Painting Techniques

On Saturday 13 November 2010 the first Assemblage workshop was held at Wits University.

The workshop was facilitated by Gina Van Zyl De Oliviera

Gina shared her knowledge about several different ways of working with glazes and primers. The workshop was very useful for those wanting to improve their painting skills. Those who attended thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The notes below document some of the knowledge passed on:

  • when buying canvas it is generally cheaper to buy primed and/or pre=stretched canvas. PNA generally has very reasonably priced canvas
  • when priming canvas the correct side to prime with a base coat is the textured side
  • primer should be placed on top of a base coat
  • several coats maybe be used
  • it is best practice to sand the canvas between base and primer coats, unless your intention is to produce a very rough finished canvas.
  • Your base colour does not have to be white
  • Supergrip is the preferred product for base coat priming, particularly on plaster and wood. It is however fairly pricing at approximately R200
  • For those looking for brown paper R.Haddock & co are useful suppliers


  • Glazes are usually used for wall and decoupage techniques, but can also be used effectively by artists.
  • Mixing glaze with your paint helps to maintain the sheen of your paint. The glaze should be mixed with wet paint and used as part of the painting process.
  • There are acrylic and oil based glazes available. These can be found at most hardware stores and cost approximately R180. Look amongst your paint brands for a variety of glazes. Plascon for example makes a ‘paint effect acrylic scumble glaze’.
  • If using oil paint use an oil based glaze, and if working with acrylic paint use and acrylic based glaze.
  • Ensure you wash your brushes before the glaze dries.

Leather/ fabric/fine textured glaze effect

  • Mix 50:50 paint and glaze
  • Paint on in thick swipes
  • Take a rag or cloth, bunch it up and make one smooth side
  • Pat onto paint, lifting up small amounts of paint
  • Fold away wet paint on cloth and repeat
  • Pat until all lines have faded
  • Take a very soft wide brush (Badger hair is best) and very, very lightly and softly, brush over the surface in a criss-cross motion until you gain the effect you like

Marbling effect

  • Mix 50:50 paint and glaze
  • Brush on in large swipes
  • Use at least two other colours to make effect realistic. Paint these colours in small lines across the surface.
  • Pat with cloth as with the first effect
  • Use a soft brush and soften lines
  • Add more glaze if it begins to get too dry
  • Add more paint and colours in areas (make lines like marble)
  • Sprinkle with droplets on water flicked off fingers to give stone textured appearance
  • Soften with brush again
  • Veins in the marble can be added by using a very fine brush and a dark tone of colour.
  • Soften with brush again if needed