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How to Improve your Painting by Studying a Favourite Artist and Glazing for Glowing Colour in Acrylic Paint.

Art Blog how to paint painting advice personal art journey

Do you have an artist you admire or several as in my case? How do you use that to your advantage to improve your painting? I will go into how I found glazing techniques and how this improved my painting. 


Well, let me just say I'm not an expert so I can only go from my own experience. But I'm a real person looking to improve my art by my own study and am happy to share my tips on what and how I have learnt with you. 

With so many opportunities for studying many different artists on the internet these days, it's easy to find other artists we admire. They don't have to be all old masters either. I have already touched on this in my other blog post

Improve your painting skills

In this blog, I would Like to go more in depth in how I have improved my painting techniques by studying this other artist. 

I discovered Micheal Lang on youtube in 2015. I had been painting in acrylics for about six months and was starting to branch out into doing abstracts. I loved his paintings and was fascinated watching him paint. He didn't talk, just painted and although his videos are 30 mins or more long I never get bored watching him. I particularly liked his abstracts that reminded me of clouds as I had been painting a lot of clouds myself. He has since done some others that are less abstract and more landscape which I have found equally fascinating.

First, try to figure out what you love about an artist painting. What aspects of it really appeal to you. Is there something in particular that they are doing you can learn.

After watching a few of his videos I noticed he used a lot of glazing throughout the painting to build up that glowing depth of colour which I so liked. So to learn how to do glazing. Closely observing what he was doing and the order he did it was my first step. I looked up other artists and glazing with acrylics and what mediums to use. I have written a blog about

How to apply new Techniques to your painting. 

 I kept coming back to Micheal Lang as I felt no one else was doing it quite like he was. I noticed that he did his dark's and lights first then added glazes of colour on top of that. He also kept painting long after I thought it was finished sometimes completely changing that painting but always they turned out beautiful with a complexity and depth of colour that made his paintings so wonderful to look at.

So again as I have said in other posts I didn't want to copy him I wanted to learn what he was doing and then apply it to my own work. Now he does actually do tutorials on DVD but at the time I wasn't up to buying any more art lessons and needed to figure it out on my own. So from observing him paint I learnt that I need to work on where my lights and dark's are going and have an idea of a pleasing design without colour before I even start. I learnt that building up layers of colour using glazes would help me make that lovely glow. I also learnt that I shouldn't be afraid to change the painting and head it into another direction if I wasn't happy with it. And just because I think I have finished I should step back and see if there was anything else I could do to improve this painting. 

How do I apply this to my painting? After I learnt how to do the glazing I then went on to a painting putting into practice what I had learnt watching Micheal Paint. This Is actually the most important step. Putting into practice consciously and deliberately what you learn in order to learn even more. 

 So step one doing some sketches just using pencil to come up with a good design of lights and darks. Then painting in those lights and dark's on my canvas.

Then adding the glazed colours on top. Discovering which paint colours worked best for this and how much glazing medium worked well.

I discovered for that really glowing colour, transparent colours worked best and it didn't really matter how much clear painting medium I used (which was what I was using for my glazing medium) that would just affect how light or bright my colours would be. Lighter layers built up on top of each other made more glowing colour than one thicker layer. That secondary colours, in general, where better layered in glazes straight on the canvas. Using a red over yellow for instance would give a more vibrate orange than just using orange on it's own. I also discovered I needed a lot more lights than dark's at the beginning or the whole painting would get to dark and I wouldn't be able to see the colour as much as I would like. I also needed to let layers of glaze dry before adding the next one for the most vibrate results.

 This Painting Fireworks Trees 

Was one of my first using Micheal Lang's glazing methods. It went through a lot of changes and I ended up using Watered down gesso more than once to drip over the painting to change it and build up more lights in a spontaneous way. So lots of layers on this one. Sometimes I wondered if I would ever get anything I liked out this. But in the end, I really liked the result and it has been much admired. I learnt so much studying Micheal Lang's work and watching him paint on YouTube that I would never have done if I hadn't taken the time to really study what he was doing and then apply it to my own work.

The light fantastic (SOLD

Was another abstract I did using his glazing techniques that I may never of finished without his encouragement of not being afraid to change a painting. This one ended up being turned on it's side before I felt it was working. 

I have also gone on to using this glazing technique in some of my other works that are not abstracts, like the water in this river painting.  Without taking the time to learn this Glazing I would never have known how to approach painting this water to show such depth and colour. 

After the Drought

 Currently, I am using this glazing method to make galaxy paintings which I have found very effective.

So I encourage you all to take the time now and then to really study your favourite artists and see how you can use what they do to improve your own work. As you can see every time you learn something new it can improve your painting in all areas of your work, not just the type that your favourite artist did.

Would love to hear your tips on how you make the most of learning from other artists. Be sure to leave a comment in the start a discussion box below. If you would like to read more of my blog posts sign up for my newsletter so you never miss out.

Here are some other blog posts you may be interested in.

What should I paint, How to go from an idea to a painting.

Improve your painting by working in a series.

Painting in a meaningful way. Do I need a message behind my art?

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