The Tradition, Yesterday And Today
Glass Painting is a traditional process used since the Middle Ages to enable leadlighters to create
detail such as is encountered, for instance, in hands and faces.
Because the art got it start in the windows of churches and cathedral, in a time where the only available were
very vivid (cobal blue, copper red, silver yellow), and where the painted needed to be seen from a distance, it was mostly expressed through the usage
of coarse lines of tracing black. To this day, for better or for worse, stained glass painting is associated with
this rough representational style. Some artists try to keep the traditional aspects alive, with a contemporary touch;
others break completely free of the medieval-inspired aesthetic emphasizing a very personal interpretation of
Glass painters have the following techniques at their disposal, that they use in various proportions:
Matting with opaque pigments
Different paint media
Most paint powder contains lead. Use a mask to reduce exposure, the process does create fine airborne particles.
Do not eat around glass painting work areas.
Don't leave paper or kindling around the kiln.
Sometimes as you paint, you will notice that paint beads in some areas, and does not spread nicely on the glass surface.
Your glass needs to be impeccably clean before you work, and cleaning the glass is a 3-step process. You cannot
skip these steps, or substitute. I tried with scouring pads, ethanol, acetone, soap... and I'd still get areas
where the paint beads.
CLEANING YOUR GLASS:
Daub a slightly moist rag in whiting (calcium carbonate), and scrub, scrub, scrub.
Wash off with dishwashing liquid soap.
Finish off with ammonia-based window cleaner, such as Windex.
For the tutorial, we will paint a butterfly. The black and white image is to be used for the tracing black, matting,
and the colored image as a reference for enameling and silver stain. This butterfly can be completed in 4 firings.
If you are not satisfied with the results, do it again! There is no better way to learn than to
repeat the same art work until it looks the way you want it to turn out. To print the patterns, save the images
below and print, or print directly, by right-clicking on them.