Glass Painting

Glass Painting has been a folk art tradition in the countries of Europe and North America from the 15th to the 18th century and was regarded as a fine art in northern Europe, where they have been more recently revived. Traditionally stained glass painting referred to painting which is on the surface of a sheet of the glass to be included in a stained glass work. As 19th century progressed there was a huge revival of interest in the Gothic arts and the majority of designers reverted to the medieval techniques of producing mosaic stained glass, leading off separate colors. Different glass paintings which have good techniques and effects were employed within these various design styles and were generally reliant on the media with which the paint was mixed. There have been several innovations since then particularly in techniques of glass painting, which have both enriched and added to the variety and designs of stained glass that can be appreciated today.

Glass paintings are very much popular artefacts that art lovers and many others like to collect. It makes use of vibrant synthetic colors on the glass as a base. The overall appearance of glass and semi-transparent paints together provide a very ethnic look.

Glass painting is a special kind of drawing painted on the inside surface of the transparent glass and is being executed with oil and hard resin or with water color and gum on glass sheets. A very different form of glass painting is the reverse glass painting wherein, engravings are laid down on the back of the glass, and painted from the reverse. This kind of painting, which is actually closer to drawing than painting, was done to add details such as faces and folds of clothing that couldn’t be added with traditional lead lines. Glass painting was also used to cover up portions of stained glass works so that light was kept from shining through.

The effect is one of stunning clarity and rich color which usually ideally serving as a connoisseur’s delight. Glass painting usually allows an expressive mix of form and dimension to be added to the glass. Painters today are coming up with many fused elements in their paintings and offer contemporary glass painting designs on a variety of topics. The decoration is done with a blend of sparkling light and the beauty of a glass painting is par excellence.
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Glass Paintings are drawn on a sheet of glass. Glass painting is similar to the actual drawing. To make glass oil paintings, the frequently used traditional glass paints are vinegar trace paint, silver paint, oil based stained glass paints. These paints come in various colors and are unaffected by the atmospheric conditions. Besides glass painting, there is the reverse glass painting. It is an art of applying paint on a piece of glass and viewing the image by turning the glass. The reverse glass painting is very creative and great to draw. All it needs are thin brushes and minute workmanship to make an exquisite piece of reverse glass painting.

At present, glass painting in India is done using a number of techniques. Earlier, after painting the glass artisans had to heat it in the kiln to get the transparency and dry the paint. In the present times, with several paint companies making fast drying acrylic glass paints in easily squeezable tubes and other containers, glass painting is reaching every home with people of all ages taking it up as a hobby. Here is a brief overview of the glass painting types, technique, its history in India and its place in the modern times.

Stained Glass Painting - This is an older form of glass painting. Europeans used to literally stain glass in metallic salts and then bring them together to form a picture and stick each glass piece with lead strips on another glass support. The most popular method for stained glass painting today is using paints that are made specially for giving the ancient stained glass look. This creates a more distinctive glass painting. Stained glass paintings are usually seen on window panes and table tops.

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Reverse Glass Painting
- This type features painting the glass on the back side. This technique is a comparatively newer form of glass painting and a rather economical and weather proof one. Glass paints usually attract dust that stick to the painting making it look old and unclean with time. By reverse glass painting, deposition of dust can be minimized. Also the look is more uniform. This technique is usually used for making glass wall hangings and clocks.
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The world famous Tanjore Glass Paintings are usually done in the reverse form. Reverse glass painting is a fascinating yet comparatively unknown facet of Indian art that flourished in the mid-19th Century.

Created by Chinese and Indian artists, these “exotic” paintings in luminous colors were much favored by royal patrons, and also by prosperous landowners and city merchants in colonial India. The themes ranged from portraits of rulers, their families, nobles, dancers and courtesans, to landscapes and a wide variety of religious subjects drawn from the Puranas and the Epics. Many of the portraits depict Western-style setting and offer a charming insight into the tastes and lifestyle of the Western-educated urban elite in the mid-19th and early 20th Century India. Over a 100 color images highlight the rare gems of reverse glass painting from numerous private collections in India.

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Modern art has also influenced glass painters around the world. For instance, abstract expressionism has heavily influenced modern glass painting. Throughout the world there are more innovations happening in the glass painting sphere. 3D glass painting is a new and upcoming form that is attracting artists and collectors alike.

Do you like the way light streams in through a stained glass window?
Imagine if you could recreate this wonder in your room! Thanks to glass paints, it’s now completely possible to do so. If you’re trying out glass paints for the first time, here are some tips to keep in mind:
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Make sure that the glass surface is washed and dried properly. There should be no trace of oil on it.
  • Water-based paints are ideal for beginners. Once you’re comfortable with glass painting, move on to solvent-based ones as they last longer.
  • Apply the liner generously, as it works as a border that prevents paints from mixing.
  • Use a brush to spread the paint. If the sections are too close, take regular and repeated breaks to give the paint time to dry. This will prevent seepage and smudging.
  • If you’re not satisfied with the color, reapply a coat but only after the first coat has dried.

Here are some easy designs to begin with:

Why not use your skills to glam-up some wine glasses or bottle?
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