Thursday, July 26, 2007

Glazes with Texture

Glazing is a technique commonly used in many mediums such as oil and acrylic to create transparent layers of color. Since acrylic can be used thickly with no cracking or adhesion problems, it also has the benefit of offering some more unusual painting applications. By using a thick acrylic gel, and adding this into regular acrylic colored paint, you can create a thick but transparent subtly colored mixture. Apply this mixture over previously applied dried and painted layers using a variety of application tools to create some unusual effects. There are many acrylic gels available for purchase. Gels are actually an acrylic medium, with the addition of thickeners, to create a thick or stiff acrylic that can be easily manipulated in a sculpting manner. I like using painting knives, rubber shaper tools, fingers, sticks, etc, as well as brushes to get my textural effects. The main point to keep in mind, is to use a clear acrylic gel to get the transparency, instead of an opaque paste. And to use a small amount of color into a larger amount of gel. I like to use a 1:10 ratio of color to gel.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Best Time to Use Glazes

A glaze can be considered a delicate layer of color. Delicate because it is so subtle and transparent. Therefore, a glaze is best used on top of a stronger base color. A common Old Master's Technique used a grisaille, meaning grays, which is an underpainting composed of dark and light paint colors using combinations of grays or neutrals. This "gray" underpainting allows the artist to concentrate on patterns of dark and light and general composition concepts, without thinking of color just yet. When this grisaille, or first layer of paint is dry, the artist applies glazes of color over the grays, shifting the hue, and turning the gray painting into a colored painting containing a variety of values or tones. There are many ways to create underpaintings, and the use of grisaille tends to evoke an Old Master's realism. As an abstract artist, I like to apply bright opaque areas of color as my underpainting and then use glazes over those to shift them in tone and hue. This contemporary use of glazing has many advantages, including creating the illusion of solid form from the previously flat underpainted color shapes. Here is my favorite example of when to use a glaze. Let's say you were commissioned to paint a realistic portrait. After painting for quite awhile you finish the portrait in all its full gloried detail. It's fabulous! However, the client upon seeing it feels the skin tone is a bit too yellow. To repaint the portrait would take a long time, and feel like a waste of time. Instead mix a glaze of violet (yellow's opposite or complementary color) to tone it down. Apply a single even layer of this violet glaze over the entire portrait. If the glaze is too strong the skin tone in the portrait will turn violet. But if the transparency is correct, the yellow will get just enough violet on top to neutralize it towards a more acceptable skin tone. I like to mix a glaze and then test it on top of a small area first. I keep playing with it and testing it until it's just right before applying it all over.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

How to Create Glazes Using Acrylic Paints.

A glaze is a transparent and subtle color application. Glazing in acrylic is best accomplished by using a slow drying medium. You can make your own slow drying medium by adding an acrylic additive called retarder to any regular acrylic gloss medium. Add up to 15% retarder to the medium. You can also use Golden's Acrylic Glazing Medium, which already contains a good proportion of retarder and medium. I often add a small amount of water to this retarder & medium mixture to help eliminate brush strokes and to ease the application. To this slow drying medium, add a very small amount of colored paint to make a colored glaze. I like to use about 1 part paint to 10 parts medium. Mix well with a knife. This mixture of medium, retarder, water and colored paint is now a glaze. Apply the glaze using a very soft brush, over an area you want to shift in color. Keep the glaze application very thin by wiping off excess glaze from your brush onto paper towels. Work quickly, and do not go back over an area once it starts to get tacky. This layer now needs to dry to work any further, or to add a new layer. When working on several layers, put a fan right next to the artwork to quick dry the freshly applied layer of glaze. To see examples of paintings using acrylic glazes go to my painting page and/or acrylic techniques page. For more information on glazes and other acrylic painting techniques see Nancy Reyner's newly released book, Acrylic Revolution, North Light Books.

Calendar of Events
Acrylic workshops, lectures and book signings for Nancy Reyner have just been scheduled in Scottsdale, Arizona and Silver City, New Mexico. For details visit my painting workshops page.

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