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Friday, March 25, 2011

Glazing the Cherry: Beginner's Guide to Glazing

Glazing is (deceptively simple) an Old Master Technique used to create translucent color which allows light from below the color to shine through. When I began glazing in '97, there was very little information available on the net. Today, everyone is doing it, (I love that!) but the approaches vary. I'm a goal oriented, frugal and practical painter. I like to find the simplest ways to paint and pass them on to others. (One of the reasons for demonstrating with craft acrylics is to show beginners that painting need not cost a lot. This can alleviate the fear of trying, and more than anything I want you have the freedom to play.After trying a few things with craft acrylics, I highly recommend moving on to regular tubed acrylics or oils).
  In any medium the goal in glazing is translucency. Approximately 1 part paint to 20 parts medium is mixed, then applied over a subject. The result is like looking through a piece of barely colored stained glass. You still see the subject clearly, it has only a blush of color. The mix can be much more translucent than what I will show you, meaning it can be a ratio of 1 part paint and 50 parts medium.
 (Here, I'm using FolkArt's Floating Medium for craft acrylics. Golden has a glazing liquid that works wonderfully for regular acrylics. In my oil work, I use Liquin for oil paints. Use a medium suited to water for water based paints like acrylics and one suited for oils in oil based paints.)
   Glazes must be allow to dry completely. After, subsequent glazes may be added allowing each layer to dry before adding another. My portraits have about 15 to 20 glazes. (For this demo, we will only do 3 glazes._ Glazing produces natural, translucent looking skin (on people or cherries) that can't be produced using opaque colors. Again, the point is to see through them.
   I'm working in craft Acrylic here to demonstrate. The penny is to give an idea of the amounts. There is no need for precision whatsoever.
1. is pure paint in Apple Barrel's Bright Red. Below it is what I am using to glaze. It's FolkArt's Floating Medium. I've added a scant of black to the medium only so you can see it in the photo. It's perfectly colorless.
2. is how much medium and paint I'll mix. Just touching the tiniest dot of paint (1 part paint) to about 20 parts medium.
3 is what they look like mixed, and I've dragged the paint out to show that you can see through it.
Creating a Glaze
   I find it best to apply glazes with a flat brush or an angular flat. I like the point on an angular to get into small places easily, and I can lay it flat to apply glazes in smoothe, wide areas. Here's a demonstration on one of my black and white works. I've painted a cherry and lime peel in grayscale (black and white.) I've made glazes with each of 3 colors as I needed them (acrylics dry quick, so make them when ready to use them). Each was made just like the photo above.

Colors:    Apple Barrell Pumpkin Orange
             Apple Barrell  Bright Red
             FolkArt True Burgundy
Using my flat brush or my angular I apply Orange first in the lightest areas. It's ok and sometimes desireable to go over whites with this. Later, if needed you can touch those pure white highlights back in. (As you can see, there is very, very little change in this painting in the first glaze. Each glaze builds color, and each allows us to see through to the light underneath. This is also used to be able to see through skin where veins are painted.) Allow this layer to dry completely. Depending on the humidity, Acrylics are dry in about 10-20 minutes.

Orange Glaze



The second glaze is done in the shadows in True Burgundy.



The third Red is our Bright Red. This is in the light areas between the orange and True Burgundy. Note that all of these colors can overlap. This causes a visual blending, meaning they look blended, though we never blended the colors.



Now, Glazing is a New Master Technique. It's yours. smiles.

 Here's my finished work which has the addition of Apple Barrell Leaf Green for the stem and the lime peel.
 "Cherry Lime"
8x10"
Acrylic on Canvas

If you would like to see a start to finish simple demo on creating this painting in grayscale. See my step-by-step tutorial here:
http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=ab-painting&tid=16091






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