Free worldwide shipping over £200

Why Glazing Matters

When I paint, I like to build up my layers – it’s like building something, stroke by stroke. Among these layers, some are bold and opaque, while others, the glazes, are more subtle.

So, what’s the magic behind glazes?

Glazes are essentially transparent layers of paint, a bit like Turner who used hundreds of glazes in his work, where each layer dances with light, creating depth and emotion. .

The beauty of glazes lies in their ability to let light not just bounce off, but travel through them, interacting with underlying hues to bring new luminous colours.

It’s not just mixing. For instance, if you decide to make a vibrant green. You could simply mix blue and yellow, but by first laying down a blue and then a translucent yellow glaze, you let them merge on the canvas, creating a green that seems to glow from within.

I recently created the below paintings for my Brush Flow students, where I thinned down greens, allowing the magenta beneath to peek through. It’s in these moments that the true magic of glazing shines, turning a painting into a living, breathing entity.

But how do you unlock this magic?

The secret is dilution, but not with water.

You need a medium that preserves the paint’s integrity while lending it the wings of translucency. Glazing mediums come in various finishes – matte, satin, and gloss. While some artists like the sheen of gloss, I personally prefer a matte medium, letting the colours speak for themselves. Brands like Winsor & Newton, Liquitex, and Golden all create the same result and I’ve worked with them all.

Let’s Look at the master of Turner

Turner was a master at using glazes in his work. He would capture light and atmosphere so beautifully

Turner’s application of glazes was revolutionary. He layered translucent washes of colour one over the other, meticulously building depth and luminosity. This method allowed him to achieve an unparalleled vibrancy and a sense of movement in his work as if each painting was a living, breathing entity. His skies glow with the light of dawn and his waters shimmer with reflections that seem to move. I am honestly a huge fan of his work and although my style is very different I can still appreciate his masterful skills and take lessons from his application of paint.

Turner’s technique teaches us the power of subtlety and the potential of layers to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. As you explore glazing in your own work, think of it as conjuring light from within, much like Turner did. Let each layer be a testament to the depth and complexity that glazing can bring to a piece, turning a simple canvas into a dynamic exploration of colour and light.

So, I urge you, the next time you pick up a brush, begin to experiment with glazes. Layer by layer, let them breathe life into your work, and watch as the canvas awakens, vibrant and pulsating with light.

Want to learn more about painting and improve your skills? Join Brush Flow Waitlist

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

Enter your details below and I’ll send them straight away!

Let's Connect

I’d love to stay in touch with you. New artwork, workshops and my weekly painting tips.

Your details are never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.