by Kathleen Huebener in Painting Tips

Glazing: the successive transparent or translucent layers superimposed on the support. Each layer of paint applied over another layer, not only modifies its color, but also creates jewel-like brilliance. The light is reflected back to the viewer’s eye, imparting a special depth and luminosity.  


An artist friend, Julia Kulish was the Showcase Artist this month in Creative Artists. Her topic was “Glazing in Oils.” Glazing in oils means using thin layers of transparent paint. Julia uses glazing in oils in three ways:

1) Using only transparent oils for the whole painting. Applying in thin layers, one must wait until each layer is dried before proceeding further.

2) Using a cover of glaze on the whole completed artwork, which unifies and gives energy at the same time.

3) Using glazing on only specific spots of the painting.   


Glazing in acrylics, however, though similar to oils, has the advantage of a glazing medium, a medium to which transparent or translucent paints can be added. Although the glazing medium can be mixed with any amount of transparent or translucent paint, just a small quantity of paint added produces the most transparency.


When adding the transparent paint to the white medium, the color lightens. But as the medium dries and becomes transparent, the color of the glaze darkens. The effect of the glazing medium and paint combination will be the similitude of stained glass. Light passing through the transparent layers gives a special radiance, an interplay between light and color.


Like in oils, acrylic under-layers must be thoroughly dry before applying the next layer. Some artists have tried to decrease the drying time by using a hair dryer or an embossing heating tool. The hardest method is to let it sit overnight. When you discover the depth of glazing the next morning, you realize the overnight wait was worth it.  


Glazing creates new color by subsequent layering of different hues of transparent paint. Glazing propagates a sunshiny glow as the light reflects through the layers. Glazing exercises one’s imagination as the artist experiments with different colors in layering. All in all, Glazing opens a new dimension to one’s painting. It is worth investigating, fellow artists. 


To view a good example of Julia Kulish’s glazing, click the following link provided below and once there, scroll down to date Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. There you will not only see the art piece but also the interesting story behind “Red”.