Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mix or Glaze?

I'm usually a daily poster but yesterday was one of those days--flat tire, cat sitting for the neighbor getting a new hip, and rescuing my sister from the airport. Airlines (initials are United Airlines) that overbook suck.

What began as an experiment in glazing various earths against green earth quickly turned to an obscene mess of a chart and already in the rubbish. Okay, that's what learning is all about. I gain most from my mistakes.

So rather than glaze I decided to push the blueish leaning green earth around, mixing with a yellow and a red ochre. Obviously there weren't  going to be any high chroma colors but how many greens really are that screamingly intense green any way?

With yellow, the greens pulled nicely warm. Same for the red.

Now to the question that's been gnawing at me for some time. Mixing versus glazing. Egg tempera is about glazing. It loves to be glazed. Twenty (or forty for that matter) layers a day is easy. It hums with depth and luminance. Can I get the same color in glazes that I can in mixes? And vice versa?

The first two rows of stripes are mixes. Just quick mixes: top with yellow; next with red. I left out plenty of gradation. The last row is glazed. Gradated yellow or red. As I glazed along I occasionally dropped on another layer of green earth. There are something like twenty layers at the top of each stripe. (The stripe in the middle is the pure green earth control.)

I guess I've always gone on the assumption that mix and glaze can provide the same result, at least as far as base color is concerned. And, I think there's a fine richness that achieved only with glazes. I wonder... Would there ever be occasions when I wouldn't be able to mix or glaze to achieve the same base color? Is it dependent on the medium?


  1. I almost fell off of my chair for want of a comma- on my first read through today's post, I misread your sentence as YOU were getting a new hip! I couldn't believe how casually you listed it among the other events of the day. I laughed when I reread it correctly and realized I had mentally inserted a comma. I do hope your neighbor will be OK!
    I also giggled at your description of your first go round with glazing and green earth-we've all had similar experiences that wound up in the trash but you made it funny!
    That being said, I am looking forward to seeing your continued efforts with glazing vs. mixing. I know when I work in watercolor and/or acrylics, glazing seems to be the only way to achieve that depth and richness you speak of and I suspect with tempera, it will be even more so.
    ~ gretchen

  2. No news on the neighbor yet. He'll probably call soon to check up on "his girls". A friend is leaving rehab today with his second new hip. "I'm hip" has a new whole new meaning these days!