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Old 05-01-2012, 08:04 PM
llawrence llawrence is offline
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Make a bunch of mud, different varieties, and paint with it. Then, put some cleaner, more saturated color in certain strategic spots. It will glow.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:20 AM
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Thanks llawrence. Seems there are as many opinions about this as there are painters! But I'd like to pick up on yours because I think this may be a more effective technique, at least for me. I am working on a painting now, of some colourful boats in Belize (I was recently there and took this picture which I knew I just had to paint) and some very interesting architecture in the background. Lighting conditions were not the best as it was a flat, overcast day. But I increased the colour saturation in the photo and started painting with the goal of keeping my colours "pure" or less muddy with some transparent glazes. The results were not believable to me. Of course that may just be because I am not used to painting a lot of architecture and made it too straight and rigid rather than loose and painterly which is how I like it. But the colours themselves appeared too saturated to me and I didn't want the buildings in the background to jump out at the viewer. The buildings were yellow, reddish and off-white.

So I waited for everything to dry, then laid down an ultramarine blue glaze over all of the background buildings, making sure not to touch the hulls of the boats which I am reasonably happy with. Everything is now greyed down a bit, pushed back, and the boats jump out more. All I have to do now is paint the masts, which are very tall and the brightest parts of the whole photo. I hope to create a bit of "sparkle" by laying in the odd bright cad yellow/titanium white highlight and will try to soften the edges so it appears to glow. If I think I am successful, I will show you the end result. If not, then I guess I need to go back to the drawing board. Again.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:57 AM
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marcdalessio marcdalessio is offline
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Hi all, I saw this thread in my blog stats.

As to getting paint to glow, it's something I've thought about a bit.

Someone mentioned medium above. When you go through the baroque/rococo painting section of the Louvre there is an incredible glow they get with their paint (not the Fragonard and Boucher formula stuff, I'm referring to the naturalistic work). It culminates in the room with Greuze and his student's work. The next room is David and the beginning of the academic painters and the glow is gone. Clearly there is a different medium being used in the 18th century, which the academic painters rejected.

In portraiture Sargent's paintings don't glow like a Lawrence does, and we know Sargent just used linseed oil. In fact if you look closely at a Sargent edge, he would sometimes 'fake' the glow by actually painting a slightly lighter value at the beginning of the background. Rupert Alexander does this well in his portraits: http://www.rupertalexander.com/

For landscape painting, I think the best way to get a painting to glow is to paint looking in the general direction of the sun. It's hard to get a painting to glow if you have the sun on your back.

The English school, Edward Seago, and today David Curtis (http://www.djcurtis.co.uk/DAVID_CURTIS/galleryx.html) are great to look at for 'glowing' landscapes.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:58 PM
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Nothing to add here, but a Thank You for asking such a great question. I have certainly added to my knowledge.

and also big THANX to all who have contributed their experience.

always learning,

life is good

Greg
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:31 AM
Vincent40 Vincent40 is offline
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Reading a recent book about Rembrandt, in research they showed that he did not use any glaze...

So the 'glow' I have seen in his Landschap met de Stenen Brug must be from lead white shining trough down layers.

(Did I hear suddenly one thousant book go into a bin?)
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:15 AM
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinwueste
Hi Chantal, There may be a number of ways to interpret "glow." It would be useful for you to post an example or two of paintings that you feel really glow! The feeling of light - glowing nicely is almost always related to how you are managing values in your painting - and to some healthy extent the chroma of your colors. Saturating our somewhat darker values can give them the illusion of glow - since electrically charged paints don't seem to have been invented yet, we are limited to the value range of paint on our surface! ( which is a lot less than, say, a neon sign or a tv quietly glowing green-blue in someone's "man-cave."!! - But both can be painted nicely if we manage value and chroma carefully).

-Kevin
Excellent post.

I discussed this in a recent thread. I don't think "glow" has anything to do with paint qualities (lead/titanium or transparent/opaque). It's simply about putting down a patch of paint with the exact right value and hue in relation to what's around that patch of paint. It can be done with any paint from any manufacturer.
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:26 AM
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ianuk ianuk is offline
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Couldn't agree more with the post and quote above -- I give you Rembrandt's nose, shadows, mid tones and several subtle highlights, are all that's needed
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Old 11-09-2013, 09:44 AM
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Chantal, I totally hear you! I am really tired of that direct, opaque paint look. I am equally tired of the transparent red oxide underpainting-showing-through look. Everybody does the same thing over and over, and when you go to a plein air/landscape show, it seems everybody is only doing one of those two things. (And I am as guilty as the next person. I'm even bored with my own work much of the time when I do that.) While I understand the wisdom to either approach in a situation where one is on a short time frame with a moving light source, it gets old fast! I too find that the opaque paint approach produces paintings that lack the kind of glow, luster, and brilliant color that can be captured by transparent paint, and paintings with a transparent red oxide or burnt sienna underpainting usually look muddy/dirty to me. But some people like that.

One thing I've found that helps a lot in achieving glow and keeping bright colors clean and luminescent, is to lay down transparent color directly against the panel where you need it, rather than laying in the darks first. As long as you don't add white, you can still put in your darkest darks on top of it. Transparent color over white will always give more glow than opaque paint. You can still lay opaque paint over it if you wish, and the color underneath will assist in the cause. I like this approach best on boards like Ampersand Gessoboard, but here's an example done on linen. The bolder colors were applied transparently before anything else, then painted into as the painting progressed. (This one is 18x24.)


Hope that helps. I like your work, and I'd love to see your efforts if you give it a go!

Edit to add: Transparent color=transparent effect. For backlit leaves in fall, this approach works. For transparent water, it works. But there are certainly times and places where opacity is more effective than transparency. I think the more techniques we have at our disposal, the more effective we can be in portraying what we see in our minds' eyes.

Jamie

Last edited by JamieWG : 11-09-2013 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:50 AM
Mares Rex Mares Rex is online now
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianuk
Couldn't agree more with the post and quote above -- I give you Rembrandt's nose, shadows, mid tones and several subtle highlights, are all that's needed
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Old 11-09-2013, 01:32 PM
Mares Rex Mares Rex is online now
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieWG
Chantal, I totally hear you! I am really tired of that direct, opaque paint look. I am equally tired of the transparent red oxide underpainting-showing-through look. Everybody does the same thing over and over, and when you go to a plein air/landscape show, it seems everybody is only doing one of those two things. (And I am as guilty as the next person. I'm even bored with my own work much of the time when I do that.)
Hey Jamie, sounds like you're sick of oil painting. Maybe switch it up with different mediums? Watercolor?
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Old 11-09-2013, 03:15 PM
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Gigalot Gigalot is offline
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Ghost of impressionism very maliciously interferes me to choose the right brightness range. They didn't use right value, right perspective and true colors and true reflections. Their sky is always mud, their water is always not transparent, people looking like Hitchcock's zombies! I need to study everything from zero to make a proper glow.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:14 PM
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Keith Russell Keith Russell is offline
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieWG
I am really tired of that direct, opaque paint look. I am equally tired of the transparent red oxide underpainting-showing-through look. Everybody does the same thing over and over, and when you go to a plein air/landscape show, it seems everybody is only doing one of those two things. (And I am as guilty as the next person. I'm even bored with my own work much of the time when I do that.) While I understand the wisdom to either approach in a situation where one is on a short time frame with a moving light source, it gets old fast! I too find that the opaque paint approach produces paintings that lack the kind of glow, luster, and brilliant color that can be captured by transparent paint, and paintings with a transparent red oxide or burnt sienna underpainting usually look muddy/dirty to me. But some people like that.

Fortunately, there are many more ways to paint using oils, then two!

None if the artists I'm interested in paint en plein aire nor do they paint using the "trans red oxide" underpaining method, either.

Check out:

Inka Essenhigh

Phil Hale (content warning)

Dino Valls (content warning)

Chris Berens

Mark Ryden

David Michael Bowers

James Jean

Istvan Sandorfi

And many others whose work looks nothing like anyone else's work. I mean, I know dozens of artists who paint like Thomas Kinkade, or who create still life or landscape paintings that look like any of a hundred other still life or landscape painters' work.

If you want your work to stand out from the crowd, don't paint like everyone else!

Ten times a week, some artist comes into my store and wants to learn this or that technique or gimmick or effect that they saw another artist exhibiting at a show or workshop (or on YouTube!).

That is not the way to make your work unique!
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:34 AM
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acadianartist acadianartist is offline
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Hey everyone! Well this is an old thread and I was away from WC for a while... but WOW so great that Marc Dalessio took time to reply! I am such a fan (still). And yes, the naturalists in the Louvre are mind-blowing. There are also some stunning pieces in the Musée d'Orsay, which is better known for its impressionist works, but surprised me at my last visit for its gorgeous and very large naturalist works. There is something so human and emotional about the naturalists.

As for painting looking in the general direction of the sun rather than having the sun shine over your shoulder, I have learned the hard way how true this is. Alas, often there is no perfect angle and it is always a compromise. Better than average studio lights have also deceived me in the past by bringing out colours that regular indoor lighting just doesn't do.

Lots of great suggestions from everyone again. Jamie - those oranges really do "glow"!

So, just in case you're all wondering, no, I have not found the magical secret to making paint glow. I still believe it's an effect mostly achieved by juxtaposing muted, darker (maybe opaque?) tones against higher key, purer colour and transparent passages. And yes, I have used the red underpainting(especially when painting a lot of green which I often do) and lately have begun experimenting with a black underpainting (see "Un air de violon" here : http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...php?t=1334110). It certainly makes the colours jump out, but transparency is lost. True, I could have feathered the edges more, but I liked the stark contrast.

Coincidentally, I am again thinking about this as I get interested in painting cloud formations. You know how that edge of the cloud can glow when the sun hits it at a certain angle? Say, for example, I wanted to paint this (which I am hoping to attempt soon on a large canvas, but first I want to do a few studies and plein air sketches):



And feel free to send me links to artists who are great cloud painters! Of course the first one that comes to mind is Turner, but that's not exactly the style I'm aiming for. Maybe the problem is, I don't know what style I'm aiming for... but then again, isn't the journey the best part?
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Last edited by acadianartist : 11-10-2013 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:45 AM
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

This comes pretty close... from a local artist (who also happens to be a work colleague and has promised me a studio tour!), Jennifer Pazienza:

http://jenniferpazienza.com/catalog.pdf
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:21 AM
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Re: how to get oil paint to "glow"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Russell
[color="teal"]Fortunately, there are many more ways to paint using oils, then two!

None if the artists I'm interested in paint en plein aire .......

I know, Kevin. I was only addressing plein air painting, and my comment about styles was in the context of plein air events. Those who do paint plein air need to search for techniques and materials that will work under their specific conditions and time frames. I totally agree that there are many different ways to paint. The ways are endless! Once you take it outside though, you have to face limitations of how much stuff you want to cart along with you, how big you can go without creating a sail out of your canvas, and how much time you have. Things that were effective for you in the studio may no longer apply. I'm not saying one is better than the other. On the contrary, I think they are both great! And different.

Jamie
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