Notebook, 1993-



A glaze is a paint layer applied so thinly or containing so little pigment that it is transparent. Light falling on it is reflected by the paint layers beneath. This means that underlying ground or paint layers shine through glazing colors. Some techniques, such as watercolor or thin oil painting on an underpainting, rely mainly on glazing. Colors can be blended in two fundamentally different ways. One method is to mix together two or three components. Only under a microscope can one then discern the tiny particles of different colors side by side, or intermingled. The eye sees this as a new hue--e.g., blue and green mixed together look green. On the other hand, if a yellow glaze is applied over a blue one, the result, while still green, will give quite a different effect than the color mixed on the palette from the same components. This is the so-called subtractive mixing method. Hiding power and transparency play an important role when painting with highly refractive media. This will be discussed in detail in the paragraph on the optical effect of vehicles.

Certain pigments like madder, ultramarine, or viridian are very transparent by virtue of their crystalline structure. They are therefore called glazing colors. they should, more precisely, be called glazing pigments. But opaque colors can be used for glazing too, if they are mixed with ample medium or diluent so that the ground shines though between the opaque paint particles. The choice of transparent or opaque pigments will depend on the desired effect of the paint layer. [p. 65]

[Wehlte, Kurt. The Materials and Techniques of Painting. Translated by Ursus Dix. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. 1975.]



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