Saturday, 27 September 2014

Oil Painting Technique: Learn Glazing with Oils with Pigment Translucency

Glazing oil paints is one of the chief techniques in oil painting. The aspiring artist might be lead to believe that glazing can only be done like the old masters, requiring many paint layers, linseed oil and hours of work. But anyone can learn about this great oil painting technique with just basic art materials and a couple of hours.

Art Tutorial with Oils How to Glaze with Oil Colors

Oil Painting Lesson
Some oil colors are more translucent than others by their nature. However, pigments with high opacity can be made translucent by the addition of a little linseed oil. 

I have therefore chosen oil colors of varying translucency for this art demonstration, which can be found on my art instruction video clip.


Art Materials Needed for Oil Glazing Technique

All that is needed are: a primed piece of card, measuring approx 10x8in or so. Notice on the left side of the image, I have placed oil colors which are relatively opaque. These are (from the top): cerulean blue, cadmium red, cadmium yellow, burnt umber and viridian mixed with a little white. White will add opacity to any color (as viridian is translucent on its own).

Opaque and Translucent Colors
On the right of the image, I have placed oil colors that are relatively translucent. These are from the top): ultramarine blue, permanent rose, lemon yellow, burnt sienna and viridian neat. Also needed for this art exercise are linseed oil and fine sables.

Notice that these colors have been placed in long stripes of equal length. This permits the application of different overlying colors to see how each affects the appearance of the underlying color.

Art Exercise in Translucency of Oil Pigments

Glazing with Oil Paints
I had applied each pigment neat on primed card and allowed them to dry for at least ten days. Some pigments dry quicker than others. Lemon yellow is particularly lengthy to dry. Once enough time has elapsed for each oil pigment to become touch-dry, I will apply only those that are naturally translucent over the top. I will add a little linseed oil to increase translucency.

Art Tutorial on Glazing Oil Colors

As can be seen here, I began with ultramarine, adding a few drops of linseed oil into a wide receptacle first. I will add this blue in a vertical stripe so that it goes over each underlying color. Notice how it affects the appearance of each underlying pigment, almost like tinted glass.

Linseed Oil for Translucency
Now repeat this procedure for the other oil colors, cleaning the brush between each application. I applied in similar fashion: viridian green, lemon yellow, permanent rose and burnt sienna. The close up view shows how each color has been affected by the overlying glaze. Some warm colors will appear cooler, some cool colors will appear warmer. In other cases, the color will appear darker.
Close up of how Glazing Affects Colors


Glazing with oils can be used to inject mood into a painting or to deepen colours, create smooth effects, which can be great for skin colors expanses of sky or reflections. Practice this glazing exercise to see how the appearance of a color is affected by the application of diluted oil paint on top.

Articles on More Painting Lessons

Why does red and blue make brown? (My Science of Color Site)
Anatomy of Green (Science of Color Site)
The four states of color (Oil Painting Medic blog)

Art Class Learn to Draw for Beginners: Cure Sloping Drawings with Symmetrical Shapes

Drawing is more about how our brains interpret the information in front of us than what the hand is doing with the pencil. Having seen numerous drawings during my time teaching art, came across a common affliction, which appears as though the drawing is sloping to one side.

Drawing Cure for Sloping Drawing

Crooked Drawing
I believe we are all biased towards one side of the world that we perceive. For instance, some people will be more aware of one side than the other. This bias will be reflected within the drawing which will appear to slope to one side or be squashed up on one corner of the page.

The only way around this problem is to make the student aware of their crooked drawing problem. I find turning the drawing upside down or viewing it through the mirror effective in making the student aware of this sloping problem.

Drawing Class in Fields of Vision

A Basic Drawing Lesson
The world that we see can be thought of as four divisions: upper left, lower left, upper right, lower right. If any of these fields of vision dominates the others or are imbalanced, the student will render an object with sloping lines, or contours to one side of the page.

A way of redressing the balance in fields of vision perception is a simple drawing exercise that will force the brain to examine each four visual fields and how one relates with the other. A way of forcing the brain to pay equal attention to all four fields of vision is to draw shapes with two lines of symmetry freehand. This means reflecting a line or contour accurately in all four quadrants. It is not as easy as it sounds.

My art Lesson Video on Drawing



Art Materials Needed for Drawing Tutorial

All that is needed is a sheet of paper, a ruler, HB pencil and an eraser.

Beginner's Drawing Exercise
The video clip shows how to begin the drawing exercise. Draw a square, approx 5 -10 inches in size on the paper. Draw a faint cross through the middle of the square so that the square is divided into four. Now you will have four sections: Upper left, upper right, lower right, lower left.

Place a dot on each line of the central cross that are equal in coordinate, as can be seen in the image.

Now make a simple random line within one of the quadrants that begins and ends at a dot. It might be a curving line, a line with edges or a straight line, but ensure it is simple.

Drawing Technique for Beginners

Drawing Technique
Now turn the page to its side and try to reflect this line as a mirror image in the next quadrant, as shown in the video. Each line must meet up at a particular coordinate on the central cross of the square, creating a shape with two lines of symmetry. It won’t be perfect at first; this is OK. An eraser is allowed. Begin faint and then gradually work a little darker as the drawing is perfected.

Keep turning and rotating the page this way and that, rubbing out deviant lines and checking for symmetry. This drawing lesson will force the brain to address all four visual fields, checking how one compares to the other.

Drawing Class for Beginners

This drawing exercise forces the brain to examine all four fields of vision in drawing, helping to cure the affliction of wonky or crooked drawings. Keep practicing this exercise to keep wonky drawings at bay. Improvement will come with practice.

More Drawing Lessons

Do your eyes deceive you?
How to shade a sphere
How to draw an ellipse