Secrets of the Old Masters: Glazing and Scumbling (Part 2)
Macbeth- "Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect!" "(to GHOST) Lady Macbeth: "This is the very painting of your fear...."
by Cirius Oil Paint on Belgian Linen, 24k gold, Swarovski crystals 36X60" Shakespeare’s Macbeth is bold and resolute in the moment of action but in silence he becomes prey to his own hallucinations.
Full painting at :
Painting with Transparent Paints
When painting in oil you need to be aware of a paint's transparency, if you're unsure of a particular paints transparency, look on the tube's label to check transparency marks. Colours that are marked with a white square with a character "T" are transparent. Paint tubes that are marked with a square and a cross diagonally or have characters "ST" are semi-transparent. The semi-opaque paints are marked with a square which is divided diagonally in black and white, or labelled with a "SO" mark. While opaque paints have a black square or the character "O" on the label. In general, lighter colours and those made with earth pigments tend to be opaque and semi-opaque, while dark colours more often tend to be semi-transparent and transparent. If paint is diluted well then almost any colour can be suited for glazing.
Crimson is a semi-opaque paint.
Burnt ombre is an opaque paint.
Here's a list of transparent colours:
The glazing technique works well with impasto layers, when well diluted paint is applied on top of an impasto layer the glaze will flow into it deepening the painting surface as it reveals its rough texture.
These few examples show the interesting diverse effects you can achieve by allowing transparent layers of glazes to flow into textured surfaces.
I used diluted black paint as a glaze to create the antique textured area in this detail shot of my painting "The torch doth not burn tonight"
I used diluted black paint as a glaze to create the antique textured area in this detail shot of my painting "The torch doth not burn tonight
Many artists use the glazing technique without even realizing it, these artists think that if they are not working in the traditional multi-layered technique that they do not use glazing; but that is farther from the truth. In fact when a very thin layer of diluted paint is applied on the painting surface and if the under-layer is visible underneath then the glazing technique is being applied. Proficient fine artists know this method well and use it to its full advantage.
Displayed below is a compilation of the steps I've undertaken to achieve a luminous effect only possible through glazing. The final result was acquired through a multitude of layers; each preliminary coloured glazed layer is deliberate and subtly enhances the overall gamut of the artwork. It brings the painting to life because of its richness in colours all congruently complimenting each other. Subtle hints of blues, olive greens, yellows, blues, and violets peaking through underneath the skin create realistic skin depth and skin tones.
First, I coloured the entire background with an Imprimatura layer to take away the distracting white background which is too bright and unnatural to work with. Staining it with a grey tone. It can be any colour you like.
Macbeth- "Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect!" "(to GHOST) Lady Macbeth: "This is the very painting of your fear...." Title:
King's Rage"- (Macbeth by Cirius) Oil Paint on Belgian Linen, 24k gold, Swarovski crystals 36X60" Shakespeare’s Macbeth is bold and resolute in the moment of action but in silence he becomes prey to his own hallucinations.
Full painting at : https://www.cirius.com/king-s-rage
The traditional multi-layer technique consists of 3 main steps:
2. Body colours
In real life this classical approach can have many variations and exceptions, for example, sometimes artists were not satisfied with body layers and continued with painting on top, once again, to cover and fix an image instead of finishing it with glazing. In other cases an artist can continue with body colours on top of glazes. Real life often alters the classical way of painting so artists experimented with layers and glazes. Only practice will help you master the glazing technique.
Under-painting can be done in oil or in tempera, some of the old masters especially in the early Northern Renaissance were using tempera paints for under-painting. Tempera has the advantage of quick drying, however it is not elastic enough for paintings on canvas and therefore works the best when it's painted on wood boards.
Portrait of a Young Man by Sandro Botticelli,1483, with tempera on wood.
Examples of proper glazing practices:
- blue colour can be applied over green
- green can be applied over yellow
-yellow can be applied over orange
Glazing on top of dark under-painting reduces the brightness even further. For example ultramarine applied on top of burnt sienna will produce a deep dark tone. When it comes to diluents for glazing, stand oil is often used and produces a very glassy look
that is not achievable with thinner oils.
Oil varnishes are often used for diluting glaze mixes, varnishes can be mixed with good drying oils.
An excess of oil is not desired as it can leave the surface yellowing and darker. The advantage of the glazing method is that an infinite variety of colours can be created without intermixing the paints together. Some oil paints can change their colours as a result of a chemical reaction among mixed pigments and such a chemical reaction will not happen if oil paints are mixed visually since every layer is completely dry before the next one is applied. Paintings done in the glazing method are preserved very well throughout the centuries while the colours of many later artworks change severely due to discolouration or chemical changes.
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