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Velatura: An Opaque Glaze

By January 10, 2014

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jyh6t7VelaturaDo you know the art term for glazing with an opaque color? It's something I often do, though I certainly don't often throw the word "velatura" into a conversation. Perhaps I ought to next time someone asks me how I created the mist in a painting to see what they say next...?

VelaturaThe seascape shown here (along with a small detail) is a painting where I obliterated much of the color of the hills and sea with a velantura of titanium white. I diluted the white acrylic with water and glazing medium, then worked fast with a big brush. As titanium white is such an opaque pigment the effect is dramatic and immediate. I always keep a damp cloth to hand in case it's too much! And remember you can use pressure to spread the opaque paint thinly across a surface, you don't need to thin the color with a glazing medium or oil/turps.

"Seascape No.9" Marion Boddy-Evans. 46 x 122cm. Photo licensed to About.com, Inc


January 31, 2009 at 7:29 am
(1) Graham says:


January 31, 2009 at 7:33 pm
(2) AceJr. says:

Thank you! This is one of the reason’s I love art so much, and it’s because there is always something to new to learn. This is a new term for me too. Thanks again.


February 1, 2009 at 10:54 am
(3) Delyse Ramos says:

Thanks Marion. This is a term I have never heard before. I hope that I will remember it.

February 2, 2009 at 12:43 am
(4) ccs says:

the way to make any glaze into a velatura is to simply add some white. the word comes from the italian for “veil.”

here is a step by step oil portrait where i used this technique:

February 2, 2009 at 6:09 am
(5) About.com Painting Guide says:

It’s another reason to familiarize oneself with whether a color is transparent or opaque.

June 11, 2011 at 1:02 am
(6) Ed Smiley says:

Ever try zinc white for velatura? It is a little more transparent than titanium, but still fairly opaque. I am finding that I am using it more and more. It’s great to adjust and at the same time soften the edge between a white and another color too!

June 12, 2011 at 7:56 am
(7) Marion BE says:

@Ed > I have used zinc white, which as you say is more transparent. I find though that because I don’t use as much, I tend to get better results with titanium white because I’m more used to judging X paint + Y water/glazing medium = Z result.

January 10, 2013 at 12:27 am
(8) Natalya Kalugina says:

I never heard this word before, but use this technique almost in every picture to create aerial perspective. I think I found it somewhere in the Marion’s lessons. Sometimes I add just a drop of another color, but I like better Titanium White. I Also use for velatura … dirty water from the jag where I put brushes when painting (for example in a large seascape here http://picturesbynatalyakalugina.weebly.com/seascapes.html).

January 10, 2013 at 11:40 am
(9) Yover says:
January 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm
(10) Rich Mason says:

Done that but didn’t know what it was called. Thanks for the info.

January 10, 2014 at 8:40 pm
(11) Ed Smiley says:

Just wondering, anybody experimented with zinc white for this purpose?

It’s a very translucent white that only covers a little. I find that it’s sometimes useful if you want to lay on just a trace of white without overdoing it.

January 11, 2014 at 3:22 am
(12) Marion BE says:

@Ed Zinc white should work beautifully, with less risk of inadvertently obscuring something through a bit of too-thick titanium.

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