October 16th, 2011 – Glass Painting Special

I received a comment in the previous post about glass painting. “I’d be interested to know how the process works – I’d somehow never thought of these pieces having to go into a kiln.” Well just for you BH it’s the glass painting special!

The glass paint comes in powder. You can get various colours and things like a super expensive amber stain but I’m just using what is called ‘tracing black’.
The other colours are not too nice sometimes a bit fake looking.
The idea of the paint is to just add shading and line to a coloured segment of glass. In a large stained glass window, this is how you give the look of things like folds in cloth, faces, and foliage.
It is to work with the original bit of glass that is selected for that particular bit, adding extra shape and movement to it with the paint.

For what I’m working on I put a small amount of the powdered paint onto my mixing plate (a round bit of glass that is very thick), add a wee skoosh of water, and grind it with a palette knife.
Adding more water till it’s about the consistency of Indian ink.

It takes some time to grind the paint down till it has become very smooth with no gritty bits.
When the paint dries on the glass it returns to being powder and can be dusted off the glass very easily. You can add vinegar to the paint when mixing to act as a slight adhesive.

Using my preferred brush I loosely and quickly paint my design. I have a long brush which is essentially the same as would be used in Chinese ink painting. The long tip and thick body lends itself perfectly to painting bamboo.
Then using a large badger brush I very lightly dust the wet paint. The idea is to give a matt look to the paint, I loose painted variations created by the long brush and get a unified matt look. The initial wet paint, the badger brush, and after a very light matt dusting.
This is only a sort of one-two movement. I don’t want to over disturb the paint too much.

Now once this is dry I use a wooden pointed stick to sharpen up the lines and shapes. As the paint is dry and dusty it’s very easy to scrape away, and as I didn’t add vinegar there is no resistance. Please excuse the change in photos, I took loads and am picking out the best ones to illustrate each process.

You have to be very careful not to brush a sleeve or finger over the paint as it comes away so easily. Once it’s cleaned up I can put it in the kiln. I can fit a fair number of bits in the kiln so I spend the day painting.

I do like giving a complete coat of paint over a whole bit of glass then giving it a matt brush and then stippling it with the badger brush.
In the next photo, I had previously fired a bamboo design, and this time put a stippled matt over a section of the glass.
Then when dried scraped out little flowery shapes around the bamboo. It gave it a nice look.
Once this is fired I paired it up with a bit of glass I had given a complete matt then brushed out parts to give the look of shafts of light.
I cut both bits down so I could line up the best matching areas.

It’s fun spending a whole day painting as it does take a wee while to tune into the process and get into it but each session reveals its own mood or the style of that particular day.

The bits are laid into the kiln. I program it to go up to 650 degrees and then come back down holding at 200 so its not too rapid a decent. You can experiment at various timings and temperatures. Holding it at 650 for 5 minutes or so gives the paint a more glossy finish.
The extra time may also alter the finished colouring of the glass. As I mentioned in my previous post last time my white glass was having an element of the white burnt out leaving a more pale white. I’m not getting this effect this time so I want to experiment with holding the temperature or going slightly higher.

The glass can take a few firings to add layers and various effects. But you do run the risk of it cracking each fire.
And that is essentially it. Once I’ve got a load fired it’s time to look at what I have got to work with & assemble some hangers.

It’s difficult to remember to explain things I take for granted. Hope that explains the process.

2 thoughts on “October 16th, 2011 – Glass Painting Special

    1. peterjgillies Post author

      Thanks BH, id love a t.v show that would be fun… release my inner Bob Ross.
      I have about 50gig of photos for time lapse video’s ready that ill get processed eventually once i have a computer that can handle the job! But a vid would be cool….its on the list 🙂

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