How to Glaze an Oil Portrait Course – New Course!

by Will Kemp

in oil painting, painting, portraits

oil paint glaze recipe

How to Glaze an Oil Portrait for Beginners Course

When I was trying to find my way in portraiture, I’d spend hours studying Old Master paintings thinking “Wow, how did they do that?

I was flummoxed.

Not only did the skin look realistic, but they’d managed to capture those bluish grey tones that lie just beneath the skin’s surface. In my naivety, I just couldn’t work out how you could paint one colour next to another colour yet create such a smoky transition.

I’d repetitively ask Vanessa, “When will I be able to paint the melt of the cheek you see on the Mona Lisa?

Unhelpfully she used to say “Isn’t it just old?

Inwardly I’d sigh.

And then I discovered oil glazing…

Glazing a portrait by building up a tonal underpainting, followed by multiple layers of translucent veils of colour and transparent glazes I found to be the simplest way to create a realistic turning of the form.

It’s a method of stacking layers and layers of paint on top of each other – once the layer below is dry.

what is a glaze in painting

Grisaille underpainting of Imogen followed by the first overpainting layers of translucent skin tone

Although very simple, the transparency of all these thin glaze layers creates an optical depth and luminous skin tone that just can’t be achieved from opaque painting alone. I’d been trying to paint lots of perfectly mixed colours next to each other within the same wet layer, which is why is it hadn’t looked the same.

However, it wasn’t just the thinness of paint application or the transparency of the pigment or the technique – the missing ingredient I’d overlooked was time. So when my older brother gave me his scientific insight, it not only changed my perspective but it turned out Vanessa had been more on point than I’d first thought!

The Refractive Index of Linseed Oil

What the heck is a ‘Refractive Index’ I hear you cry? My thoughts exactly.

But the Refractive Index of Linseed Oil is one of the secrets as to why those Old Master paintings have such an elusive quality to them.

The Refractive Index measures the bending of light when it passes from one medium into another, specifically, a change in the speed of light as it travels through different materials.

Light waves travel in a straight line through an empty space but when light travels through other materials, such as the oil used in oil paint, the light waves bend—something called refraction.

So what does mean to your oil paintings?

Well interestingly, the Refractive Index of Linseed Oil doesn’t stay the same, it changes with time.

As Linseed Oil ages, it’s Refractive Index increases, causing oil paint to become more transparent and gain a more ‘glass-like’ quality which is why oils are such a great medium for this glazing technique.

“Paint is likely to become literally transparent with the years–because of the increase of the refractive index of linseed oil film with age or for other reasons–the general effect of transparency exists in all old paints. The lessons that careful painters have learned from this are several: that multiple layers of paint must be planned with this effect in mind; that when underpainting is to be concealed or obliterated, the top coat must be sufficiently opaque for the purpose; that distinctly dark or outstanding areas should be scraped away before overpainting them with paler tones; and that disturbing textures and brushstrokes should be taken down, using a sharp blade if the paint is too hard to be cut with a palette knife. The underpainting and the ground will always have some degree of influence on the final painting except when the paint is applied in an extremely thick impasto layer.”

Ralph Mayer, The Painter’s Craft: An Introduction to Artist’s Methods and Materials.

pentimento

Notice how the first drawing out of the arm is being revealed by the changes in the transparency of the oil in this Reuben’s painting.

The key point to remember is the underpainting and the ground colour will always have some degree of influence on the final painting except when the paint is applied in an extremely thick impasto layer.

So with a multi-layered approach, every layer counts.

Verdaccio underpainting

Verdaccio Fresco underpainting.
Detail from The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Rome, 1512

In portraiture, the underpainting is commonly a Grisaille which is painted in shades of grey but it can also be tonal, such as Verdaccio which uses tones of green or Bistre using tones of brown of which Caravaggio was very fond of.

carravaggio glazing

Bistre (tones of Brown) underpainting in the shadows and cloth, Grisaille under the lights of the fleshtone.
Detail from John the Baptist, Caravaggio, 1604

It’s a really great way to learn about portraiture because with this method you can study the form or the planes of the face, get the modelling of the body or head right to start with, before introducing colour.

Bouguereau

Grisaille (tones of Grey) underpainting.
Study of Female Head, William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)

It also makes for a naturalistic rendering of skin tones, as you can see in this Bouguereau painting. The green/greys of the underpainting are shining through the layers of warmer flesh tones, for example, on the neck, he’s left the warmer paint thinner so we see more of the grey and then increased the colour saturation and paint thickness as we move towards the features with the most saturated glaze on the lips.

It’s worth pointing out, you don’t have to paint all portraits using this technique entirely if it doesn’t compliment your sitter. In fact, on many of my paintings I use a combination of methods depending on the result I want.

stages of oil glazingDetail from In Memory of Ernest, Will Kemp, Oil on Canvas, 2016

In the portrait above, I started with a Grisaille underpainting and used multiple thin layers for most of the piece. Towards the end of the portrait, I introduced thicker impasto paint onto the blouse and also around the jawline to indicate texture and create more character in the end result.

Will Kemp detail face

On the smoother skin of the nose, planes of the cheekbone and lips, I continued the glazing method until the end and both techniques bring out the best qualities for each section of the face. You can still see the Grisaille underpainting in the hair and around the eyes and nose.

The New Oil Glazing Portrait Course

glazing course techniques

Although I can’t give you 400 years of refraction, I have been working on a new oil painting glazing course inspired by my own painting practice. It incorporates my own methods with techniques I’ve studied in Florence, Italy under Maestro Michael John Angel at the Angel Academy of Art.

The inspiration to create this resource was to help other aspiring artists create realistic luminous portraits and have a really great understanding of how to utilise glazing in their own portrait practice and not make the same mistakes I did when I was first starting.

In ‘How to Glaze an Oil Portrait for Beginners’ we study 2 different portraits using 2 different colour palettes, starting with a simple pencil composition, blocking in the planes of the face with clean flat tones then develop the form using the Grisaille underpainting technique.

We then mix mediums based on the ‘fat over lean’ approach using traditional and modern glazing recipes before progressing onto mixing colour strings of natural skin tones.

We’ll build up translucent veils of skin tone followed by multiple layers of transparent coloured glazes.

glazing course for beginners

My nieces, Imogen & Grace are the sitters of the portraits used in this course, I’ve purposely chosen subjects that are well suited to the glazing method we’re going to be using, so I could utilise the technique on pretty much the whole study.

There are areas in the face that have got cool tones, colours in the cheeks and lips that can handle a stronger pigment and soft light without strong shadows around any of the features.

The new Glazing Portrait Video Course is now available

{ 128 comments… read them below or add one }

rohit k June 14, 2016

I am so so so excited to hear the news ! I have been checking your website each morning in hope to get a glimpse of the glazing course ! Thankyou very much for doing this !

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Will Kemp June 14, 2016

Hey Rohit,
Pleased you’re looking forward to the course!
Cheers,
Will

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Nicole Duchein June 14, 2016

I have been so eager for your next article and this was fantastic! I am relatively new to painting but every time I come to your website I get inspired to paint more. I really enjoy seeing examples of your own personal paintings and the talents that you have cultivated. I have been working with acrylics because I’m new to painting and er… oils are expensive! I didn’t know how real the starving artist can be. But I want to eventually transition to oils. How should I begin to dip into that medium?

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Will Kemp June 14, 2016

That’s great to hear Nicole, oils can be a little bit more expensive per ml in comparison to acrylics and the more expensive pigments (such as cadmium) can be more expensive, but a little goes a long way in oils, especially if working in thin applications.
Cheers,
Will

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Greg Watkiss June 14, 2016

Hello Will,

Hope you are well.

Can’t wait for Saturday. Will you be sending an email to confirm the launch and can you tell me what the course costs will be?

Kind regards,
Greg

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Will Kemp June 14, 2016

Hi Greg, nice to hear from you, yes, I’ll be sending an email out on Saturday morning. Pricing should be along the lines of the Acrylic colour portrait course but looking to run a launch week offer.
Cheers,
Will

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doug June 14, 2016

Yeah, I agree. I will definitely get this later. I am a bit busy finishing up other paintings at the moment.

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doug June 15, 2016

…but of course if you offer a first week discount I will likely just go ahead and get it now even if I do not work it until later.

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Good one Doug, sure will be!
Will

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Sue June 14, 2016

Can’t wait to have a go at this. Only started learning to draw a couple of years ago and love doing pencil portraits but can’t wait to have a go in paint, so glad I found you, thanks

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Will Kemp June 14, 2016

Cheers Sue, pleased you’re looing forward to it.
Will

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Mickey June 14, 2016

Will you be using linseed oil? I have water based oils (mostly Windsor Newton Artisan) and not much experience with them. There are mediums for this type of paint. Will this course be appropriate for me?

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Mickey, yes, the course will be using linseed oil.

I demonstrate using traditional oils, Alkyd quick drying oils, and a few Acrylics for the ground colour. I don’t demonstrate with water-based oils on the course.

You could adapt the watermixable oils to the course but you would have to include oil into your mixes.

We build up the painting in layers with a higher ratio of oil in each subsequent mix.

You can use watermixable oils diluted with water for the first layers, but would have to add an oil or watermixable medium (which contains oil) into the later stages.

Here is some information from Cobra brand of watermixable oils when working in layers:

“The first layer must be applied lean. For this the paint is thinned with water. During the drying of this layer no compact film of paint is formed, but rather a porous one.

Oil from a following layer will therefore be absorbed by the underlying lean layer and so when drying will adhere within the numerous pores.

This helps to create good adhesion between these two layers. As an underlying (lean) layer abstracts oil from the top layer, it has to be ensured during painting that the underlying layer has relatively more oil.

If this is not the case this will affect the quality of the painting.

As of this point there are various possibilities for continuing further:

Thin each subsequent layer with increasingly less water; each subsequent layer therefore contains relatively more oil. You can eventually end up with pure paint.

Thin the paint for the following layer with painting medium.

A good medium consists of three components: oil, resin and solvents. The oil makes the paint fatter, whilst the solvent ensures that the paint does not become too fat. The third ingredient resin increases the durability of the paint layer. If you build up a painting in more than two layers, you can mix the medium proportionally with water from lean to increasingly fatter. The larger the relative amount of medium, the fatter the mixture. In the final layer you can mix the paint with pure medium.

Hope this helps,
Will

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Nancy June 15, 2016

Great info, I use the Cobras! I too use water miscible oils (paint in a small room) and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get this course but I think I will give it a go! I never understood how to do fat over lean (always just paint a la prima) with them so that will be another part of the learning. I started in acrylics and now working in the water miscible oils for their lovely blending time especially in 90+ degrees Fahrenheit weather.

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Cheers Nancy, pleased you’re looking forward to it,
Will

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Nancy June 20, 2016

Cobra has the painting medium that ships with their sets and now I see they’ve got this glazing medium. The 091 Painting Medium says “vegetable oils, synthetic resin, water” and the 092 Glazing Medium says “vegetable oils, synthetic resin” so it sounds like the 092 is fatter. I do notice with the 091 Painting Medium that when the water evaporates out of it and it gets sticky, consistency of honey instead of soft butter. I’m thinking about getting this 092 Glazing Medium which should be as close to straight up linseed oil in the water miscible Cobra painting offerings that I can find.

There is this little bit from the Cobra website that is interesting as I was searching around:

I still have some traditional oil paint and want to start using Cobra. Can I use this paint up by mixing it with Cobra?

Cobra water mixable oil colour is a pure oil paint and can be thinned using solvents such as white spirit and turpentine. It is then no problem mixing with traditional oil paint. Once the old tubes of ‘ordinary’ oil paint are finished, you can change from solvents to water. If, however, only water is used, the water mixability will decrease as more traditional oil paint is added to Cobra and brushes will be more difficult to rinse. In order to be able to thin a mixture of Cobra and traditional oil paint with water the paints have to be mixed well using a palette knife and a large part of the mixture has to consist of Cobra water mixable oil paint. The ratio may vary per colour.

I found this outstanding video on YouTube on how to mix fat over lean with the Cobra’s! At about the 4 minute mark he states that you can use the 091 Painting Medium in proportions with water to vary the mixes for multiple layers. I am so jazzed, I can’t wait to get off work so I can get my mixes setup and give it a go!

Video by Don Nederhand, Artist and Technical Advisor at Royal Talens:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMz5vuG0FhI

maxine arbuckle June 14, 2016

Can’t wait to see this.

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Denise June 14, 2016

Hi….Will…I paint with acrylics…would I need previous experience with oils to do this course?

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Denise,

To answer your question: Would I need previous experience with oils to do this course?

Not really, but it is a different experience working with oils compared with acrylics due to the longer drying time so it might take a little bit of getting used to the feel of them. For the coloured ground stage of the painting I use acrylics and then slowly introduce mediums (mixes between oil and a thinner) and colours to build the portrait.

Will

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Caroline Varendorff June 14, 2016

Very excited about learning this technique. Now I just need the time and space to devote to practice!

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Ha, ha, yes, the great thing about this method is you can paint a section and then you have to wait for it to dry before applying the next layer, it’s like a painting time management system!
Cheers,
Will

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Ron Evans June 14, 2016

Hi Will,

I’ve been patiently waiting for this course and am glad to hear it is rapidly approaching.
Count me in for sure.

Ron Evans

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Cheers Ron, appreciate your patience. The course has turned into a bit of a 6-hour epic! glad you’re excited.
Will

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isabelnramalho@gmail.com June 14, 2016

How it woks?? Classes?? Hours?? Price

I would love to do it

Warmly Isa

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Isa, the courses are all designed as home study video downloads, the course will be about 6 hours in length and cover two different portraits. I’ll be sending out pricing details on Saturday and running a launch week offer.
Cheers,
Will

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Terry Hand June 14, 2016

Hi Will,
That’s great news. I have really been looking forward to this course. Something I really like about the paintings that you have posted here is that they haven’t lost any of your usual freedom and spontaneity after the glazing process. In fact the glazing seems to have enhanced it. I would love to acheive this in my own painting.
Best
Terry

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Terry, nice to hear from you and thanks very much for your kind comments on the paintings, pleased you’re looking forward to it.
Will

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Louise Ryley June 14, 2016

Hey Will this looks fantastic, exactly what I wanted!! I have had a lull in painting as the sunshine took me to working on the neglected garden! But this will get me back at the easel! So thrilled can’t wait to get it and thank you for doing it, it looks like a lot of work involved.

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Thanks Louise, pleased you’re looking forward to it.
Will

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jeanette June 15, 2016

This is great! Would you have a DVD on the glazing course?
Thanks

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Jeanette, nice to hear from you, at the moment the course will only be available as a digital download, however, you can save the course to a USB stick (it’s quite a large file size due to the length of the course – about 5GB)
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Tom June 15, 2016

Hi, Will.
You used the word “flummoxed” in your article. A great choice to describe the depth of confusion surrounding this technique. I may be a bit off-topic here, but would like to suggest you also prepare a similar course focused on ACRYLICS glazing.

I can’t express just how “flummoxed” I am at the prospect of glazing using a *white* glazing medium. The standard translucent/semi-opaque white acrylic polymer glazing liquids make it *impossible* (for me) to judge 1) my color mixture and 2) the level of transparency. White mediums temporarily TINT the color, and then go transparent upon drying – for the maximum in confusion! And the semi-opaque *whiteness* of the glaze when it’s wet confuses what the level of transparency will be when the glaze dries. Madness.

I think many painters would pay for knowledge that helps overcome this BIZARRE aspect of acrylics painting (one of several). And if you happen to know of a CLEAR glazing liquid, PUH-LEEZ mention it now. Thanks

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Tom, ha, ha yes flummoxed is a great word!

I can’t think of a clear glazing liquid of the top of my head but Winsor & Newton Artists’ Acrylics use a translucent binder in the paint manufacturing process which leads to a minimal colour shift in the paints, it might help when judging your mixes.

Cheers,
Will

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Tom June 15, 2016

Thanks for your reply, Will. I can’t imagine why, but W&N has not (yet) applied their breakthrough translucent binder to their glazing liquid – which remains a typical translucent white polymer. Development of the first CLEAR glazing liquid (and other mediums) will vastly improve the process and the outcome for acrylic painters.

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JANET KAY June 15, 2016

Looking forward to this course Will!

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Thanks Janet.
Will

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Suzanne Barnes June 15, 2016

I have switched to using walnut oil instead of linseed oil because it (supposedly) doesn’t yellow over time. Do you think this will alter the glazing technique that you will be teaching? I guess I should check on the diffraction index of walnut oil. Do you agree about the yellowing effects?

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Suzanne, yes, walnut oil does yellows less than linseed oil. It is a slower drier than linseed oil so can take longer between layers when working on a multiple layer approach. You can get a walnut oil that has an alkyd drier in it so the drying time is less, M Graham & Co make a good one M Graham Walnut Alkyd Medium (M Graham grind all of their oils in Walnut oil if you want to go 100% walnut oil)

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Janice D Gaskins June 15, 2016

My paint life has improved and thought process in blending colors since I’ve been introduced to your assistance. I have taken more paint risk and broaden the size of paintings. I no longer box my talents in as before. I’ve gained more confidence in the works I’m painting and although I love oils my budget doesn’t allow for it-I use acrylics, but use to paint in oil. Keep up the excellent teaching from the heart-courses. Very Grateful, Alabama Artist

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

That’s fantastic to hear Janice, so pleased you’ve been feeling more confident in your paintings.
Cheers,
Will

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Jenny Kyng June 15, 2016

So looking forward to this course….thanks Will!

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Cheers Jenny.

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sima soltani June 15, 2016

Hi
It will be great. How can I access to ?
and is it possible i send my portrait painting and give your opinion about that.
will be great if tell how can I continue.

Thanks
Sima

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Sima, the course will be a downloadable, step-by-step, home-study video course. It isn’t tutor supported but designed so you can work at your own pace to fit it with your own time schedule. Once downloaded, it’s yours to keep forever. It’s always great to see students finished paintings from the course but I don’t offer a critique service throughout the stages of the course.
Cheers,
Will

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Ineke June 15, 2016

Hi Wil, I am very interested in glazing and it is great that you have created a new course on this subject. I use Liquin as a medium as I became allergic to the turps. Can I use Linseed over a portrait created with Liquin or can I use the Liquin as a glazing medium? I look forward to your reply. I would also love it if the course.came out on DVD. Cheers Ineke

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Ineke, ahh, sounds like you’re one step ahead for this course, yes we use Liquin in the mediums for the glazing course (it’s a secret sauce!) I also don’t use Turpentine on the course but Odourless Mineral Spirits.
Cheers,
Will

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Jivko June 15, 2016

Hi Will,
I am by nature the impatient type and like working with acrylic paint for this reason. The problem there is that it doesn’t glaze so predictably and so nice as with oil. You mantioned that your background is painted with acrylics, but can you have this approach for the whole underpainting, i.e. the whole Grisaille in acrylics and after drying quckly do the rest in oil? I have read somewhere that the acrylics are used nowadays in resoration works of oil paintings (both easier to work with and distinguish later from the original). So, is there any reason – apart from tradition – why we would want the Grisaille to be in oil and not acrylic?

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Jivko,

‘You mentioned that your background is painted with acrylics, but can you have this approach for the whole underpainting, i.e. the whole Grisaille in acrylics and after drying quickly do the rest in oil?’

In theory, yes, in practice it’s much harder to achieve a softer blend with acrylics for the underpainting than with oils. For the grisaille on the course, I work with Alkyd oils, which dry overnight. This means you have the best of both worlds, the time to blend and smoke the underlying layer, but the (relative) speed of drying so you can continue on painting the next day.

This particular way of painting is definitely more of the meditative slow and steady approach because you need to stop yourself rushing ahead too much on each layer so the final result works well together.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Jivko June 15, 2016

Many thanks – really helps. Of course I don’t mind buying couple of tubes of Alkyd oils – I am excited to try something new. If you have tried them, what is your opinion on Golden Open Acrylic Paint – I work with them for portraits and they also dry slower but have no idea if they are equally good for blending as oil (I guess I will soon find out myself.

Cheers,
Jivko

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

You can read about some of the difference between standard heavy body and OPEN acrylics here.
Cheers,
Will

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Tatiana Kuzma June 15, 2016

Hi Will
Thank you for this post. I am looking forward to learn from this course since I recently started with oil and am following currently your oil portrait tutorial. My question is: as underpainting I have “Underpainting Medium” by Langridge. It contains: Stand Oil Polymerised (67746-08-1) 20-30%
Linseeed Oil (8001-26-1) 2-8%
Distilled Gum Turpentine (9005-90-7) 50-70%
Cobalt Octoate (136-52-7) 0.1%
Do you think I can use that with your course or do I have to have OMS + Linseed oil as a mix for my underpainting (for glazing course).
Thank you Will

Cheers :-)

Tatiana

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Tatiana, hope you’re enjoying the black and white course, as along as the mediums contain more oil (gets fatter) as you build up the paintings it will work. The medium you’re using contains an oil (linseed) a drier (cobalt) and a thinner (Turpentine). So if you add more linseed oil as the painting progresses you can use your current medium and then tweak it. The only different I use is adding a quick drying medium to speed up the process.
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Tatiana Kuzma June 17, 2016

Hi Will, thank you very much for your reply. One more question: could you please let me know how big is the file of the course? I only have a limited internet connection a I am trying to get organised for tomorrow. Thank you very much for your time, much appreciated.

Cheers,
Tatiana

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Will Kemp June 17, 2016

Hi Tatiana, the course is quite large due to the length of the lessons and it about 5GB. The lessons don’t have to be all downloaded in one go, they won’t run out, so you could download the first portrait one week and the second portrait the next week.
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Tatiana Kuzma June 18, 2016

Thank you very much Will, can not wait for the release of the course. All the best to you

Cheers

Tatiana

Heather June 15, 2016

Hi,
Just wondering how long you have to leave between layers and how dry they need to be to paint over. If tacky is ok or does it have to be solid dry. And how to prevent dust when waiting to dry. Can you use retouching varnish between layers and paint over it for the next layer?

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Heather, the layers need to be touch dry before applying the next layer. The drying time will vary depending on the colour, the thickness of application and the medium used. For many of the layers I demo with they are dry within 24 – 48 hrs.
Cheers,
Will

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Heather June 15, 2016

Thanks for replying. What do you mean by touch dry? Is that when it is still slightly tacky ?

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Oils dry by oxidation, so with thicker applications of paint you’ll notice a skin being formed on the outside of the paint first, when you touch the outside of the paint it would be touch dry, without any tack, but if you pressed the blob of paint it would still move and not be completely cured, so you would say that the blob of paint is dry to the touch but not fully cured.

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Ursula June 15, 2016

Hello Will,
I am amazed to see your beautiful works of art! I have two grandsons that I would like to do paintings of. I will have to work from several photos, as I cannot get them to sit still for two seconds, in the short times we have together. I am interested in your tutorial, so would like to ask you for more information. Would you send me one please?.
Kind regards,
Urs

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Thanks Ursula, I’ll send out more details with a breakdown of each lesson on Saturday.
Cheers,
Will

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Jill M June 15, 2016

Hi Will
Always enjoy your emails and avidly read all your tips! Will you be saying something about brushes for glazing, I’ve had a go at it using a pretend sable, but not quite sure it’s the right approach. Also however much I clean it with white spirit, it always seems a bit sticky! Any advice would be very gratefully received.

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Jim, yes, I’ll be talking through the different brushes used on the course and I do demo with a sable for some of the softer blends, essentially, the softer the brush used the smoother the application and less brush marks.
Cheers,
Will

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Neil June 15, 2016

I am usually very impatient when painting, is there a minimum time to leave a painting before applying a glaze and what if it is applied too early, can it streak or spread the paint? If so is all then lost?

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Neil, yes, this particular technique is definitely more of a slow and steady, if the paint underneath is still tacky you can easily pull the colour into your new clean glaze and ruin the effect. Many painters often work on numerous paintings at once so you can leave some paintings drying when you work on the next stage of different portraits.
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Liz Matt June 15, 2016

Just EXACTLY what I’m looking for. I await the details.

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Cheers Liz, glad you’re looking forward to it.
Will

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Carol Phillips June 15, 2016

Hey Will :) great article ( as always) thanks!
Ta for the heads up re oil / glazing – sounds a must have and I look forward to the launch.

Good and bad timing though – just promised myself that I won’t buy anything else until I’ve finished your acrylic portrait course ….. and along comes this – I’m going to be breaking my promise I see! Good though, as at last, I have time for some solid easle time stretching ahead of me :)
Cheers, C

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Ha, ha, cheers Carol, just think, the drying time between the layers if the perfect opportunity for working on the acrylic portrait course! or is that a little too much multitasking! Hope you’re well.
Will

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Colleen June 15, 2016

Hi Will

I’ve used acrylics for quite a while now and recently moved to oils. A new world has opened up to me, oils are amazing! Only downside is drying time. With alkyd walnut medium how long should you wait until you do next layer, and if someone says “I’d like my portrait done thanks” (like my husband or family members who think it takes a week or two pff!). How long does it really take you to finish one?

Thank you for a wonderful site.
Colleen

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Colleen, in the course I don’t demo with the Alykd walnut medium, it’s just a nice choice if you prefer working with walnut oil based paints. With the mediums and paints I demo with usually 24 hrs between layers, some of the earlier layers with a lean medium and quick drying oils can be touch dry quicker than that. For portrait commissions using this technique, for a small portrait it would take at least a week to allow for sufficient drying times, depending on how many layers you paint, again, you can be working on multiple paintings at the same time.

It’s a bit of a catch-22 because the longer drying time makes it easier and quicker to achieve a smoky, soft blended effect with your layers, but the longer drying time takes longer before you can continue on with the piece. So I’ve incorporated modern materials and mediums that help to try and get the balance between enough time to paint the layer comfortably, without feeling that you’re waiting weeks between layers.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Jaqui June 15, 2016

Looking forward to the course and definitely would like more info.

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Cheers Jaqui, I’ll be sending more info out on Saturday.
Will

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Ardelle Holden June 15, 2016

First time on your site. When the course is launched, how does it work? Are we working on a painting as it broadcasts? Do we get to download it and refer to it over and over as we paint?

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Will Kemp June 15, 2016

Hi Ardelle, nice to hear from you, all of the courses on the site are downloadable, step-by-step, video courses. Once downloaded they are yours to keep forever so you can follow along at your own pace and playback/ work over sections as many times as you like.
Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

p.s here is a downloading help page that goes through the downloading steps for the video links.

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Megan June 15, 2016

Hi Will, Okay if I share on Facebook and email to friends? Love that it seems from the enthusiasm of artists with whom I’ve spoken and on sites that realism is making a comeback and not only realism but the French Academy and Guild method’s that were trained by Masters of the past are seeing a resurgence of popularity. Many artists hungering to be able to be trained like the Old Masters trained, by copying master works and under the guidance of masters like yourself. I see ateliers popping up in the US. We now have the Art Renewal Center http://www.artrenewal.org and Michael John Angel’s Academy in Florence! 100 years of anything being able to be called art and now classical realism is coming back! Thank you for sharing these techniques and being willing to train and new generation of artists!

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Will Kemp June 16, 2016

Cheers Megan,
Will

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Dara June 15, 2016

Hi Will, what time will this be available on Saturday? Am planning my weekend around it. Tks

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Will Kemp June 16, 2016

Hi Dara, hopefully, Saturday lunch time UK time.
Cheers,
Will

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David Smith June 16, 2016

Hi Will,

Looking forward to your glazing course. There’s a beautiful mysterious quality in a glazed painting.

Your course has come at a good time because I had my first go at a completely glazed painting recenty – Van Eyck’s Man in a Red Turban.

I did it in acrylics, thin layers with the Golden glazing liquid you recommend. Don’t ask me how many layers cos I lost count! I did a reasonable job and although acrylics are harder to blend than oils I achieved an “old master” look. I was well impressed.

I notice that some people above are concerned about colour shifts when glazing with acrylics. In my experience (one whole painting) I found that you have to accept a small degree of unpredictability of colour tone and saturation when glazing and would imagine this even applies when using oils.

I have to laugh at myself having the confidence to tackle a Van Eyck. This is in no small way thanks to your courses and website.

Keep up the good work and the great portraits!

David

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Will Kemp June 16, 2016

Hi David, so pleased you had the confidence to tackle the Van Eyck, brilliant stuff!

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jennifer sutton June 16, 2016

Hi Will this is fantastic. It is the method we use to do all of our paintings with. Thank goodness it was how we started to learn oils, so i am so excited to learn some new approaches and more modern techniques. I do find it very time consuming, but have learnt to have four paintings on the go at all times so while one is drying you can paint on the others. One thing it does do is teach you blending, as it is easier to blend smoothly at the very start, than try and smooth the paint down afterwards. Look forward to learning more. Thanks for sharing.

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Will Kemp June 16, 2016

You’re so right Jennifer, it’s much harder to ‘soften off’ later rather than getting that softness and smooth blending in to start with, pleased you’re looking forward to the course.
Cheers,
Will

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Harrison M. June 16, 2016

Hi Will .
Congratulations on the upcoming glazing course !
This looks so well worth the wait . Thanks for putting in the effort .

Will, you say the total running time of the download is about 6 hours .
A lot of artists , when they launch courses , they say they have included all the paint strokes etc in real time mostly .

I wanted to know if your course is designed in the same manner ?
I have your acrylic glazing course and I absolutely love it as it is all in real time with no time lapses etc .

another question please .
does it include the original photographs of the 2 demos , so that the viewer could practice with them ?

Thanks .
wish you a great response and lot of success with the course .

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Will Kemp June 16, 2016

Hi Harrison, nice to hear from you and thanks for your kind wishes.

A lot of artists, when they launch courses, they say they have included all the paint strokes etc in real time mostly.
I wanted to know if your course is designed in the same manner?

Yes, it follows exactly the same format as my other courses with as much detail (maybe a touch more on this course). I’ve edited and coloured the course myself to exactly what I wanted to see when I was learning, all the brushstrokes are in real-time.

I’ve also added historical references, reference images of all materials and extra voice-overs to describe the ‘why’ aswell as the visual ‘how’.

Does it include the original photographs of the 2 demos, so that the viewer could practice with them?

Yes, on this course there are the original reference images you can print out and follow along with (scaled to the exact same canvas size I paint the demo with – will print on a standard A4 printer) Alongside black and white reference images and reference images of my drawing.

Hope this helps,
Cheers,
Will

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Harrison M. June 16, 2016

Thanks a lot for your answers Will .
Looking forward even more to the course now !
sounds like just the right course .
I really love the way you have designed the acrylic portrait course so I can definitely say that the oil glazing course would be even a few steps ahead of that !
all the best ! and thanks for the reply …

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Will Kemp June 16, 2016

You’re more than welcome Harrison.
Cheers,
Will

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Janny Pieck-Plantinga June 16, 2016

Hi Will,
Congratulations with you upcoming Glazing Course.
Just wondering.. if one uses Liquin with Linseed oil, what’s the effect on the ‘Refractive Index’. Or should one use Venetian terpuntine instead. Any suggestions?
Cheers,
Janny

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Will Kemp June 17, 2016

Thanks Janny, you could use Venetian turpentine, but for the speed of drying, I tend to lean towards Liquin in the mix.
Cheers,
Will

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Geraldine June 16, 2016

I can’t wait! I have been experimenting with glazes – its like applying liquid magic! Am really looking forwards tot eh course Will.

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Will Kemp June 17, 2016

Cheers Geraldine, glad you’re looking forward to it.
Will

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Rae G June 16, 2016

someone has been showing me his technique using 1/2 stand oil and 1/2 dammar varnish, is this good for glazing?

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Will Kemp June 17, 2016

Hi Rae, yes, you can use dammar varnish in a glaze, you need to make sure you use turpentine so it cuts through the dammar.
Cheers,
Will

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Sima June 17, 2016

Hi
Thanks so much for your reply.
I’m waiting for your DVD impatiently.
Saturday you mean jun 18th??

Thanks
Sima

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Will Kemp June 17, 2016

Hi Sima, yes, Saturday the 18th, the course will be available as a digital download.
Cheers,
Will

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Shelly Medernach June 17, 2016

Fascinating! Still working w/acrylics and following your simple still lifes and doing some landscapes. I am very intrigued! Hope to sign on at some point. Only been doing this for a couple of weeks now. Thank you! I love you energy and positive can do attitude!

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Will Kemp June 17, 2016

Cheers Shelly, so pleased you’ve been enjoying the still lifes.
Will

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Katie June 17, 2016

Hi, Will!

So absolutely thrilled about your new glazing course! Thanks for continuing to share your training, expertise and talent. I began my more formal training with you and your art school; I’ve now joined an atelier, which I am enjoying immensely. Your new course will fit in perfectly to support my atelier training. Cheers! Katie

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Will Kemp June 17, 2016

Hey Katie, that’s fantastic to hear, so pleased for you, brilliant that you’re enjoying the atelier, looking forward to see your results from the course.
Cheers,
Will

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Susan Feldman June 18, 2016

I have been working hard to learn how to paint portraits. It’s only the last six months that I have dedicated all my spare time to portrait painting. It’s obvious that the more I learn, the further away I am from my goal. I am eagerly waiting for your tutorial on glazing of which I know very little. Thank you for including me in this opportunity. Susan Feldman

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Will Kemp June 18, 2016

Good one Susan, really hope you enjoy the course.
Cheers,
Will

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Bob June 18, 2016

Can you use oil over acrylic? This looks like what I want to try for my first portrait. But the canvas undercoat I have is acrylic. Love your posts. Can’t wait to fully retire so I have more painting time.

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Will Kemp June 18, 2016

Hi Bob, yes, you can use oil over acrylics, I use acrylics for the ground colour on the course.
Cheers,
Will

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Lorraine June 18, 2016

It is Saturday evening here in Australia and I am keen to receive information on this glazing course. Something I am looking forward to learning.

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Will Kemp June 18, 2016

Great to hear it Lorraine, the course is now available, whoo hoo!

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Franco June 19, 2016

Hi Will,

I have a general question I hope you can answer.

If I am painting with vibrant colours and want a strong, vivid finish (it’s a surrealist painting) is there any value to an underpainting, or is this more for tonal pieces. I’m thinking of the course I studied along with in your oil self-portrait course (very good it was too btw).

Thanks in advance.

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Will Kemp June 20, 2016

Hi Franco, it works best for more tonal pieces and the underpainting always influences the finish, so for your vivid works you could paint straight onto a white canvas. Pleased you enjoyed the oil self-portrait course.
Will

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Franco June 20, 2016

That’s great, many thanks Will.

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Aya June 24, 2016

I am fairly drooling over your oil glazing portrait course.
I knew I couldn’t use oil paints because of the smell, so I chose the Acrylics Colour Portrait Course, but I’m just wondering, would I benefit from seeing the video and apply some of the tecniques in acrylic portrait painting? It would be great if I can.

I must admit I really liked Vanessa’s comment. You have a very astute lady in your hands. She was correct in some ways too, so she was very insightful.

Thank you so much for your amazing courses!

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Will Kemp June 26, 2016

Hi Aya, thanks for your kind comments, this is from the FAQs for the oil course:

I paint with Acrylics, can this course be applied to Acrylics?

Mmm, it’s a tricky one. In theory, yes.
Although in practice, I wouldn’t recommend this particular course with acrylics.
Why?
It’s all about a balance between having enough time to soften and blend the modelling of the face without feeling like your glazing layers are taking weeks and weeks to complete.
Due to the speed of the drying of the acrylics, they could appear to be the perfect choice of paints for glazing, however, when you’re first starting portraiture it’s easier to have more blending time to model the Grisaille underpainting accurately.
That’s not to say I don’t use acrylics at all on the course, on the coloured ground and for some sections of the hair I demonstrate how you can incorporate acrylics into your underpainting, but sticking to oils for the Grisaille of the face will give you the best results.
If you work small, and paint quickly, you could adapt the techniques to acrylics, but if you’re new to portraits you would get more realistic results, more easily with oils.

Hope this helps,
Will

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Aya July 9, 2016

Hey thanks so much for going out of your way to give me the FAQ.
I might try looking into it when I am better at doing portraiture in Acrylics.
Much appreciated…

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taraneh June 26, 2016

Thank you so much.

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Terry Hand June 26, 2016

First of all thank you for putting together such a comprehensive course. It must have taken a huge amount of work. Much appreciated.
Prior to this, most of the examples of glazing I have found on the internet seem to consist of producing a highly finished grisaille and then just colouring it up. Whenever I have tried this I have always ended up with something that looks like one of those old tinted photographs. And worse it always seems to look heavy (for want of a better word) and overworked. I like your method much better. I had no idea you could mix white with the colours in glazes. More importantly I have a bad tendency of getting to a finished state too soon in the process – hence the eventual over-worked look. I think your method will help me avoid this and keep more freshness in my painting. Having used transparent mediums like watercolours and inks for many years your way of glazing seems much more natural to me.
I’m also assuming that with a more low chroma subject you could just adjust the palette.

Best
Terry

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Will Kemp June 27, 2016

Cheers Terry, so pleased you’ve been enjoying the course, yes, for a more low chroma study you can adjust the palette for the base skin tone stage. The final transparent colours will always add more saturation so you can go pretty muted and still get a good result.
Will

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Jan ten Hove July 11, 2016

Hello Will,
I love your glazing lessons. I have finished the first one, Imogen and i am satisfied. But I must tell you that I changed 2 things in my pallet. The first is that I have not exactly the same paint for example I have a different red as yours. The reason is that for those things I have to travel to Budapest and that is about 150 km. from my house. And the next portrait has again other colours. So I work with what I have but the difference is minimal.
The second change is that I am used to work with alkyd. You use oilpaint with already alkyd in it. In that case I have to buy that as well. But I use the medium mix like you said with alkyd extra. It works perfect.
Till now I used glazing on my finished paintings if it needed a bit more warmth. Anyway I am happy with your lesson.
Greetings,
Jan ten Hove

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Will Kemp July 11, 2016

Hey Jan, really pleased you’ve been enjoying the glazing course and your tweaks with the materials you’ve got available sound perfect. Glad you’ve been enjoying experimenting working with the glazes at different stages in your portraits.
Cheers,
Will

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Pam G July 23, 2016

Hi Will,
Just finishing up Imogene and love the course. I am pleased with the first try at glazing as a process of adding color layers during the painting (instead of the end, which I had done before). It was for me, a leap of faith to trust that the journey would resolve some of the scary moments when you have to leave it overnight :-) but, your guidance was clear and very helpful. I am not afraid to share my results if you wish to post images, I just don’t see where to send you an image?

I do have a question about the final glazing step. When I did the glaze over the hair with the reddish (I think it was burnt sienna and cadmium red) I wasn’t happy with the tone on the right side when it dried. I would like to tone it down now, to respect the shadow side and make the lights there more soft, directing the eye to the face again.

If I make additional edits to the final glaze to tweak things, do I continue with the final medium or must I had even more oil? What type of transparent color can be added to darken an area, umber?

Again, a stellar class. I love that you give us two paintings. I expect Grace to fly off the canvas after my learning process on Imogene. Lovely!!! Cheers, Pam

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Will Kemp July 25, 2016

Hi Pam, lovely to hear from you and so pleased you’ve been enjoying the glazing course.

To answer your question:

If I make additional edits to the final glaze to tweak things, do I continue with the final medium or must I had even more oil? What type of transparent color can be added to darken an area, umber?

Yes, a Burnt Umber will work great, you can just add a couple of drops of oil into your medium mix and you’ll be away. You can send through your painting attached to an email by sending me a direct email (details on the contact page).

Really hope you enjoy painting Grace.
Cheers,
Will

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Carla October 11, 2016

Hi Will,

I’m very excited to be finally sitting down to start the portrait course. I have a quick question. is it possible to do the first layer of burnt umber in acrylic? I am in the middle of moving house & I don’t have all my usual equipment with me.

Thanks
Carla

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Will Kemp October 11, 2016

Hi Carla, nice to hear from you, yes, you could so the first burnt umber with acrylics but I’d swap to oils for the grisaille section.
Cheers,
Will

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Lisa Lieber December 21, 2016

I just finished this course and have to say I loved it and learned so much! Thank you for be so generous with your knowledge and talent! (I would share my painting, but not sure how to do that.)

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Will Kemp December 21, 2016

Hi Lisa, so pleased you’ve been learning lots from the glazing course, you can send me a direct email (details on the contact page) and attach the painting, would love to see your results.
Cheers,
Will

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Jonathan Ponting March 1, 2017

Hi Will,

I have just started with your acrylic portraits lessons – but also just happened to look at your intro on this glazing course – may sound like a silly question but can the grisaille and then glazing work in the same way for acrylics as it does for oils? in your course you talk about zorn’s limited palette….was just wondering if it could be done a different way. many thanks – by the way i love the video’s and your style of teaching….really effective – thank you so much. Jon

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Will Kemp March 4, 2017

Hi Johnathan, nice to hear from you really pleased you’ve been enjoying the acrylic portrait course.

Can the grisaille and then glazing work in the same way for acrylics as it does for oils?

This is from the FAQs on the Glazing course:

I paint with Acrylics, can this course be applied to Acrylics?

Mmm, it’s a tricky one. In theory, yes.
Although in practice, I wouldn’t recommend this particular course with acrylics.
Why?
It’s all about a balance between having enough time to soften and blend the modelling of the face without feeling like your glazing layers are taking weeks and weeks to complete.
Due to the speed of the drying of the acrylics, they could appear to be the perfect choice of paints for glazing, however, when you’re first starting portraiture it’s easier to have more blending time to model the Grisaille underpainting accurately.
That’s not to say I don’t use acrylics at all on the course, on the coloured ground and for some sections of the hair I demonstrate how you can incorporate acrylics into your underpainting, but sticking to oils for the Grisaille of the face will give you the best results.

If you work small, and paint quickly, you could adapt the techniques to acrylics, but if you’re new to portraits you would get more realistic results, more easily with oils.

What about adapting it to OPEN Acrylics, aren’t they slower drying?

Yes, they are slower drying, but if you paint a thick layer of OPEN acrylics for the underpainting (we want this to be opaque) you might actually have to wait longer than if working with the Alkyd quick drying oils before applying the next layers. And if you painted the underpainting with OPEN acrylics and then applied standard acrylics on top, you run the risk of the upper paint layers drying before the OPEN acrylics underneath.

Hope this helps,
Will

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Lisa Lieber August 14, 2017

I have done this course and loved it! Recently I have started working with Graham and Co paints with walnut oil as the medium. I am wondering how to adapt this method? Can the walnut oil be mixed with OMS in order to make the same mixtures? Also, if doing the portrait in one sitting would you just use the walnut oil on its own?

Thanks!
Lisa

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Will Kemp August 15, 2017

Hi Lisa, really pleased you’ve been enjoying the course. You can use the walnut oil in place of the linseed oil, the walnut oil will take slightly longer to dry than the linseed oil and won’t have the same viscosity so you might not need as much OMS in the mixes. You can try the walnut alkyd medium for one sitting as it will dry quicker than the pure walnut oil. (you can see it demoed in this video)
Cheers,
Will

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Will Kemp June 21, 2016

Great one Nancy, thanks for sharing about the Cobra paints mediums for glazing.
Cheers,
Will

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Will Kemp June 18, 2016

My pleasure Tatiana, (thanks for your purchase!) really hope you enjoy the course.
Will

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