Art 1 – glazing with transparencies and “learning to see” – Due 5/5


1. Which of the following tips from the site below do you find most important in your exploration of the transparent painting process? Explain why in the context of one of your paintings.

tips on transparent glazing

2. What did you learn from the short article below about painting in transparent glazes and how will you apply it to your current painting?

painting in glazes in acrylics

Here’s a great quote from Black Horse Art Supply blurb on artist Carolyn Anderson:

“Interpreting visual reality should be about exploration and not just an attempt at re-creation. Great art is dependent on observation and strong visual elements. Learning to see and compare visual information is a process of growth and exploration. A drawing of a tree done by a child and an adult are not much different from one another. The difference lies in the complexity of the painting and the artist’s ability to notice nuance and variation and to organize and edit that information into a personal expression. Craft without creativity is only part of the equation. Painting is about learning to see – and hopefully, sharing how we see and what is visually important to us, with others.”

What can you find in the quote above that applies to your process of painting and discovery in the paintings you have done so far in class?

Here are some of her paintings from her website:

Carolyn Anderson

For sketchbook, spend an hour drawing various landscapes from personal photos or other image sources (show foreground, middleground, and background). Or, head outdoors to sketch several views from a landscape  site.

27 responses »

  1. I think the tip about waiting till the paint is dry before starting on the next layer is important and has affected me most out of that list. I’ve tried painting right next to a patch of wet paint and the colors bled together to make an interesting pattern but not the stark line I was looking for. I learned that a more liquidy, smooth glaze is ideal. Some techniques that may be accidents in one artist’s work can be intentional in another’s. For example some people might want the bleedy look I mentioned earlier and paint before the last layer is dry on purpose but other people might not want that. This relates to the quote in that the child might accidentally create what would be considered a masterpiece if done by an adult but since it was unintentional and not creativity that led to the work of art, the piece is not recognized as great. I like how Carolyn Anderson’s art directs the viewer’s eyes to specific places but the image as a whole has to be seen to understand the subject.

    • The liquid, smooth glaze that you mention helps carry diffused light throughout. In your last landscape, the successive building of warm transparencies achieves a sense of light filtering through a smokey sky.

  2. Having patience before starting the next layer of a painting is probably the most important tip for me from the list. The rest of them I don’t have too much problem with, but there have been many, many times I’ve started painting a second layer before the paint is fully dry, and I either scrape off the layer beneath or make some weird mix of color. A good example of this is my still-life painting; the rims of the cup and can were painted before the previous layers were dry, so there are spots where it is more red or slightly green-tinted.

    I didn’t actually know paint glazes came in different colors. I thought it was always a clear layer over your paint that makes the color clearer. I will use it to enhance color contrasts in my painting.

    I struggle with creativity in my paint because I hate paint as a medium. It never does what I want. But recently, I’ve been able to channel my imagination into paint, not just an easier tool such as pastel or pencil, through the practice of several projects. I’ve grown a lot, it’s gotta be said.

    • Agreed, as we continue to practice we will uncover new ways to get paint to do what’s intended! Keep in mind your individual paint colors can be thinned with water to create different glazes for radiant undertones. Colors will be more vibrant and may adhere better if they are diluted with a dab of matt medium in addition to water.

  3. I think that the tip to wait for things to dry and to use a soft brush will help me when I use glazes. This will help because I have a great painting, then I ruin a little part by being impatient and putting a glaze on unevenly.
    I think that adding a glaze to my paintings will help with the depth which the second article talks about. I do a lot of works with close ups and stuff in the distance and I think a glaze will help make things pop more.
    I think when the quote talks about exploration, it helps me think that I need to go more outside the box with my paintings. I have never done really crazy things, and I think that if I do, it will make my other paintings more interesting.

  4. 1. Being patient. You have to develop your work as you go along, not just rush through it.
    2. About how if you add alot of colors it will look better.

    I like the idea that you can “see” art. It makes sense, I play piano and there is a point when I’m learning the song that you kind of get it, I think that can be applied to art.

  5. 1. I think using a soft brush would help me the most, because a lot of the time, the paint will get out of control. With my Yosemite landscape, I realized the paint was overlapping when it shouldn’t and getting a bit out of hand.

    2. One of the most important things I learned about glazing from this is that if you have multiple layers of primary colors, the light reflects through the layers of paint individually, making it appear luminous or glowing. To make a secondary color with this technique, I would need to apply a primary color, and then another primary color after that one dried.

    3. I agree with how she says that painting is exploring something visually, and not just re-creating it, because when you are painting something, you see all the different elements that make up the subject matter. Creativity is like interpreting how to get the final image in your own steps.

    • When you make successive layers of thin glazes to create your own combinations, the colors will pull through one another for a luminous effect that’s hard to achieve working straight from the paint tube. You’ve made good observations that will carry into your next landscape, including “exploring something visually, not just re-creating it.” This reminds me of what Aristotle said long ago: “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”

  6. 1)I think being patient is the most helpful tip because (at least for me) its something I struggle with and if I just be patient I can work through difficulties without quitting.

    2)I learned that for the best effects I shouldn’t mix colors for one layer and to keep them separate to get the best results for my painting. Also, that glaze can help add depth to my painting and make it look more realistic.

    3) I haven’t started anything in class because I was absent but I find it interesting how she says a child and an adult can make very similar trees but its the little nuances that make the art great.

  7. I think being patient is helpful as well (same with square) and getting to know your glazes are also both very helpful, because I have a tendency to not really do either of things because I just want to do

    I think the bit of advice about glazing with different layers of the same color was helpful as well. Im not sure how it applies to my next painting since I haven’t started it yet, but Im sure it will apply very soon

    Again, I’m not sure how it applies to my current painting yet, but I agree that great art is about reinterpratation and the nuances of it all

  8. 1. I know I definitely always rush things, especially with art, so I know I need to slow down and be patient. Rushing stuff will just make me regret it in the end.
    2. I think separating layers of colors is a very good idea, because in my last painting all of the colors sort of mixed together, or alternatively, didn’t link together enough. I have not yet started my new painting, but I will try to do this on my next one.
    3. I think it’s a great point that she makes when she says that painting is learning to see, and that a tree done by a child is not that different than one done by an adult. I have not started my next painting, but I will try to keep this quote in mind.

  9. I think tip number 3 about smooth painting surfaces is important. My paper dries in a way that makes it kind of ripply which makes the paint pool just like the article described. I should probably just make sure my paper is flat when it’s on the drying rack.
    From the other article I learned not to mix the primary colors in a glaze. I’ll try that tomorrow, woohoo.
    I like the “craft without creativity is only part of the equation” bit because I think my art looks a lot better when I don’t worry about it so much and I just kind of do it.

  10. I think that one tip that helped me the most is how you should wait for each layer to dry before starting on the next layer. This is important because intuitively it makes sense and most artists already know this but it is sometimes hard to practice this technique due to impatience or excitement or both. I know for me I definitely see the difference between the two practices when you layer paints quickly with haste I think a lot of depth is lost and when depth is lost that really hurts a piece making it seem more 2-D which isn’t really what a lot of paintings want to attain. Layering after waiting a while also seems to provide much more saturated rich colors which is really gorgeous and sometimes translates a message or thought better. The tip about the surface and also about brushes I think was extremely useful because a lot of times the quality of materials and how you use them is really important. Something that I found pretty inspiring is how she pointed out child and adult tree and I thought that was a kind of powerful thing about art.

  11. Being patient and waiting for the glaze to dry in between each layer is the tip that affects me most. This is because a lot of times painting I have tried to rush through things, which has ended up making my painting worse and getting me even more frustrated.
    I learned that glazes are good for giving a glowy affect, and that they help to make things pop. I will use this knowledge to help diferentiate between things in my painting.
    I think it is interesting what she said about painting what you see, and how art is exploration. I think that I have gotten better at painting what I see in general, but probably could have done a little better at that on my last landscape.

  12. I found the tip about using transparent colors to brighten a piece has been the most important to me. I learned allot about it during the last painting where I used a transparent coat of whit on top of one of yellow to make sunlight and a gradient in its intensity that I liked in my next piece I plan on incorporating the technique of using glazes to mix colors instead of on my plate. I found the process of glazing and art being described as a growth and explorationrung true with me as I’m sure it does with many. In my painting I’ve been trying new trchniques which often don’t work and have had to learn how to work around the fallout of that

  13. Using a light ground was an extremely important tip in how to glaze my landscape. This is important for a couple of reasons. The first is that it lets mistakes become easier to erase or go over than if the layer was dark. For me I tend to make the mistake of putting on too much color, or too dark of colors early on in the painting which makes it harder to work around the painting.

    I also learned that the paints should be in a fluid state, so that you can build up the color. I again as stated before rush into the painting without making a gradual darker shade. The main thing I learned is that you should glaze over colors with different colors to get the required effect. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the author felt as if a red glaze followed by a blue glaze would be better than just mixing the two colors and glazing that. I found that very interesting.

  14. learning not to rush a painting is very important and the waiting in between layers even more so. It is crucial that the paint dry in between each layer so that the color builds instead of blending when beginning a piece.

    In order to get a really bright, luminous piece you have to layer, many times over, with bright, thick primaries and then the piece will appear to gleam/glow.

    I think that drawing skill doesn’t vary that much, its the ability to filter out the unimportant shapes and lines and to just draw in the important parts that sum of the essence of the subject that makes someone a good artist. It says that the drawings of a child and an adult are nearly the same, but somehow an adult’s looks better. This is because they don’t try to copy every line, they sum up the image in a few lines. You can’t draw every line so you have to choose the important ones.

  15. I think it is important to make sure your medium is actually transparent- in the past I have underestimated the intensity of paint and the painting didn’t turn out as well. It’s also important to “be patient rather than sorry” so your colors don’t mix together, which has also happened to me.

    I think using glaze could help make the painting seem much more subtle and in depth. The more fluid/ thin your glaze is the better is will be for building transparent layers.

    I thought what the quote brought up was really interesting: that it’s not just about copying down what you see it’s about noticing the details and imperfections in it and incorporating that into your painting. Sometimes in class I get caught up in making the shapes exactly the same but it’s more important to paint your interpretation.

  16. From the first site, the tips I think are most important in my exploration of the transparent painting process are Be Extremely Patient and Unify a Painting With a Final Glaze. Both of these are important in paintings because they keep the piece together. If one is not patient, the painting can get easily ruined. And the unifying it with a final glaze helps bring the piece together. These two tips were demonstrated in the recent landscape painting we did.

    In the second site, I learned that glazing is a bunch of thin layers that are put on multiply times. This process helps improve/show off/bring out the colors underneath. For my most recent painting, I am putting multiply layers of purple to help create a dark night sky.

    The quote brings up a cool point of who art is something that we see and perceive. It’s not just copying down something. I liked the comparison of the child and adult. Both are just emphasizing the different aspects they see when drawing something. In class, I noticed that people can be drawing the same exact thing but their pieces are different because what they “see” is different. I find that part fascinating, that it can be the same thing but it is seen differently by different people.

  17. 1) I think the most important tip in the list is to be patient. In my last painting, I had put down a layer of blue and wanted to put a layer of white over it to create a layered/foggy sky effect, but I didn’t wait for the paint to totally dry and just ended up with a dull gray color. Letting paint dry before you try to glaze over it creates complexity that can be ruined if you rush the painting process. I also think the tip about having a flat surface is important especially in the context of matt medium–when it is applied unevenly is creates ripples that cause the glaze to pool.
    2)I thought it was really interesting that the article suggested just glazing with primary colors in layers to get secondary colors instead of mixing greens and oranges on a pallet. It seems like that strategy would allow me to get a lot of layers of paint down without creating unwanted grays or browns. In my next painting, I will use this technique for sure!
    3) I though the quote was really interesting because it gets to the heart of what art really is. Everyone experiences this reality–sees the colors or a sunset or the way a road tapers off into the distance. But real art goes beyond simply putting those observations on the page. A truly creative artist will take elements from around them and combine them to make something completely unique.

  18. 1. The most important thing I learned is to have a final, unifying glaze. Whenever I don’t do that, it looks terrible, so hopefully moving forward this can create a better effect for everything. I could also be more patient with my layers, as I am usually in a rush to get everything done. Also, using transparent colors to brighten a piece was a good tip too.

    2. The way in which is suggested to mix colors was interesting; instead of doing it on the pallet, do it on the paper. I haven’t tried it, but it could be cool. This can be used to create a glowing effect.

    3. It shows that technique isn’t everything, so you don’t have to be technically masterful to create a quality piece. This is cool because I don’t have any technique, so maybe there’s some hope….

  19. Patience is definitely something i don’t always have. This list reminded me that painting is as much about the process as it is about the end result. Usually i just focus on what i want the painting to look like instead of how I’m going to get there.

    i think a glaze is a really cool way to add a layer of color that you don’t notice but has a profound effect on the overall painting. It helps with a lot of things and can give your painting an extra level of realism.

    I think the quote is cool in that it helps your realizes that youre not looking at the paining as a whole but as a sum of its parts. i also liked his comments on how we all see different things even when we are all looking at the same thing.

  20. 1. I think the tip about patience definitely could help me. Sometimes with my paintings I get anxious to move onto the next coat and the paint mixes into a muddy brown color.

    2. I’d like to create a secondary color by glazing two primaries, suggested in this article. I’d also like to try making a grey by glazing over many different shades.

    3. The quote was really cool in that it emphasized that the point of art is not only to put down on paper exactly what is there, but also to show how the artist sees and perceives the world around them. For example, in the impressionist movement, artists such as Monet and Degas focused not on crisp, defined images but on how the eye sees light. I’d like to use this idea in my art to help myself understand that you don’t always have to make things look just as they are, but can distort (even slightly) objects or ideas to make a point.

  21. I have to say that painting with patience is something that I need to learn. I’m a pretty results-oriented person, so if something doesn’t get results pretty quickly, I lose interest fast. Patience is important. Glazes are very important, I think, instead of just painting with different colors and having one color for one place in the painting, and I think I can utilize it more in my next drawings. This quote interests me a lot too, it’s a different take on art than I’d say I describe art, but nonetheless, a really cool opinion

  22. 1. I thought that the most important was the being patient. Though I can’t remember exactly which painting it was, I’ve been impatient with one or two of the paintings, and the result is that it ends up being very muddy and frustrating. I had to start over one of my paintings because of that.

    2. One thing I thought was interesting in this article was that they described the difference between creating colours by glazing versus mixing, which I hadn’t noticed yet. I was using glazing to have an easier time creating the colour I was trying to get easier, but in light of the article I have realised that it does indeed make the colours deeper, which is helpful to know when working on getting more glow in illuminessence that I’m aiming for in my next painting.

    I think that the part of the quote that most applies to the paintings we’ve been doing so far is the part where Carolyn says “Craft without creativity is only part of the equation.” I like to make the subject of my paintings interesting for precisely this reason.

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