Years ago as a self-taught watercolour painter looking for deep rich tones, I tried simply loading more pigment into my wet brush. It looked glorious until it dried flat, all of the luminosity gone. Magpie Girl likes shiny things. Experiments with portraiture and skin tones yielded some hints. If I let the first, more moderate, coat dry and then recoated with one or more thin coats, the results were far happier. Blissfully unencumbered by knowledge, I concluded that I had invented a new technique. Years later I heard another watercolourist refer to glazing and thought “Dang! There goes another break-through!”
As I came to learn, the practice of glazing, while well known to Renaissance oil painters, had fallen out of favour in the last century. My dear artist friend and centenarian, Frank Barry, sniffed when I raved about it and replied, “Yes, but in the twenties we called it “staining.” Because there is a strong strain of edgy anti-conservative practice among artists, Frank and his generation found glazing out-dated, and shining depths of colour became conspicuous for their rarity in twentieth century painting. Pity.
Well, glaze oil is back. I can't imagine painting any other way. Saturated and luminous colour is the very reason I can’t wait to get back to my easel (from which I’ve been largely absent this summer). So why am I sitting here? Time to find my painting smock. Hello, September!!
P.S. This painting of the the pond at Jon's fly-fishing club has gone to its forever home, sadly missed like a beloved puppy. It is shameful to admit but I find myself interviewing people who want one of my paintings to be sure that it is going to a good family. What a blessing that as teenagers we had no notion how truly unhinged we would become!