One of my current projects is a reverse painting on glass of a harbor scene.
This request came from a man in Florida who wanted a panel in a mirror, but had no original to copy. Since the mirror was possibly not period, and there was no restriction on the design, the decision was made to honor his wife's home town of Salem, Massachusetts. And since the style of the mirror is Federal, which is the period at which Salem was at its height, this seemed like a good match.
I had done something similar before, but there were difficulties finding images that were iconic enough to be read as "Salem" without presenting historic anachronisms.
The solution was to use a section of a painting in the Peabody Essex Museum showing Crowninshield's wharf. This reflects the influence of the China trade which brought wealth to Salem, and the influence of Asian decorative arts to the western hemisphere.
|Panorama of Crowinshield's Wharf at the Peabody Essex Museum|
|Detail of painting selected|
Due to our now famous "winter from hell", as well as assorted mishaps and other issues, our planned trips to the Peabody to view the painting in person kept falling through. The test panel I am preparing to work out the design will have some areas of ambiguity, as the on-line image was not of high enough resolution for me to see all the detail. I am planning that before the final panel is done, I will be able to photograph the original painting.
The first steps were to create a pattern, which, thanks to modern technology, was not difficult (as long as you remember to flip it, since you are painting in reverse!). I added a "Salem" sign to the side of the building, as it seemed the most graceful way of identifying the location.
|Color testing on scrap glass (as seen from back)|
Since this was a complete new creation, I needed to make at least one preliminary glass. This is not as refined as I want in a finished glass, but it is simply to work out the design, colors, and find out where the problems will arise. In fact, it may even be necessary to do another pass at a test panel before the final, but even if that is necessary, it will still be possible to work on that and the final panel simultaneously.
Even simple designs require drying times between some steps. In this case, there are more steps involved, and the logistics of what to paint in order to shorten the process can be frustrating.
|A front view as the work progresses|
|Completed test panel.|
As this progresses, I already have notes on what will change in next version. I'll probably need to do a second test panel before the final.
More to come later....