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3D Acrylic Painting Techniques Blog

Blog > What is the Difference between Impasto & a Glaze?

September 17, 2016 - by Ruth Collis

What is the Difference between Impasto & a Glaze?

These are two opposites. A glaze is a very thin wash meant to just tint something lightly; where impasto is thick application of paint.

See this mermaid example where the angel fish is starkly white on the left and toned down with a light wash of blue in the right photo. The clearer left fish may look better, but the right painting as a whole, looks better when you want all the focus on the mermaid as the subject and not your eye detracting strongly away from that in the painting.


Sometimes you want to use a glaze to keep things toned like here. (I only made the white show on the angel fish that was also strongly showing on the spotted fish and the other yellow fish was a way bright yellow too.) It was hard to dumb down all these wonderful bright colors, but did not want to detract the focus off the mermaid.

The impasto is of course, all the other rich coral textures of built up paint. Click on the picture for it to enlarge.

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Impasto and glaze difference

Here is a closeup of the glaze comparison:

Impasto and glaze difference
Ruth Collis, Sculptural Painting Instructor

Ruth Collis

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