Glazing is a multi-layered technique in painting: applying paint with transparent strokes from lighter to darker, one layer over the other.
Features of multilayer watercolour technique:

  • Realistic and highly detailed level of the image
  • The lower layer of light and transparent strokes must have time to dry before applying thr next layer. The paint should not be mixed in different layers.
  • The ability to divide the working process into several sessions, paint a large picture.

The page presents watercolour paintings by Elena Bazanova

Glazing properties are good to use in light transparent painting in multi-layer technique. The final result is affected by the density and number of layers: the more transparent the layers are, the more of them there can be. In addition to direct mixing of colours on the palette, in the technique of glazing there is an optical mixing of semi-transparent layers, which is important to take into account in the work.

The behaviour of colours is studied by artists in practice. It is very useful to do test mixes on paper and at the same time mark which paints the mixture was made from, so that an unexpectedly obtained interesting result can be repeated if necessary.


In tests, transparent and semi-transparent colours were used: Bright blue (509), Emerald green (713), Cobalt blue (508), Cadmium red light (302), Lemon (214), Cadmium yellow medium (201), Ochre yellow (218), English red (321), Carmine (319), Golden deep (217), Sepia (413), Umber (418), Burnt umber (408). 

It can be clearly seen that when applying layers of paints close in colour spectrum or in pigment composition, optical mixing appears clean and calm, even if the density was different:

The intersection of colours opposite in the spectrum introduces dynamism and colour accents into the composition:

When painting light and shadow, mixing opposite colours sometimes can be an interesting solution that does not give dirt. When painting red drapes using Carmine (319), an admixture of Emerald green (713) gives saturation and colour-bearing capacity in shadows:

It is interesting to compare the work of lemon cadmium and lemon. In the tests, the difference between opaque paint and glazing paint is clearly visible:

In glazing technique, it is important to follow the rules:

  • Do not use light-tone opaque colours over transparent layers. If lighter in tone and opaque colours overlap the lower transparent layers, the glow of paper disappears;
  • To apply the next layer, wait for the previous layer to dry completely. If you don't let the previous paint layer to dry properly, mixing will occur, and the shade you will get may be very different from the intended one.


Alla prima is a technique in which a picture is created within one painting session before the colours dry completely.

To achieve the desired result, you need to work quickly and confidently. The application of the second layer of paint over the first layer that has not yet dried out requires special skill and an intuitive understanding of the essence of the process.

Features of alla prima technique:

  • High speed of painting. The works are painted at one go, which allows you to capture the state "here and now".
  • Works are painted in one layer, immediately gaining full saturation of tone. The second layer is seldom used, only when correction or details are needed.
  • The works are extremely juicy and fresh. Mixing of wet colours at work gives unique colour effects.
  • Simplicity and generalization of drawing details.
  • Opaque and transparent paints also have the ability to granulate, but in the bold, free technique of alla prima, this ability is revealed most vividly. Opaque watercolour paints are moving, perfectly mixed and spread, just like transparent. But unlike transparent ones, they are able to convey depth and saturation of tone from the first layer without completely muting the paper glow.
Opaque and transparent paints also have the ability to granulate, but in the bold, free technique of alla prima, this ability is revealed most vividly. Opaque watercolour paints are moving, perfectly mixed and spread, just like transparent. But unlike transparent ones, they are able to convey depth and saturation of tone from the first layer without completely muting the paper glow.

The page presents watercolour paintings by Elena Bazanova


Heavier in mass - earthen, cadmium, cobalt and compound colours with a whitewash content - actively displace transparent paints in the mixtures, creating interesting "penetration" effects. To obtain saturated shades, the best result is achieved by mixing opaque and transparent (or semi-transparent) colorus. When mixing two or more opaque paints, there is a high probability of obtaining a subdued tone:


Granulation (G) is the pronounced appearance of pigment particles on paper, creating a non-uniform texture in the paint layer in the form of visually noticeable small spots or flakes. Granulation is explained by the tendency of particles of some pigments to coagulate: on the wet surface of the sheet, particles of some pigments, moving in water layer, gravitate to each other, forming visible clusters. In watercolour painting, this feature is expressed in the tendency of the pigment to granulate or in other words, form a noticeable paint sediment. Ultramarines, cobalts and cadmium pigments, earths, black and broun mars, chromium oxide have an initial tendency to granulation. The most obvious granulation shows itself in priming when paper with coarse texture and earthy water are used.

The effect of granulation, as well as the effect of stratification and overflow of pigments, is most visible when working in a wet sheet, with a thick soft brush, when the pigments can move freely in water. The effect of stratification and granulation does not fully appear immediately, but after drying of the paper, when the movement of pigments stops completely. When mixed in water, the granulating pigment particles gravitate to each other and fall down to the surface of the paper first, forming a basic texture, and the other pigment particles continue to move and stop only with evaporation of the aqueous medium, forming the final form of work.

Deep and complex shades of granulating paints can be obtained by selecting colours that have the necessary characteristics independently, and ready-made compound paints of a special series can be used.


The paints of the new series mesmerize by the movement of pigments in the water. They show their extraordinary character in wet work most interestingly, when a large amount of water on a sheet allows paint to move freely. With a large amount of water in the brush, you can also see colour transitions and granulations after the painting dries. The effects of pigment delamination in painting appear sometime after the paint strokes of this series are applied, and they are best seen when the work is dry.

Paints can be used in a variety of creative directions.They have noble complex shades of colour and will enrich classical painting with the original effects of granulation and pigment delamination, they will inspire experiments in decorative and applied creativity, and they will also help to create abstract compositions with unusual technical solutions. In working with these colours, the artist can most vividly feel co-authorship with the elements of water and watercolours. 

It is possible to recommend the use of paints in art therapy as a way of meditation-observation of the process of "magical" movement of paint in water (wet work, calligraphic painting techniques). This will allow you not only to immerse yourself in the study of watercolours. Observing the movement of pigments in the water will help to relieve stress. Performing images with different colouristic sounds will develop a fantasy, an emotional reaction to images of colour and deliquescent watercolour strokes.


It is recommended to apply the strokes in one go (alla prima) to preserve the natural movement of pigments in water.

Paints can be used in complex mixes and can produce beautiful shades when mixed with other paints (especially when the latter are pure in colour and they are close to spectral shades).

Paints can be used as ready- to-use colour, in the pure state.

Paints can give interesting results when working with glazing. When the first layer of light tone is applied, optical colour mixing will occur when the ink of this series is applied. It is important to take this effect into account and for paint of the series you should choose suitable shades of the paint for glazing. The best way to preserve all the effects of pigment movements in water is to apply paints of this series for the top layer.

The character of effects of the paints will mainly depend on the type of the paper. The most interesting effects can be observed on the medium and rough textured paper. (Grain Fin, Torchon).

The more water in brush or paper there is, the more vivid the effect of granulation is.

You can work on horizontal or inclined (close to vertical) surface. Adjusting the tilt of the sketching pad allows you to stabilize or activate the movement of water with paint under the influence of gravity.

Paper soaking with a large amount of water sharpens the nature of all the flow mottles and spreading in painting, water accumulates in the waves of deformated paper and, when dried, begins to create specific effects towards drier areas of painting, while some pigments "slide" from hills to depths. It also gives interesting but sometimes uncontrollable effects. If your goal is to get an even movement of paint spreading, then it is recommended to prepare the paper for work by wetting it and placing it on a smooth waterproof pad (raw paper technology). Then the working surface will be flat, and the movement of paint in water is controlled.


In a small square, the densest tone of dry paint.
In a longwet stretch, from a dense tone to a light one on graphite stroke - checking the speed of spreading of paint in water, the coating ability of paint.

  1. A rectangle with a wet test horizontally - a fragment was moistened with a flat brush on dry paper (the paper swelled from water and waves formed that affected the flow of paint), then calligraphic brush strokes were applied. This test allows you to see the dynamics of paint movement in water: precipitation (granulation) of heavy particles and movement of light particles of different pigments. In tests, I tried to give a test abstractly with a hint of visual images and possible application of paint.
  2. In a rectangle, moistened with a flat brush, when tilting the sketching pad, close to vertical, strokes of the main colour were applied, then strokes of other bright paints with a lot of water were added. The test allows you to see the effectiveness of the paint during the vertical flow of paints in water: to compare the speed of sliding and delamination of different pigments and interaction with other paints.
  3. Calligraphic strokes of various density of the tone with big amount of water.
  4. Leachability/rinsability: △- practical absence of mark; ◮ - light/ weak mark; ▲- noticeable/ strong mark.
  5. Work of paint in mixes.
  6. Additional tests on individual sheets: on different types of paper; other technical effects; additional mixes.

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