Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Artist Inside

Well, the wheel has finally turned full circle.  I thought that perhaps I had put painting "behind me" and had almost come to accept it.....but gradually the painter inside of me has taken over the glass work!!!

My latest piece was a struggle to achieve has been to and from the kiln now about six times.  At one point, one of the shadows on the ground looked remarkably like the shadow of a chap with his arms in the air.  I did not spot it in unfired glass;  it was blindingly obvious to me tho when it came out of the kiln.  See if you can spot him:

He is on the far right, on the ground in the snow.  Some wag on Facebook said, when I showed this image, that it looks like he is either deliriously happy, or running away from something, which amused me enormously!   Anyway, once seen, I could not possibly leave it as is, and back to the kiln it went, with a final correction.  This is the end result:

"Snow Sun and Shadows"

To create this piece, I had to employ a mix of painting skills and glass techniques.  I used, in some areas,  glass "enamels", which are similar to paint except that used on glass, they are nothing like working on paper or canvas.  Glass is a slippery surface, and the paints/'enamels are thick, like thin honey.  It is challenging to use them on glass, to say the least. Together with these paints, I used small pieces of glass called "frit", in various sizes...fine, medium and large.   I also used glass powders, which are very finely ground.    The problem with all of this is that when fired, those elements often do not behave as expected;  early layers of paint and frit can virtually disappear if they are too tentatively or thinly applied, and often need further building up again.  Colours change with the heat too.  A blue I used, called "Steel Blue", lived up to its name by turning steel grey in the kiln!   However, the end result CAN look like an impressionist image, which was my intention.  I know I could do better with pastels on paper, but given that this is all glass,  I am not too unhappy with it!  I feel it does have life, and colour, and that lovely atmosphere of sharp, almost eye-aching brightness on a crisp cold day when the sun illuminates a snowy scene, making it sparkle.

Of course you are seeing a tiny image here, the piece itself is about 15" high.  Here are some detail shots, which show how interesting- and painterly -  the surface actually looks:

It certainly seems that even if I want to reinvent myself, and have perfectly good and valid reasons for doing so, the artist inside will pop to the surface now and then, to remind me that painting, in any medium, is still a joy.

And the teacher still lives and breathes too, despite my apparent retirement.  I have recently written a third tutorial, called CAPTURING TREES.  It is aimed primarily  at the glass artist, because I recognised a gap in the market there - so many people who turn to glass making have had no formal art training, and they do often need help with what to look for when creating pictorial images in glass. However it does not contain fusing instruction or kiln schedules, so could in fact be used by any artist working in any medium, wanting to create more believable trees. Details are available on my website,, on the tutorials pages.

No comments:

Post a Comment

please feel free to leave me a message