Glazing Techniques for that Old Masters Glow
I have a confession to make: I’ve never glazed an oil painting. Glazing techniques intimidate me a bit — creating luminosity and an inner glow on canvas is no easy feat — and I often lose steam after about the second layer.
It takes so much time, but the payoff! Oh, the payoff! To capture that glow so that every color on my canvas looks like stained glass, infused with light?! Irresistible…
I love the slick, glossy surface that such artists as Tintoretto and Titian are known for. And when I’ve worked with glazes, there is something almost meditative about going over and over the surface with a brush, smoothing out every stroke so that it gleams.
Then, of course, there are the colors. Maxfield Parrish is one of my favorite artists, mostly because his colors are so vibrant. He was an expert at glazing techniques and produced surfaces that had the appearance of stained glass. Tube colors with intense chroma still can’t compare to the built-up jewel tones that come through when glazing.
I think it’s the waiting that stymies me the most. Waiting until each previous layer is absolutely dry means I’m painting less. This can be really frustrating when all I want to do is paint. But, whether it’s easy or not, the effects of glazing are breathtaking.
I love the tinted glow it enables painters to achieve. Sometimes my time or inclination doesn’t allow for it, but there is something exciting about immersing myself in a technique just to see how it works and see what I can learn from the process.
If you are in the same boat, Glazing by Michael Wilcox is the only resource for us to consider. Notably the best guidebook around when it comes to getting that Old Masters glow, Glazing makes this sumptuous process come alive while staying accessible — because I’m still learning the ropes!
But all the materials and methods are covered so that if your creativity is being sparked in this direction, you’ve got the resource to make it happen! Enjoy!