Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sunflowers, Tulips and Glass Painting

What a great couple of weeks I have had

I was fortunate to be able to learn some traditional Glass painting techniques.  I have always been interested in stained glass and went on a course a few years ago,  but realised then, that what we think of as stained glass now, is really and truthfully, coloured leaded glass, which is what I did the course on.  But what really interested me was the actual painting.  Although not a religious person, I have always inspired by church windows.  Look at this fabulous Lion for instance. He is in the church at Laycock, in Wiltshire.  I just am transfixed with him.

Of course there are modern glass paints but they to me, have always been very limiting and not that permanent.  Anyone who has ever used them will notice that they can show the brush marks very well so its hard to achieve a flawless filled in area, and they seem very garish,  also they can chip and flake off over time.

Traditional glass painting, only comes in a limited amount of colours and is added to coloured glass to get the effects.  The pigment is mixed with gum arabic and then painted on and fired at a high temperature to fix it, and lasts hundreds of years.  Stains like silver nitrate can also be used to get some bright oranges and yellows  but has to be handled with care as its very toxic.  All off the dyes which are a sort of ground up glass are also toxic as they are lead based, so this is something that should be handled with care,  so I really wanted to learn from an expert rather than trying on my own.

So here are the three pieces I did

For this piece  the glass was covered in pigments and then various techniques to take out the dye and add in darker bit were used.

This was a very traditional tracing and painting which was then flood filled for the dark areas

Again for this piece I covered the whole area with pigment and lifted out areas,  it is painted on a white textured glass for added effect and Silver nitrate was added to the back of the eyes for colour.

Last week was my birthday so the Wonderful Mr Wellydog,  took me up to London to see a show, Les Miserables, which was wonderful,  but he also took me to see the Van Gogh Sunflowers at The National Gallery 

OH WOW,  I was totally blown away.  I have never really been a massive fan of Van Gogh,  I have always admired the intensity of colour but preferred other work of the time.  But when I saw them for real, I was transfixed,  The texture and the technique was amazing,  you could see his brush strokes and see the intensity of passion it would have taken to produce them.  They were also so much bigger than I had expected.

We then went into a few more galleries covering a wide range of painting from the period of 1700 - 1900.  I saw some amazing work my particular favourites were;
Claude Monet 

The Grand Canal, Venice


George Seurat  

Bathers at Asnières


and to my surprise another Van Gogh 

A Wheatfield, with Cypresses


So having been inspired by Van Gogh I wanted to try a flower painting using thicker paint and more intense colour.  My sister bought me some lovely tulips for my birthday.  They are fading fast now and they are very interesting so I sat and sketched them yesterday and I hope today to start to paint them.  so wish me luck.

Janice x

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