Conversations on Oil Glazes

Work in Progress: Rooster Commission

Most days I try to post several photos throughout my time in the studio in order to share my creative process with my patrons and fellow artists. One of my goals for 2020 is to increase the quantity of those kinds of posts here as well in order to shorten the length of my posts and give more detailed information on individual steps in my process. Unfortunately, you will have to read a long post today.

View of my studio work table and work in progress.

My photos from last night generated quite a lengthy discussion on my Facebook page this morning, so I thought I would transfer those questions and answers here with more detail.

Oil Glazing

Question: How do you do a glaze. I do oil painting, but have never used a glaze. How do you mix it.??????

Response: There is usually a medium involved to make the paint translucent without affecting the pigment. I like Liquin or Gamsol and oil of spike lavender.
They all work differently, so you have to experiment. I used a Turpenoid gel a couple of days ago and it looks promising.

I think you live near me Sheila. We could meet up sometime if you want. I have a favorite book you can borrow.
It explains how some of the mediums work.

It’s from college, so it doesn’t cover Gamsol or Turpenoid gel, but it has great information on classical painting techniques and materials.

My favorite reference book.

Question: I use liquin as a medium when I am painting so I am thinking that I just add coloration to the liquin and spread it over the canvas?? Interesting.

Response:  Liquin is very viscous and can affect lighter colors when used in higher concentration. I like the Oil of Spike Lavender because it starts to work almost like watercolors if you us a lot of medium.
That’s how I got the beautiful luminosity in the feathers last night.

I mix it with the oils in a small bowl or cup. You can cover large areas with a larger flat brush pretty quickly and it doesn’t keep the brushstrokes like Liquin or Gamsol.
It all depends on what you want in your painting.
I used it on the last indigo wash in the owl also, so you can see a less controlled application.

My barred owl study after an application of pale blue oil thinned with Turpenoid Gel.

Response from Artist: Thanks. I think that I have actually done this without knowing that I have with the liquin. I never used liquin until I rook some portrait lessons from Abner Cope. I always used the old style of rubbing on something like copal over the whole canvas before I started to paint. I learned to oil paint back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I started painting at age 16 and had a private teacher.

Closing Thoughts: There are so many techniques. Abner is an excellent portrait artist, but I haven’t taken one of his classes. I’m mostly self-taught in painting. I had an intro level class at SCAD and have used my textbook to figure things out over the last 20 years.
I haven’t worked with copal myself, although I do start with a burnt sienna glaze and imprimatura to block out values.

I’m going to experiment with grisaille next as an under painting.
I work on canvas periodically, but I really prefer a wood panel sealed with rabbit skin glue. The texture of canvas is nice, but I don’t like the flexibility. I guess I can be heavy handed in the early stages and I don’t like the feel of the canvas adjusting to pressure.

Question #2: Wasn’t that Maxfield Parrish’s technique? A layer of green glaze, then painting, then a layer of blue glaze . . . or something like that??

Response: Possibly. I haven’t studied individual artists in depth yet, only specific techniques. He’s definitely at the top of the list.
I would guess from the depth of his landscape paintings that he starts with a green Imprimatura, where I have been using the sienna.
I was thinking of you last night and a conversation in my studio when you visited because the Oil of Spike Lavender is quite fragrant.

Follow Up: Yeah, check out Parrish’s techniques. Few artists I’ve seen have shown quite the same glow in their work.

Similarities to Watercolor

Comment:  I love layering watercolor washes for the same reasons! Depth and luminosity!

Response: I do not get along with watercolor painting.
I love your work though.

Comment: Thank you! I’ve never tried oils but from watching you and other artists I’m not sure if I have the patience! Haha!

Response: I feel the same way about watercolor. I can use the pencils halfway decent, but I’m not good at layering.

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