Layers of Color, the Art of Glazing

Layers of Color, The Art of Glazing
November 2015

©2015 Jan Fordyce, Spiral Ripple, 40x60, oil on canvas  

This painting was recently juried into the, ART OF THE STATE, show at the Arvada Art Center, Arvada, Co. Show runs from January-March 2016.

©2015 Jan Fordyce, Encompassing Ripple, 36x48, oil on canvas, SOLD
This painting was recently sold to a lovely family in the Denver area. I am thrilled they are so happy with the painting in their home!

Layers of Color, The Art of Glazing

As you can probably guess I am in love with color. Color is an important part of my work. Both of the paintings shown above are enhanced with layering color- a process known as glazing. Glazing is a centuries old technique of layering on thin layers of transparent color to build up the color and create a luminescent feel to the painting. Traditionally glazing was done over an underpainting in black and white of the subject. The layers were built up using the the lightest colors first, in paints that were by nature transparent, and then mixed with a medium to thin out the paint. For instance a transparent yellow might be layered on first and left to dry. A transparent layer of blue might be layered over next to create a greenish color. With each layer of transparent color the overall color changes and becomes richer. It is like layers of colored glass- an inner glow is created in the painting. 

This technique comes in handy in painting water. I am trying to achieve a feeling of transparency and glow in the paintings. Instead of starting with a black and white underpainting, I may layer variations of blues or greens on top of each other to create a richness of depth and luminosity. 

Glazing is also useful in subtly changing a color by applying a thin transparent color on top of an existing color. The color can be cooled down, warmed up,  or made more intense with saturated color depending on the color that is glazed. Glazing can help unify the overall color scheme of a painting or create more complex color.

Artistsare always looking at what has been done in the past. We look for new ways to use old techniques and experiment with them in new ways. Glazing is a centuries old technique that has many contemporary applications in a mash up of old and new

Studio Assistant, Ellie in front of a recently glazed painting.