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Eloyne Erickson is the Owner/Operator of Grand Central Stained Glass, serving the Bay area for nine years. She has been involved in the craft for over thirty years, and serves as Principal Designer, Project Manger and fabricator of all custom pieces.
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Sometimes despite our very best effort, our designs just lay there on the table; nice – but flat and lifeless. There seems to be no ‘pop’, no dimension. It’s very pretty – just kind of boring. Blech, it’s discouraging.
We’ve found that applying a few Old School, traditional glass painting details to our design brings our pieces to life.They add dimension and vibrancy impossible to otherwise acquire. The difference is startling! The great news is it’s just as effective on fused glass as it is on stained! You. Can. Do. This!
Some of the places where a bit of glass painting really improves the look of the work includes:
The folds in a piece of fabric
The ripples on the surface of a body of water
The shadows of a birds wings’ feathers
The shadows between the petals of a flower
Or anywhere you’re looking to differentiate one area of focus from another
Given the nature of our primary medium – glass, it’s difficult to achieve the fine-grain distinctions between light and dark. Too, it’s even more difficult to shade and/or highlight different areas of our pieces to make them really stand out. This is where traditional stained glass painting techniques come in. Shading, shadowing and highlighting using traditional methods render a piece far more lifelike and vibrant.
The color palette of these paints called stainer colors are fairly dark and intense, blacks, browns and grays. The stainer colors are most frequently applied onto colored cathedral or glass you can see through.
Drawing skills, interesting enough don’t come much into play. I suppose someone familiar and comfortable with an artist’s brush might find the technique easier to master, but honestly with a little bit of practice just about anyone can soon create high-quality, lifelike shading, shadowing and highlighting. Basically, it’s a two-step process:
Tracingyour painted embellishments onto your piece of glass
Matting and then removing unwanted paint
In a nutshell… imagine tracing a very simple line drawing onto one of the pieces or glass in your pattern using a fine brush and dark stainer color. Then, using a soft, wide (3″) brush, imagine applying thin layers of stainer color over the tracing you’ve created. Finally, by using a variety of brushes and simple tools imagine stippling and scraping away or otherwise removing everything that isn’t part of you highlight, shadowing or shading. All that’s left are the highlights, accentuating those elements which provide dimension, vibrancy and the remarkable definition.
Interested in learning more? Check back on Wednesday as we go into greater detail and introduce you to the idea of kiln-firing your freshly painted stained glass pattern pieces!