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How to Glaze Oil Painting

how to glaze oil painting

Oil glazing is the process of applying an additional layer of paint, usually in a contrasting color or tone, over an existing painting.

If you want to add luminous effects to your current painting, you should try this technique. Below are detailed guides on how to glaze oil painting and several reasons why this technique is widely used.

Still, the methods and materials used will depend on the type of oil painting. So, first thing first, let’s see what glazing oil painting is and what its common uses are.

What is Glaze Oil Painting?

Glaze oil painting is a type of oil painting that uses glazes to add color and depth to our artwork.

Glazing is the process of adding thin layers of paint over another layer of paint, often transparent colors over a white base. This method allows for a gradual buildup of shade and can create very luminous feels.

Oil glazes are made by mixing pigment with linseed or walnut oil. The mixture is then thinned with turpentine or mineral spirits until it has the desired consistency.

There are three main reasons to glaze an oil painting:

  • To add color – Glazing is a great way to add color when glaze medium isn’t appropriate
  • To change the tone or hue of a color – Glazes are transparent, whereas glaze medium is more opaque, giving different results despite both being oil-based paints that dry matte
  • To create depth and texture – It can also be used to create highlights or glistening effects in certain areas of the painting, depending on what colors you use and how thickly it’s applied

So experiment with different colors and techniques to see what works best for you.

What to Prepare Before Applying the Technique

what is glaze oil painting

Oil glaze is also known as fat glazing because it uses oils instead of turpentine, which results in less odor and toxic fumes than traditional glazing methods.

To Make an Oil Glaze, you will need:

  • Linseed oil for your medium
  • Stand oil as your base color
  • Pigment as your darker tone (optional)
  • Dryer if using colored pigments
  • White spirits/turpentine for cleaning up brushes after applying the glazes
  • Palette knife or flat brush
  • Damar resin

Important Notes:

  • Mixing medium withstand oil produces a glossy, luminous, and glistening glaze. It’s a great way to mix different colors without having them turn muddy because the glazes do not easily blend
  • On the other hand, mixing medium withstanding oil can be tricky as it dries quickly. Still, adding a dryer will make your glazing session more efficient by allowing you to work faster before everything is set up in place
  • You might also want to experiment with adding a pigment into your base color for deeper tonality. Or, you can use white spirits/turpentine so they won’t become too dark when mixed with glazes

How do you use Glaze Oil Paints?

The following steps will show you how to glaze an oil painting using opaque paint.

Step 1: Mix your Glaze Colors.

You’ll need one primary color and one secondary color. The primary color should be darker than the background color, while the second should be lighter.

For example, we’ll use blue and yellow glazes over a white background. To make the glaze mixture, simply mix equal parts of each color until you have a lighter glaze yet still have a good amount of color.

  • To create a standard glaze, you can mix turpentine and linseed oil with a ratio of 1:2
  • For an ultra-glossy glaze, mix turpentine and stand oil with a ratio of 1:2
  • For a resin glaze, mix damar resin, linseed oil, and turpentine with a ratio of 1:2:5

Step 2: Apply the Glazes to your Painting.

Use an oil-soluble brush for this step because it won’t leave bristles in your glazing mixture when you’re finished.

At this stage, the most important thing is that there are no lines or harsh edges between colors. Therefore, everything should be blended into one another with soft transitions and gradients

Since glazes dry darker than they appear when wet, make sure to test each layer before continuing so you can adjust if needed.

Continue glazing until you achieve the look desired.

Step 3: Experiment with Different Colors and Techniques

Do not be afraid to try different techniques to see what works best for you. Remember, glazing is all about gradual buildup, so take your time and be careful not to overdo it.

That’s all there is to glaze an oil painting!

Do you have to Glaze oil Paintings?

The short answer is no – glazing is not necessary to achieve a good result with oil paints. However, it can be an effective way to improve your paintings. Many artists find that glazing gives them more control over the outcome.


The process of glazing an oil painting is one of the most satisfying steps in creating a work. It takes time to get it right, but you’ll be rewarded with deep, vibrant colors and subtle layers that give depth to your art.

If you’ve been thinking about trying your hand at painting, now is the time. You can also find more information on how to paint in general by checking out some of our other posts as well. We hope this has been helpful, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

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