Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Acrylic Reverse Glass Painting

"Cottage" Acrylic Reverse Glass Painting (pardon my reflection)

I was asked about demonstrating reverse glass painting for a group of teachers as part of their "development days". I was cool to the idea, since the use of oil paint and solvents (not to mention glass) did not make this suitable for the elementary school classroom. Since traditional methods were out, It was suggested that I try it with acrylic paint on acrylic sheet, instead of glass. So, on this first snowy day of the season, I tried this.

The design is based on a typical cottage/river scene, found on many country mirrors. As this was a test, I didn't bother with my usual step of scanning and reversing the original to use as a pattern. I simply placed my acrylic sheet over the original and did the basic outlining with a liquid (rather than heavy body) acrylic, mixed with blending/retardant medium.

I followed the basic steps of reverse glass - outline, glazes for shadow areas, foreground, then sky.

Outlining basic design

Adding glazes to shadow areas

More glazing and color

The back side never looks too good

Some differences (aside from the thrill of completing a reverse glass panel over a couple hours instead of days!):

While you can achieve the transparency via the use of medium, it does not seem to flow onto the "glass" as smoothly when using oil/varnish on glass.

As is the case with my easel painting, the acrylic, even with the medium, still seems to get "gummy", making smooth blends and transitions more difficult.

My other difficulties were due to the use of whatever paints and brushes I had on hand - I wasn't using my traditional palette, and did not have many brushes that were as flexible as I would like. You definitely can't get good results with typical stiff painting brushes.

I suspect that some of these issues could be overcome with more experimentation, and for this test, I was not as painstaking as I normally am.
Finished glass with original

Still, this might be a good option for when you want to teach in an environment when solvent based materials are not allowed.