How to glaze glowing skies using oils

Oil painting
(Image credit: Sarah Jane Brown)

Take a walk around any large art museum and the chances are you will see some very old paintings that still have such rich, luminous colour in them that it seems they have been lit from within. The traditional method of glazing can seem daunting at first as it carries an air of mystery. Glazing as a basic technique is actually very simple but does require patience, so expect this exercise to take several days. Each layer must be completely dry before adding the next. For this reason, I work on several paintings simultaneously and have them hanging up to dry around my studio, waiting for the next layer. 

One advantage of this method is that should you make a mistake with a glaze, you can wipe it off knowing that the previous layers will be undisturbed. Glazing can create a visual depth, optical complexity and intensity of colour that is impossible to achieve by any other method, so it is well worth learning. (To get you started, take a look at this guide to the best oil paints and best oil paint canvases to get you set up for success).

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Sarah Jane Brown

Sarah Jane Brown is a landscape painter based in Pembrokeshire, UK, and is inspired by the clear coastal light and the rugged beauty of her surroundings. A member of the Guild Society of Artists, she exhibits widely and her work is collected internationally.