Over time, the use of glazing as a method of painting fell out of fashion. By the time of the Realists and Impressionists (mid-19th century French painting movements) painters were beginning to favor a more immediate approach, with thicker paint application. This resulted in paintings that resembled something other than the photographs that were becoming increasingly more commonplace.
Even though I experimented with a variety of painting techniques when I was in my undergraduate painting courses (including glazing), I ended up preferring an approach that was closer to Realism. I enjoy the freshness and vibrancy of the colors. In fact, when I now paint just for the fun of it this tends to be the style to which I revert.
Painters in the Renaissance preferred either the dull green, terre verte, color or a brownish pigment (burnt umber) as an underpainting. Starting with a more neutral color allowed the artists to temper the form with additional colors in order to make the image more vibrant, or less, according to their particular needs.
When I began to use glazing again I chose to use a color for underpainting that is not typically employed—purple. You don’t necessarily notice it in the finished works, but the underlying values are completed with this dioxizine purple. This forces me to glaze over the purple with other, equally intense colors. Thus, the images tend to retain something of the vibrancy I prefer, but also the transparency that is desired for the works on book pages. The text is still somewhat readable.
Here I have included some photos of one of the new altarpiece constructions in process. Few people ever get to see my work in this state, before I apply the subsequent layers of color. I chose to share these images to provide some additional insight into the process.