Applying oil paint in translucent layers is known as “glazing,” and is a great oil painting technique for the artist who wishes to venture further from painting alla prima. All that is required, apart from the usual oil painting equipment, is an oil painting medium, most commonly linseed oil, or for accelerating the drying time, Liquin.
Oil Painting Glazing
Interesting Oil Painting Techniques
The odd thing about glazing with oil paints is that that the appearance of the colours when glazed one on top of the other, is different to when the colours are mixed together. For instance, the mixture of ultramarine blue and cadmium red will produce a muddy purple. But if a thin layer of ultramarine were applied over the cadmium red, the result would be a different kind of purple, one that is richer and deeper in appearance.
Glazing with Oil Paints
Applying oil paint glazes can produce delicate and subtle shifts in colour, and will unify a painting. The more glazes applied, the richer the colour. Some old masters used to apply ten or even twenty glazes over their oil paintings before they were satisfied with the result. However, the beginner need not go to such measures. Usually, three, or even two layers will suffice.
Fat over Lean
The term fat over lean will have relevance when glazing with oils. This means that with every layer applied, a little more oil should be introduced to the paint mix. This is necessary because oil paint dries more slowly when linseed oil is applied. Working the other way round could cause the upper layers to dry before the lower ones, causing the paint to crack.
Subject Matter for Glazing with Oils
flesh tones in portraits, floral art, and for giving an air-brushed finish to oil paintings, such as underwater scenes and skies. The technique is quite simple, but requires patience.
How to Apply an Oil Paint Glaze
Glazing with oils requires the following steps:
Oil Mediums for Glazing
Other oils can be added to oil paints for glazing. Liquin is an alkyd based medium that acts like linseed oil in that it adds transparency to the oil paint, but it dries quickly and leaves a matt finish. Raw linseed oil, spike of lavender and poppy oil can also be used for glazing techniques.
My other book, Oil Paintings from the Landscape can be purchased direct from Amazon.
© Rachel Shirley 2010
© Rachel Shirley 2010