Oh, sure, I love those Krispy Kremes as much as the next person and I take mine glazed, too! (Especially, when the HOT DOUGHNUTS NOW sign is on! Yum Yum!) But, today I’m talking about the painting technique referred to as Glazing. Glazing is a term mostly recognized by oil painters. It is a process that has been in practice for centuries. The old masters of oil painting used it as a way to create depth in their paintings, achieving dimension and luminosity that brought their subjects to life. The process of glazing is a laborious one, as in order to create depth, you have to apply multiple layers of thinned oil paint and allow each to dry in between. With oil paints this process can take months to complete. However, the time is well spent as the painting has a quality of light that cannot be matched.
Other art mediums, such as watercolor, can be more difficult to glaze with. When you apply multiple layers of watercolor paint, you tend to re-wet the previous dry layers at the risk of removing the color underneath. The process has to be executed more carefully than with dry oil layers. Generally, you will want to choose pigments that are transparent, as well as, moderately staining as this will increase the permanency of the pigment once it is dried. The ratio of water to pigment is also important as you can cloud your painting and lose the white of the paper, which is your source of light, very quickly. That is one reason why some opaque watercolor pigments, as well as, gouache, should be used with care in this process.
One veteran watercolorist has spent years perfecting his process of glazing with watercolor. Don Rankin is a nationally known watercolor artist, who began his career over 40 years ago. He is the author of the book, “Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor”, which is now available online at Cheap Joe’s. Don is currently working on Volume Two of this book which will provide more updated information on the subject of watercolor glazing. He also invented the “Don Rankin Magic Value & View Finder Set” available only at Cheap Joe’s, a useful tool for painting plein air. Don is a member of the Southern Watercolor Society. He earned a Ph.D. in Visual Communication and is an Assistant Professor of Art at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Don’s years of experience as an architectural illustrator has allowed him the opportunity to develop a technique for glazing that can benefit beginners as well as professional watercolor artists.
Don’s technique relies solely on transparent watercolor pigments. He carefully selects his colors from professional lines of paint like American Journey, Holbein, Maimeri Blu, and Winsor & Newton, as well as others. Choosing for his palette, pigments that are transparent to semi- transparent, which are lightfast and reliable. Don likes to use quinacridone pigments for their rich color and ability to remain vibrant under several layers of glaze. They are naturally lightfast, staining, and have a wide range of exciting colors from bright pink to deep gold. Quins are great for skin tones and adding warmth to natural landscapes. American Journey has a complete array of quinacridone pigments available in 5 ml, 15 ml, and 37ml tube sets. This is certainly a great way to try out these incredible colors.
Don Rankin has just recently begun posting his glazing technique information online using his new blog identity masteringglazingtechniquesinwatercolor at www.donrankinwatercolorstudio.com . Here is the latest post from Don, Comparing Pigments. Don reveals information about why he chooses one pigment over another for his process. He also explains how to create a comparison chart to identify the transparency of different watercolor paints. This is a very useful tool when working with pigments made from various paint companies, as each have their own formula for the production of similar colors. For more information on watercolor glazing contact Don at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This information is used with the permission of Don Rankin. Be sure to look for future posts and read more on the subject of Watercolor Glazing by visiting him at http://donrankinwatercolorstudio.com/ .
Posted on July 8, 2012 by masteringglazingtechniquesinwatercolor
Do the paints I choose make a difference?
Absolutely! As I begin this discussion I want to clarify that all comparisons on this page are being made with high quality watercolor paints. To clarify or to be precise; in this section I am demonstrating such brands as American Journey, Grumbacher, Holbein, Maimeri, Winsor & Newton, Sennelier and Stephen Quiller. This is not to imply that all other brands are inferior. These just happen to be the colors I use most often in my studio.
Experiment with your own colors:
You should gather your own colors and arrange them in some orderly sense that works for you. The objective will be to compare several qualities in your chosen paints. If you wish to work with glazes you will need transparent colors. How can you tell which ones are more transparent? Two choices come to mind immediately. The first one is to study the chemistry of watercolor paint ingredients. You can make it as involved as you like. Most major paint manufacturers have web-sites and they will tell you a lot about the basic ingredients in their paint. This will help you become aware of some of the most often used ingredients. There are a number of guides that have been written that will offer their opinion regarding various colors. All of this is good. You should care enough to learn as much as possible about the materials you use. The second alternative is to experiment with the colors. In reality you should combine both approaches. After all experimentation is wonderful but you do need some structure as you conduct your investigations otherwise how will you make use of what you learn?
Conduct your own tests:
To get started make use of waterproof black india ink. You want waterproof ink and you want to let it dry thoroughly before you begin to pull watercolor washes across it. You can paint a straight line or you can do circles, triangles, whatever makes you happy. I use circles because they work better on a book page.
What to do:
Ok. Your ink is dry. Now it is time to apply your washes. As you look at the two charts below you will see that some colors disappear as they cross the black surface. Others do not. The ones that disappear more fully are the most transparent colors. Now if you labeled your colors then you know which ones will work best for you in the first washes you apply to produce a glaze. As you experiment with your colors you will learn several things. For example some washes will become more transparent as you dilute the strength of the wash. You do this by simply adding more water to the paint.
Two charts below:
The first chart is an excerpt from my book Mastering Glazing Techniques in Watercolor, Volume I which is a revised edition of the original publication. It is available at various outlets but you can order direct at createspace.com/36567628 or Amazon.com. By the way, the colors are labeled in the book but the copy is too small for this illustration. The second chart will be in Volume II.
Chart I contains what I call more traditional colors. Colors like some cadmium colors and ultramarine. Do note that many of these colors are no longer made with traditional substances. That is, modern chemistry has found ways to produce similar effects with either less toxic or often less expensive components. Several years ago the rule of thumb was that the traditional names were retained in order to inform the experienced artist that the paint was made to perform much like its original counterpart.
Chart II is primarily made up of Quinacridone colors that I have mentioned in earlier posts. A careful examination will reveal that the colors on Chart II are more transparent than some of the more traditional colors. You will note that the outer ring has washes that are applied pretty much full strength while the inner ring has received diluted washes.
If you go back to an earlier post you can see some of the difference in the quality of paint between the piece entitled Dragging Canoe and Young Warrior. Young Warrior was painted primarily with quinacridone colors while Dragging Canoe was painted with colors found on Chart I.
What a wonderful post from Don Rankin! I never miss the opportunity to learn something new from a seasoned artist. Workshops, online instruction, DVDs, or books are all great sources of art media to help to improve your skills as an artist. With today’s technology, this information is more abundant and accessible than ever before. We literally have the world at our fingertips and we, at Cheap Joe’s, know that you have the choice to shop anywhere you want. That is why we are constantly searching for ways to encourage, assist, educate, and provide you with the best and most complete shopping experience possible. We welcome and value your opinions and suggestions and invite you to visit us on Facebook at any of our three pages, Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, Cheap Joe’s Outlet of Boone, or Cheap Joe’s of Charlotte. “Like Us” on these pages to keep up with all of the educational information and great offers that are posted daily. We strive to provide exclusive offers, videos, stories, and links, all related to Art. You might just find a new technique or product that will enhance your creative experience. If you don’t have a Facebook page, feel free to email us and let us know what we can do to help further your art career or hobby. We are always here for you no matter what you might need!
Here’s Hoping You Have Many Happy Lazy Glazing Daze Ahead of You!