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When in the very early stages of painting, certain revelations about color begin to gel in ones brain. Of course you hear painting terms being kicked around by your peers that at first have little meaning. For instance, it took me the longest time to realize what glaze meant, and how it would affect the over-all composition. While many terms are fairly straightforward, such as a wash, wet-into-wet, even hard and soft lines, others seem truly elusive, at least for me . . . another of these mysterious words was the term muddy.
At last I realized that wash and glaze were almost the same thing, except that a wash went down first as it “washed” across the paper, adding color. While a glaze went on second, over the wash, in order to “glaze” select areas only, changing top and bottom colors together into a third. Wow, what a concept, simple, easy to grasp, and all connected with adding an attractive and varied assortment of shades, tints, and hue!
The same can be said for hard and soft lines, fairly uncomplicated, easily recognized on paper, and enormously helpful when mastered. Much simpler than color!
As an example, did you know that there are blue-blacks, and red-blacks, just as there are blue-reds and orange-reds, and that’s just for starters! Confused the heck out of me! And to make matters worse, any combination of red, yellow, and blue (called a Triad) happening to meet on your paper will produce an off-shade of gray known as muddy. Since this is to be avoided at all costs, somehow it was much further down the road before the benefits of mixing useable shades of gray, or an assortment of neutral hues, came to light.
This was a real breakthrough in my development, and gray began to make sense.