Painting with glass and light

20140511-205139.jpgI was hoping to get back to my pewter casting, but the pewter in my dad’s shed has been put in that most magical of places, “somewhere safe”, and will take a lot more time and effort to track than I had before young people in my house needed to get to bed to sleep.  I came home a bit at a loss to know what to do with myself.  I had picked up some glass paint to replace the set that had turned to putty before Court of Love, so I gave that a bit of an outing, along with the one of the little glass lantern blanks I picked up.    I was just trying to get a feel for the paint before I go for something more in the stained glass panel style.   It’s definitely going to take a bit of getting used to, it blobs unmercifully and getting a consistent line with an outliner is definitely beyond my skill level at the moment.  Obviously the paint is a totally modern thing, but if nothing else I can at least explore the sorts of shapes and patterns used at the time, and what sorts of design considerations had to be worked with.  It is a very, very different thing to working with unbroken images on paper.

I adore stained glass, though I largely prefer the botanical Art Noveau style than the religious themes of medieval art.   I was always a fan as a child – it’s hard not to be entranced by the rich glowing colours – but a visit to Barcelona ten years ago totally sold me after walking through a glade of colour shadows in La Sagrada Familia then following it  up in a  modern glass exhibition with fantastic shapes and swoops and swirls of colour and hundreds of primary bright glinting glass condoms hanging from the ceiling, swaying gently in the breeze.

Real stained glass of the medieval variety was coloured by adding metallic salts like copper oxide, cobalt and gold while manufacturing the glass itself.  The coloured glass then had to be assembled into patterns, designs or illustrations and were held together with strips of, usually, lead.   Details, shading etc were painted on during the manufacturing stages of a particular block of colour and it’s interesting looking at photos and seeing how tricky it must have been to ensure a consistency throughout the pieces of, for example, the body of a person, broken into strange polygonal blocks of different colours.  

The next thing I’m going to try is another lantern with a copy of this image from a 13th or 14th century window in Esslingen am Neckar in Germany  (I found this on, I’m going to do a bit more reserach on the image itself soon)

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