In this Acrylic Painting Techniques course, students will learn the 'acrylic glazing' technique that will empower them to carry on with painting as a self-fulfilling hobby. The more serious student will find that this hands-on course de-mystifies the painting process in all genres. Discover the deep rich shadows which may be created without the use of black!
A check-list for acrylic painting techniques will be provided for beginners including the specific colors and type of acrylic paint and 'medium. As well as brushes, canvas, etc. This technique calls for only the very basic colors at the outset.
This acrylic painting techniques course will include hands-on video demonstrations based on an original photograph by the instructor (supplied). The course consists of twelve steps; each requiring about one-three hours of painting, depending on the skill set of each participant. Each step of the 'glazing' process will be shown by the instructor so that the student can advance at their own pace.
Once you have mastered the "Art of Acrylic Glazing" you will have the confidence and technical ability to carry on fearlessly with your own artistic journey using the versatile and powerful medium of acrylic painting.
Take this Acrylic Painting Techniques course now and learn 'acrylic glazing' from a modern master.</p>
If you wish to start with a 'rough sketch' use a red or orange colored pencil to avoid the smudging of a regular graphite pencil. Keep your initial sketch fluid and lively so as not to hinder your progress by getting bogged down in too much detail.
Or you can use the transparent orange glaze as your initial 'sketch'. Keep your first strokes loose and sketchy. There will be lots of time to hone in on the details with each successive glaze.
It is important at this time to think of 'separating the light from the dark' or a 'tonal study' versus paying any heed to the actual 'native' colors that you will arrive at for the finished painting.
Use the 1" chisel for the first sketchy glaze.
For a transparent orange glaze start with about two tablespoons of acrylic matte medium and add a small amount (like you'd put on your toothbrush) of orange pigment. Mix thoroughly for a consistent texture and make a test swatch on a piece of paper for later reference.
With every glaze, be sure to paint judiciously across the entire width, height and breadth of your canvas. Complete the entire glaze before moving on.
Once you have applied a glaze, do not over-work it. You have about 3-5 minutes of 'open time' where the glaze can be manipulated. Try to apply the strokes that you wish and then leave them alone to set up. Drying time is about 15-20 minutes at room temperature.
Always wait for each glaze to dry before starting with the next glaze.
Start with a quarter cup of acrylic matte medium, add small amount of red pigment for a transparent red with enough body. Do not use a glaze that’s too transparent as it will not affect the contrast in your painting. Start with a small amount of pigment and the add a bit more to build up to the correct level of transparency.
Check the transparent red glaze on your paper color swatches alongside and over the previous glazes before committing to the canvas.
With the addition of this red glaze you will accentuate the shadow-y shapes. Think of the shadow-y parts as ‘shapes’ and areas. What you’re doing at this point is painting mostly the ‘environs’ or atmosphere surrounding and abutting up next to the tiger lilies or ‘central motif’. This may be thought of as the ‘negative space’.
We are NOT focusing on the actual local or ‘native’ colors; rather, we are only separating the light from the dark.
With each glaze paint over the edges of the canvas as you go so won’t end up with plain white edges when finished. It’s much easier to carry each glaze over the edge as you go, instead of having to reverse engineer afterwards.
Step 4: Transparent Violet Glaze (tonal study)
With this glaze the definition becomes more obvious. Think of the whole thing as a conglomeration of “shapes”, in this instance “shadowy shapes”.
Articulate the dark shapes that you see over the entire canvas.
Each brush load of glaze offers a full range of it’s hue ie: from rich violet down to an atmospheric version, depending on how you spread it out with the brush. So take advantage of this and move around.
All of the shadowy shapes must be indicated with the violet glaze. Each glaze gets more specific re: detail. The acrylics in medium remain open or workable for about 5-10 minutes, so if you want to go back to adjust things with your brush or rag you can. This technique lends itself to a fresh style.
Everything begins to “come into it’s own” with the violet glaze.
By separating the light from the shadow the tiger lilies or ‘central motif’ start to really pop by default as you have created the “negative space”.
Step 5: Transparent Pthalo Blue Glaze (tonal study)
Once you mix up a very transparent Pthalo Blue glaze, test on your paper color swatch. Test ‘over’ the previous glazes to check transparency. It’s easier to slowly build up toward the correct level of transparency instead of overshooting it with too much pigment.
With the first 5 glazes you are creating a ‘full-chroma' or 'full-spectrum’ tonal study: that is, separating light from dark. You will be generating a very warm, rich palette of colors even BEFORE you introduce the native colors.
When you start applying each glaze with a “brush full” always start at the darkest place, then work your way outwards. As you go, the glaze becomes more transparent as you spread it out from rich down to atmospheric.
The pthalo blue glaze REALLY pumps up the shadows.
A big advantage of this glazing technique is that you create a strong ‘continuity' over the entire canvas as you go. There’s no effect of ‘pasting in’ and struggling to consolidate your forms in a unified composition.
Everywhere that you see on you source photo that is darker than what you have now, hit it with varying strengths of pthalo blue.
Take you time with the pthalo blue glaze, it’s a very defining step in terms of the detail and resolution.
Wherever the pthalo blue is painted over the base of golden yellow you will start to see a suggestion of green.
Step 6: Transparent White Glaze (tonal study)
Start with transparency test on you color swatch. You can always add several layers of transparent glaze to make the color more translucent, that is closer to opaque.
The light ‘shapes’ in the source photo eg: lighter then the shadows and the golden yellow base are indicated with the white glaze.
Think of all the lighter shapes as a ‘set of shapes’ that cover the entire canvas; some soft edged , some with a crisper edge.
Step 7: Transparent Yellow Glaze (1st 'local' or 'native' color)
For the first time we are now thinking of the local, actual or native colors.
When you refer to your source photo you’ll see that there is lots of yellow throughout the entire composition.
Tint all the yellow, oranges and greens with a base of yellow. The yellow will start to ‘sing’ when you put it on the canvas.
Finish the yellow glaze wherever it occurs over the whole canvas with this step.
With yellow you can start to ‘draft’ a lot of the shapes as you have established a lot with you previous ‘tonal study’.
Leave out the very darkest and very lightest areas with the yellow glaze (EDITING NEEDED!)
All of the shadowy shapes must be indicated with the violet glaze.
Each glaze gets more specific eg: detail.
The acrylics in medium remain ‘open’ or workable for about 5-10 minutes so if you want to go back to adjust things with you brush or rag you can. This technique lends itself to a fresh style.
Everything begins to ‘come into it’s own’ with the violet glaze.
By separating the light from the shadow the tiger lilies or ‘central motif’ start to really pop by default as you have created the ‘negative space’.
Step 8: Transparent Orange Glaze (2nd Native Color)
Start by testing your orange glaze on the paper swatch to check transparency.
With the orange local or native glaze we are working towards the actual colors we want to see in the finished painting.
Glaze over ALL of the areas and shapes that appear ‘orange-y’ across the entire canvas, being mindful to wipe back any areas of very light or dark to allow that layer to come through.
Start being more selective at this stage.
Carry on with the orange glaze to establish more detail and to come closer to the actual colors that you want to arrive at.
In this case, we’ll make a ‘transitioning’ reddish-orange to go from orange to a version leading to red and then into shadow.
Test reddish-orange glaze on paper swatch to check for transparency and color.
To control the glaze dry-brush it out and hydro-plane to get a blended effect as you go. Try to apply the glaze and then leave it alone.
The amount of detail is up to you, depending on your drafting skills and patience.
Step 9 Transparent Red Glaze (3rd Native Color)
As usual, test glaze on your paper swatch for transparency and color.
With each successive glaze, you can create more precise detail. The ‘red’ is very close to the colors of the shadows and creases in the petals of the flower.
Add the red wherever it appears on the entire canvas at this time.
The glazes are applied in a specific order; we’re building up the chroma towards full color as we go.
Step 10: Transparent Violet Glaze (4th Native Color)
Reinforce the shadowy areas and also blend the red into shadow with the transparent violet glaze.
To start, do a test swatch with glaze on your paper to check for transparency and color.
Note: This is a fairly large-scale painting of the tiger lilies so you can keep your detail to a relative minimum; a lot of the detail will resolves itself from a distance.
This course is aimed more at the ‘technical’ aspects of acrylic glazing; the aesthetic and artistic considerations are up to you.
Carry on with the transparent violet glaze to indicate where things are darker and richer.
Superimpose a ‘scaffold’ of transparent violet over the entire surface as with all of the previous glazes, while being more and more selective with each successive glaze.
Create a beautiful ‘continuity’ so that the whole thing hangs together in a unified atmosphere.
Why Cadmium Red, Dioxazine Violet and Pthalo Blue specifically?
The colors tend to enrich each other with the 12-step acrylic glazing technique.
Pthalo Blue is a POTENT pigment.
Add some glaze to acrylic matte medium to make it very transparent to start.
Test on paper swatch for transparency in relation to earlier swatches.
Time to introduce cool atmospheric blues in background.
Blue glaze over a white base equals pure light blues; blue glaze over a yellow base equals various greens.
Gradually add more pigment to beef up to deepest, richest shadows.
Paint background to create the ‘effect’ of soft-focus trees and foliage.
Paint ‘shapes’ and ‘color’ at the same time.
Pick out shadowy shapes.
Tip the yellow base to greens.
Create depth with rich shadows.
Step 12: Transparent White Glaze (Highlights to Finish)
Transparent white glaze brings out the dapple-y light in the background.
Blends in the middle background with the extreme background.
Anything you want to brighten up in the background use the white glaze.
By this time you have ‘set up’ where all the ‘finishing highlights’ will be.
Softly indicate with white the ‘definitive’ white highlights to finish.
Please note: This introductory course is designed to familiarize you with the ‘acrylic glazing technique’; it demonstrates application of multiple layers to achieve rich vivid colors while creating a multitude of variations as a result. There are other approaches to glazing that include local colors mixed specifically in the palette prior to application.
For this course the technique is somewhat truncated for the sake of elegance and simplicity.
In 48 seconds you can see the classic 'glazing technique' take a canvas from blank through to a finished, richly colorful finished piece.
The painting goes through the 'separating light from shadow' steps aka 'tonal study' from (transparent) orange, red, violet and then pthalo blue...in that order. On a light golden-yellow base of course. This progression of glazes builds up the 'tonal study' while doing so in a full-chroma treatment; when these layers are superimposed over each other in varying degrees of luminosity, a wide range of hybrid shades and colors come to life even before the introduction of the local or 'native' colors.
The native colors are judiciously placed in their own relative environ after the resolution of the tonal study.
Then the strokes become important not only for their color but also their shapes.
Each successive 'glaze' is applied where applicable over the canvas extant, finishing all of the pertinent details before moving on to the next glaze. With each glaze comes more attention to precision to finish...but with a lively, animated infrastructure of previous glazes to act as a witness to the organic process that lead you to that point.
The finishing glazes are when the 'artist' kicks in with the technical finesse embedded within the process. You know, it's that last 5% of sheer will and inspiration that 'takes the technique and does something with it'.
Each participant is asked to 'zone in' on a specific view of the still-life as they find catches their eye.
So every painting from a slightly different vantage point yields a singularly distinctive result, while sharing certain features from within the still-life with the others. This makes for a fascinating 'companionability' between the paintings in the set all rendered simultaneously with shared attributes.
The concentrated effort from multiple perspectives generates a 'community' of images for a 'Group Still-Life'.
Embedded within this (less than) one minute video is a time-lapse student painting that demonstrates the 'art of acrylic glazing'.
I love my job! I have been a full-time artist, mural-painter and entrepreneur for over 30 years. I started taking art seriously when I attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in the late 1970's in Halifax where I studied with the great American artist Eric Fischl and the Dutch artist Jan Andriesse. At NSCAD I learned the basics of 'best studio practice' and enjoyed the immersion into a sophisticated international artists' community.
I went on from there to work for two formative years under the tutelage of the late Reverend Father Toby McIvern as Liturgical Design Apprentice for the Montreal design firm Desmerais and Robitaille. Working on many ambitious liturgical design projects with the eminent Architect/Interior Designer Fr. Toby formed a strong foundation of skills that would hold me in good stead for the following years of free-lancing. I was introduced to the world of mural-painting and design that would continue to fascinate and challenge me to the present day.
I have been a professional artist and mural-painter for over 30 years. I have designed and painted over 60 large murals all across Canada during this time and continue to work in this vein. As well, I create easel paintings that I exhibit in a gallery that I co-own and operate with my partner and fellow artist Sharon Gibson out of our home at the Resort Village of Manitou Beach in Central Saskatchewan, Canada. Portraiture is a specialty and a favorite genre. I am kept very busy creating commissioned works including portraiture and mural-painting.
Art Instruction is another field that I thoroughly enjoy and excel at. I have privately tutored many students over the years both in group and one-on-one settings with a lot of success. My main focus in this endeavor is to demonstrate the 'glazing technique' in acrylics, while encouraging my students to discover their own unique 'style' though the technical protocol that I teach.
In 2008 I co-founded an Artists' Collective called "Spirit of Manitou Studio Trail" which is still going strong after 5 years. Visit the Spirit of Manitou Studio Trail website to see some examples of my recent artwork and commissions.
I also own and maintain an Art Blog called GaudetArt Please visit to stay abreast of my ongoing commissions and artistic enterprises. Occasionally, I will also post a 'guest interview' with some of my artist friends and colleagues.
To view selected murals, please click on Selected Murals by Michael Gaudet .
To view my most ambitious and challenging mural 'March of Trinity' (and associated projects at Sacred Heart Chaldean Catholic Church) please visit 'March of Trinity' Mural Project Blog.