Saturday, January 10, 2015

Painting glass ornaments

A few years ago I purchased a set of clear glass ornaments during the after Christmas sales intending to 'do' something with them for the next year.  Well that never happened.  The box of ornaments was packed away and forgotten, until we did a whole attic clean up.

The box of glass ornaments resurfaced just as I was trying to decide what to bring as a gift to our Trout Unlimited chapter's Holiday gathering.  I had been thinking of doing a trout painting for the Chapter's spring auction, and so had already massed reference materials on my desk.  I had three colors of glass paint and a black glass marker to work with.  Maybe I could paint a trout on the glass.

Where to start?  I measured the circumference of the glass ornament.  Then I made three appropratily sized pencil drawings of Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout.  Now I had my reference sketches.

For some reason, I decided to try painting on the inside of the ornament instead of the outside.  This is known as reverse painting, painting from foreground to the background.  That didn't sound so hard.  I traced the drawings onto strips of tracing paper.  Then taped the paper to the outside of the ornament.  I used the red, blue and yellow paint to mix appropriate fish shades.  So far so good.  Now to paint.

Well here was a problem I hadn't thought about.  When you insert a brush into the ornament it can only paint the lower half.  I needed to make a special brush that could be adjusted to reach all the inside area.  I broke an old brush and used heavy wire to re-attach the two parts.  With the adjustable brush I now could paint the trout on the inside of the ornament.  I still had to be very careful when inserting and removing the brush to not touch the rest of the interior, and it was difficult to place colors without mixing them.  You can see the results of this first trial to the left.

The second ornament I painted on the outside of the glass.  This was so much easier and quicker.  I used the black glass marker to sketch the trouts image first.  After the black marker dried I painted the base color of the trout and built up the textures and colors. As a final touch I added a small fly inside the ornament.

You can compare the two in the image painted from the same reference sketches below.

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