the 'right way' to do it because I have just been trying things out for myself. However, I think it might be good if I write about what I do at the moment and invite comments on how other people go about it. So How About It?
GLAZING WITH ACRYLIC
Definition - my definition of 'glazing' is that it's a method of applying acrylic paint in very thin layers of diluted pigment to achieve desired colours and effects.
What I use:
For glazing I nearly always use transparent acrylic paints - most good makes identify on the tube whether the pigment inside is transparent, semi-transparent (semi-opaque), or opaque.
However, I do sometimes use semi-opaque pigment if I want a 'smokey' look. This can also be achieved by mixing the colour with a small amount of white or Naples yellow.
I usually use the colour straight from the tube (i.e. the pigment is not mixed with any other - only diluted) and rely on getting the tone or shade or colour I want by glazing several layers of one colour, or one colour over another.
I mix the colours with either water, water + retardant, or acrylic medium. Most often I use just water, as I have yet to get used to mediums and am not well versed in their different properties.
How I apply the glazes:
Brushing - as you might imagine this is the same as normal painting with a brush except that the pigment is very thin and watery. I use a fairly large brush ... 1", 1.5" or 2".
Puddling - dropping colours on to an area of canvas, either singly or together, and rolling them around to create swirls, etc. This works best if you wet the area to be painted first.
Runs - this is similar to Puddling except that you encourage the pigment to run down or across the surface in straightish lines.
Scraping - for semi-opaque glazes I like to mix the paint to a fairly soft consistency on a plastic plate and dip the edge of a plastic card (or anything similar) into it, then scrape the colour over the surface.
Basically glazes modify the appearance of the paint layer underneath and each succeeding layer will darken the colour slightly. So some planning ahead is needed .... especially deciding where you want your light areas to be and avoiding these or only glazing them very thinly. Otherwise I find that glazing is very much a case of 'suck it and see' (not literally, of course ... health & safety and all that!).
Because you are using very thin layers of colour it is easy to change or adjust a layer, or create particular effects, by wiping or patting. For this I use kitchen paper towel, a soft brush, a wet cloth or cotton-buds.
It is fun to try transparent glazes over semi-opaque glazes, and vice versa. Glazing also works over textured areas and underpainted areas.
Now I'm sure that there is much more I need to learn about glazing technique, but as I said - trial and error is really the only way to find out!
If anyone has any Tips or Techniques for Glazing, please, PLEASE comment ... it would be great to have a discussion on it. Maybe someone has something to share regarding the use of acrylic mediums for glazing?