Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Glaze and Wash Demo

I came across this painting a few days ago, still taped to the foam core, stacked in the corner with some frames and glass.  I started this painting a few months ago – not sure when – because I’d reached what I call an impasse state where I had no idea what to do next for this painting.  The best thing to do was to put it away and go on to other things.  

After finding this painting in the corner, I brought it out and leaned it against a wall where I’m sure to see it often in passing, where I think about it a little, study my responses to seeing it....

In my class this past Friday, someone asked me the difference between a wash and a glaze, which is something that I’ve been thinking about off and on all week.  I thought of that conversation this morning and decided that this painting needed a good wash – and a good glazing.

In this painting I used a medium glaze made of Prussian Blue.  I chose Prussian Blue because I felt it would ‘cool-down’ the background but is transparent-enough so that the background will still shine through.   I mixed a large amount on a clean pallet.  After I was satisfied with the ratio of paint to water, I applied the mix to the painting full-strength, starting at the lowest part of the Parcheesi Board behind the horse and the cloth the horse is on.  I applied this glaze quite thickly at first, then graded it toward the top of the painting until it was about half & half of the mix I started with.

This is a good time to mention that in order for me to work this glaze into the area I designated, I turned the board so that the paint & water would run downhill.  One of the beauties of watercolor is being able to turn the board any way that works for the artist.

After the large area behind the horse was glazed, I then glazed areas throughout the entire painting.  The glaze layers ranged from full-strength from the mix to lightened with more and more water.  I glazed into deep shadow and background areas in varying degrees of paint/water strength.


The way I used the Prussian Blue/water mix as a wash:

I felt that there was a heavy build-up of paint on the front shadow side of the horse figurine and wanted to take some of it off.  The way I did this was by wetting the entire area with a thin amount of the PB mix, scrub & lift it a little with my brush, clean the brush in water, dry it out until I feel it’s thirsty-enough to lift the wet paint off the area.   I did this a few times.  Often I may need a q-tip or edge of a paper towel.  I could’ve washed this with plain water but I find that washing an area works better a complementary color.  I think that the glue in the paint may also help in collecting the dried glue on the paper.  In this case, the area that needed to be washed was the red/orange-hued  shadow area of the horse, PB seemed a good choice for washing-out. 


I’ve put the before and after versions of the painting together and find that with both eyes open, it doesn’t look that much different than it did when I started.   When I squint, I can see a slight difference, the focus is much sharper, the depth a little deeper.  When I look at the painting itself, with both eyes open or squinting, I see a vast difference.

 Before and After Glaze & Wash

Work on this painting is on-hold for awhile.  But with the change in appearance due to the Prussian Blue Glaze and wash, I feel that this painting is back on track and I’ll work on it again, soon.


Later, same day>>>> I had no idea I’d be adding to this page again today but here I am.  I’d planned on working on something else for awhile but this painting was ‘calling out’ for more work.

Above find the painting after I put on the Prussian Blue Glaze and wash.  The copy to the right shows where I’ve repainted the background and washed out the horse with glaze and q-tips.  I’ve also done quite a bit of work on the blue-checked towel.  Despite the fact that the horse obviously needs more work, I’m liking this painting a lot better than I did when I placed it in the corner, a lot better than when I decided to work on it this morning.

When I painted in the reds, yellows and blues in the Parcheesi board , I used a medium-thin mix of pure color with its complemented color, enough complement to take the color down without drastically changing the hue.  I applied the paint rather thinly, a tiny bit more water than paint.  There’s more I might possibly do on the background but I’ve decided to leave it for now and concentrate on the horse.

To be Continued....

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