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Old 04-17-2019, 10:48 AM
Ronster1970 Ronster1970 is offline
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Glazing Question

Ok ... I have been reading alot about Glazing on the site ... I get the underpainting, the toning, doing multiple layers ...

Two questions I have ...

(1) do you use pure colour or do you mix the colour you want? So say I want a final orange, do I do a layer of red then a layer of yellow? Or mix an orange? Do I adjust the chroma? Or does the underpainting deal with that?

(2) How thin is thin? Just try and see what happens? When you say transparent should the first layer be clearly visible?

Thoughts?
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Old 04-17-2019, 01:22 PM
JCannon JCannon is offline
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Re: Glazing Question

I suggest reading Maxfield Parrish's description of his technique. It's the most complete "how to glaze" guide ever compiled. The full version is in Coy Ludwig's book, but you can find most of it online. Much of it is here. But really, the book is worth getting. A house is not a home without a copy of Ludwig.

1. You can do both, but it's probably best to use a pure transparent color. Parrish says that he originally used a long-defunct color called Alizarin Orange, which was withdrawn during his lifetime. (Fugitive.) So he created a substitute with Alizarin Crimson and one of the yellows -- I forget which one; probably Indian Yellow.

Many people mistakenly think that he used only the primaries: First blue, then red, then yellow. This is NOT true. His description makes clear that he also used secondaries, and that the second layer was usually orange.

I just found this rare unfinished work which indicates that he sometimes used a method rather different from the one described in the Ludwig book. That painting appears to have an orange-ish ground over which he applied a partial layer in umber, followed by a layer of ultramarine. Perhaps there's a good reason why he gave up on that one!

The underpainting will definitely affect the chroma. That's kind of the point.

2. How thin is thin? Experimentation is the only possible teacher here.

"When you say transparent should the first layer be clearly visible?" I think what you mean to ask here is, should the first layer be transparent? It's a personal choice.

One reason why I never truly succeeded in "making a Parrish" following his recipe is my unhappiness with the initial layer. I'm ALWAYS changing it, always finding new solutions. In other words, I just can't help using white and making adjustments, sometimes moving entire objects. Also, there are some things that are best painted white-against-dark, such as thin branches. Even Parrish used opaque paints to create tree leaves.

So I inevitably create an opaque first layer, which can then be glazed with transparent paints. When EVERYTHING goes right and there is magic in the air, you can achieve passages that have a kind of mystical quality, using this technique. But it is also very likely that you will create passages which look cheesy, like a badly hand-colored photograph. Or maybe a badly-done colorized black-and-white movie. Yuck!

When that happens, there is nothing for it but to fix things with some opaque or semi-opaque paint. Delicacy is the key word here.

One thing you always have to keep in mind is that the darkest value in the first layer should NOT be black. Look at an unfinished Parrish: His darkest blues are really a middle value. Added layers will darken those passages.
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Old 04-17-2019, 02:41 PM
Ronster1970 Ronster1970 is offline
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Re: Glazing Question

Thank you for your response! Think I need to take a simple object and just try and see what happens. Very helpful and will look up the link.
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Old 04-17-2019, 03:16 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: Glazing Question

You might want to take that Maxwell Parrish information with a large grain of salt. I understand that many of his paintings are now in very poor condition, with cracking and delaminating, etc. Many believe that the poor longevity of his paintings has been caused by his placing of many layers of varnish between his layers of paint.

There really is no mystique regarding the glazing process. The idea is to achieve the final color that you desire in as straightforward a manner as possible, while still realizing the benefits of the glazing process.

When I glaze, I always go for the final color as early as possible in the application of color paint. I don't try to do any "tricky" overlays to achieve the correct color, such as painting a "Blue" over Yellow with the goal of achieving a "Green". I merely paint a "Green", and that Green is one as close to the final color as I can get it.

The first, very thin application of color over my grisaille underpainting usually appears similar to a hand-tinted photograph of the '40's, and that's OK, because the subsequent glaze layers will eventually diminish the appearance of the gray underpainting, as each glaze layer of color begins to "build" upon the one beneath it.

I am not concerned with the tricky building of colors by adding them on top of each other. Nor am I ever concerned with the transparency of the actual paint. I achieve the translucency, or transparency by spreading the paint out into an extraordinary thin layer. I always go for the color. It usually takes a few glaze layers to get there, but I always go for the final color from the onset.

Here is a step-by-step work in progress of one of my glazing efforts. Perhaps you will be able to understand by seeing my method in progressive steps.


Grisaille Underpainting


The beginning of the first glaze layer of color.


The final painting. Excuse the blurry photo. That is a camera problem, and not the painting. I don't remember exactly "how many" glaze layers of color were required, but certainly more were required for some areas than for others. I just do what it takes to achieve the colors that I want. In real numbers, probably 4 or 5 glaze layers, as an average.

When I have finished, my entire grisaille is covered by color glaze layers. I use the grisaille as a "value map" for my glazing effort, allowing me to determine where the darks, and lights belong. Yes, my entire grisaille painting gets covered by color, but by that time, it has already served its purpose very well.
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Last edited by WFMartin : 04-17-2019 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:43 PM
Ronster1970 Ronster1970 is offline
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Re: Glazing Question

Thank you! This is a great clarification.
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Old 04-17-2019, 07:29 PM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: Glazing Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronster1970
Thank you! This is a great clarification.

The only real criterion for judging the thin-ness of the glaze layers is that if you have found that you're first glaze layer has totally obliterated the grisaille underpainting, you have probably used too much paint (applied it too thickly), to be considered a glaze.

As you progress from glaze layer to glaze layer, you'll find that small imperfections in value , and hue become diminished by the subsequent ones, evening out your applications, and creating a smoothness that would not be possible with a mere single application of paint.

Just as when polishing a metallic surface by introducing more and more tiny "scratches" (abrasions), they tend to cancel each other out, and thus creating a smooth, shiny appearance, so do the thin, glaze layers of paint build upon each other to create a deep color, and very smooth appearance that may be quite difficult to achieve with a single application of paint.
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Old 04-18-2019, 01:47 AM
chaithram chaithram is offline
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Re: Glazing Question

I have never painted in oils, but thinking of it. This discussion was quite informative. Thanks all.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:13 AM
Ronster1970 Ronster1970 is offline
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Re: Glazing Question

Martin ...

The description of thickness is a really helpful tip. I am gong to set up a simple still life and try using the tips.

Really appreciate this! Great stuff.
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Old 04-18-2019, 08:26 AM
JCannon JCannon is offline
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Re: Glazing Question

Bill, that painting is just wonderful.

You're right that some (not all) Parrish works are in poor condition, but I think that this is due to the fact that he was, inescapably, a commercial illustrator. He had deadlines. They must have been fairly generous, but still, a deadline is a deadline.

In other words, I am certain that he applied copal isolation varnishes prematurely.

I recently tried a copal varnish myself, on a painting that had gone unvarnished for the first five months of its existence. Even THEN I felt that I was rushing things, because people say that you should not apply varnish until the work has cured for half a year. After application, the varnish took more than a week to dry to the touch.

The results LOOK great. Despite all the drawbacks, copal is the only varnish that makes the paint look the way I want it to look. That said, I'll probably stick with Gamvar as a final varnish from now on; it's just easier and safer.

My larger point is that Parrish applied several layers of copal varnish between the paint layers, and he could not possibly have waited half-a-year between layers. Colliers magazine would not wait three years for a cover. So there, I think, is the root of the problem, from the standpoint of conservation.

I think he used these varnish layers so he could easily remove an upper paint layer from a passage and start afresh. He felt that this technique allowed him greater flexibility. But as we all know, it is perfectly possible to glaze directly over a paint layer, without applying a varnish coat.

If one still wants to do it the Parrish way, one possibility might be to use Gamvar instead of copal. Gamblin advises against painting over Gamvar:
Quote:
Gamvar should be removed before adding fresh paint.

A key feature of a true picture varnish is that it may be removed later to clean or restore a painting. Were you to add paint layers over Gamvar, the added paint runs the risk of removal with future cleaning or re-varnishing of the painting.
Nevertheless, I may give this idea a try one of these days, if I'm feeling puckish and experimental -- though not on an IMPORTANT work, obviously.
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