I was asked by a friend to do an article on Glazes and glazing in regard to
acrylic painting. 

I don't very often work with glazes as I do mostly landscapes and not photorealism designs which is basically the "type" of painting that utilizes glazing the most in decorative and fine art painting.  (Glazing with and in mixed media work is an entirely different topic of conversation).

There are a few sites you can find by googling Acrylic Glazing or Photorealism which can help you with acrylic glazing.

When I am going to glaze I prefer making my own glazes so that I can choose colors based upon my basecoated colors and how light or dark I want the glaze to be.

A Glaze is used AFTER you have basecoated your design and many times after you have hightlighted and shaded your design.    A glaze is used to deepen your shade or highlight or the main color of an area within your design but remember that A GLAZE MUST BE THIN, MUCH LIKE WATERCOLOR CONSISTANCY.  Several applications of a glaze may be desired or needed to be effective and make a change in your basecoat.

I have purchased containers that are see through plastic; which I feel is really important, so that I can see how dark or light the glaze is by mixing in the container over my basecoated piece.

When using a glaze you must take into consideration the surface absorbency, temperature, humidity and airflow (doors/windows open, fan on)....etc.

Very soft haired brushes are the best to use when applying a glaze so that the bristles do not scratch your basecoat.  I love the faux squirrel brushes by Dynasty for my glazing, and any type/size of brush can be used dependent upon your design ie:  filbert, wash, angle, chisel blender, etc.  I prefer using pitty pat strokes for glazing highlights and shaded areas and a pouncing for central areas; but this again is preference and what works best for me.  You may choose an entirely different technique.

Add glazes to your suface flat so that they don't run or puddle. 

The "magic tools"  for making a glaze are:
1.  See through mixing cup(s)
2.  Stirring sticks such as a large tooth pick, popsicle stick, etc.
3.  A mister with water
4.  A Glazing or Retarder medium.  The Glazing medium will dry quicker than the Retarder.

I also recommend using a  travel hair dryer which is smaller, easier, not as clumsy to use, less noisy and doesn't get as hot as a regular hairdryer.  (You can find these economically priced at Bed/Bath and Beyond, Linen and Things, etc. for under $10)

Put aout 1/2 teaspoon of Glazing medium or Retarder into your mixing cup and a very small dollop of the color you are wanting to use to your cup.   You can always add more paint depending on the darkness you want, so just start with a VERY LITTLE BIT OF COLOR.   Add a bit of water.  Continue to add your Glazing medium or Retarder and water until you have achieved the value of color you are wanting to use.  Place your see through cup over your basecoat periodicaly to see how light your color is becoming.  If you don't use small amounts to begin with you will mix WAY too much glazing medium which will be a waste unless you are wanting to glaze a large area.  (If your glaze begins to thicken as you are using it and it is out in the open simply replenish with a little of water from your will just be replacing what has evaporated). 

You will dry each layer of glaze BEFORE adding another with your hair dryer keeping it about 8 inches away from your design. 

After you are done you will want to add a glaze of whatever medium you used
for your glaze over the entire design otherwise you will have shiny and matt areas. 

So...if you want to use glazes do a bit of research, use your color wheel and decide if your design is the type that glazes will theoretically benefit from.  They
are NOT for every painting and maybe just here and there in a painting.

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