Monday, February 21, 2011

Crazy for Glazing

Tidal Pool  Oil on panel  24 x 24"
I've studied the work of abstract painter Emily Mason (see Midnight Oil, below) for a long time, enamoured by her brillant use of thin glazes juxtaposed with broad bold thick brush marks. She's been at it for a lifetime so I know these decisions come to her intuitively. I've been patiently experimenting hoping to come to it in my own way.

Midnight Oil  -  Emily Mason
Glazing is applying very thin layers of color over other dry (or nearly dry) thin layers. Soft flat brushes work best...sable being ideal but Richeson makes a nice line of synthetics that work fine for my needs right now.  The process results in a deep, rich luminosity. The old masters practiced glazing of course, Vermeer being the glazing king, painstakingly applying layer after layer of translucent color with fastidious intention. But I don't see it a lot in contemporary painting.

Well, I sure don't work like Vermeer, nor do I come close to Emily Mason. Still, glazing is starting to work for me and I can't get enough of it.  

Like most of the paintings I'm most pleased with, Tidal Pool (top) started much differently and slowly morphed into this composition. Rubbing out parts and glazing over with new colors, shapes started to emerge and I followed them. It started to remind me of Monhegan shores. Two more are in progress with a similar palette and I'm proceeding in the same slow and patient way, hoping for a series, but really just hoping that there will be at least two that will please me as much as Tidal Pool


  1. I am just starting to explore abstraction in my own work. I really love your tide pool it has taken on a very natural and organic feeling. I cannot wait to hear more about your process and see more of your work.

  2. Thanks, Bob, and welcome. I've found it takes a while and patience to let abstraction happen naturally. I took a quick look at your site and I really like the ink abstracts. Will spend more time on the site soon. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Nice painting Linda, glazing does add luminosity to a painting. I don't know if I would have the patience to wait between layers.

  4. Thanks for your post, Joe. Waiting isn't much of an issue for me as I always have 4 or 5 paintings going at once and I also use galkyd in my medium which renders thin layers dry enough within an hour or so to paint into and over. I never approach a painting with a plan, I just let them evolve. Sometimes a glaze brings lovely surprises.