“A Most Defective Book …”

Nine stained glass heads

A tale of techniques, crutches, card tricks, King David and – nine heads for you to copy

Yes, I do want to make you an offer – it’s a good one. But I also want to share an important insight. Here it is:

Techniques make good walking sticks but bad crutches.

Give me three minutes and I’ll explain …

And you’ll also find out how to get this useful guide to painting stained glass heads:

Stained glass heads - designs and techniques

Stained glass heads – designs and techniques

Card tricks and crutches

You see, my grandfather was a genius with playing cards like these:

Playing cards

And yes – this does all connect with an important lesson about glass painting

Now my grandfather was one of 10 children. All of his brothers and sisters were deaf and also dumb. My grandfather was the only one who could hear and speak.

Which means aged 9 he was sent out to earn the money. (This was 1916.)

By nights he was a “champagne boy” at Kettner’s. Back then, Kettner’s was a high-class London restaurant. He earned 3 pence for every champagne cork he returned to the wine-seller. No salary of course. Just commission: 3 pence for every cork. Right in the middle of the First World War …

Which means he also had a day job to support his family. A day job also.

As a card hustler – someone who earned money by doing card tricks.

Age 9.

He learned every card trick in the book. (His family didn’t starve.) And then he learned some more. Everything from “The Double Reverse Table Hit” and “All the Aces” to “Bert’s Deception” and “Always on Top”.

My grandfather’s “False Shuffle” was like nothing you’ve ever seen. And so, by his mid-teens, he never lost at Poker or chemin de fer.

But Sammy (always “Sammy”) also worked out twists and riffs of his own.

Maybe the childhood discipline of learning sign language helped him here. It certainly gave him fast and nimble fingers.

So even when you thought you knew the trick, he’d surprise you with something very different.

He’d always pull a rabbit from the hat (so to speak).

Do you start to see what I mean about walking sticks and crutches?

It’s all about techniques and how you use them …

Even when I myself was 9 or 19 – or 29, Sammy would still surprise me with another variation or surprise just when I least expected it.

King David

The big thing is, you use techniques to get you fit and walking, to help you out in an otherwise tricky situation, or as the basis for new adventures

King David says, "Is it my turn yet?"

“Is it my turn yet?”

But – and this is really important so please listen – you mustn’t become addicted to them.

You must never let them make you stale or predictable.

That’s what I mean: techniques make good walking sticks but bad crutches. You mustn’t come to depend on them.

Once you know a technique – once you’re good at it and you also understand why it works the way it does – then you can usually adapt it and find new uses.

That’s exactly why it’s so important you base your learning on techniques – because, after the time-consuming formality of learning them, techniques release your creativity.

Take “softened lines”, as with our 12-inch re-working of good King David (cartoon on the side, painted glass below).

See here the soft and pleasing shadows:

"I pray you, admire my fine tunic, robe - and tights ..."

“I pray you, admire my fine tunic, robe – and most manly tights …”

The standard steps are:

  1. Undercoat
  2. Trace
  3. Strengthen
  4. Then overcoat, blend, and reinstate

Simple (when you know how) and effective. And yes it’s all explained in Part 1 of Glass Painting Techniques & Secrets from an English Stained Glass Studio. But that is not my point …

My point is – assuming that you know the standard steps, what comes next?

That’s the question …

What more can you do with the same ideas and principles?

As with Sammy’s tricks, what twists and riffs and variations on softened lines can you imagine?

Remember, we’re talking walking sticks, not crutches.

Walking sticks (again) and now at last the nine heads

Yes, what comes next?

With that problem in mind, there were two big tasks we set ourselves for you:

  1. How could we guide you towards new paths?
  2. How could we provide you with the good, new images which many of you ask us for?

In a nutshell: techniques plus inspiration.

After a lot of thought and talk, David and I struck on the idea of a “quick-hit”, straight-to-the-point download called Designs & Observations.

Every few months, there’ll be a different theme – a theme like roundels, beasts, decorative borders, lions, flowers, hands and so forth.

We’ll prepare you a set of beautiful designs around that theme.

We’ll test them rigorously so you can be sure they work well on glass.

That’s so important. It’s rarely possible to copy images straight from books. You need images that are meant for glass – images which are meant to be seen against transmitted (not reflected) light.

Plus we’ll show you new ways of painting them – ways we haven’t had the opportunity to demonstrate before.

60-day risk-free money-back guarantee

Stained glass heads - designs and techniques

Stained glass heads – designs and techniques

The launch issue’s theme is – stained glass heads.

To be specific: the 19th century (“Victorian”/Gothic Revival) interpretation of medieval heads.

We take all the risk. That’s because you have 60 days to decide. 60 days to change your mind. Anytime within 60 days, you can get a full refund and keep the guide with my compliments.

Just $9.97 – and you get it all immediately …

Here’s what you get with Part 1 of Designs & Observations:

  • Nine full-size designs – these are a great way to inspire and improve your glass painting
  • Each image is about the size of your hand – so very “do-able” in an hour’s work
  • Step-by-step photos of one approach to painting them – all of the photos are very useful to any student because you see exactly how each stage should look
  • Our observations on the wider issues – this will expand your understanding of the craft

Your skill-expanding observations are this time concerned with gum Arabic on the one hand and softened lines on the other.

Now if you’ll forgive me, I’ll get on with some painting of my own because I’ve a whole lot of new variations I’m keen to try out for myself right this moment while David’s busy in the other studio and everything is peaceful here (no rock music – just the lovely cries of swallows and rooks).

Thus, in as quiet, low-key way as possible, I’ll bid you goodbye and say: you can get Part 1 today.

Bye for now!

Stephen Byrne

P.S. I chose “a most defective book” as this post’s title in honour of C.W. Whall, because that’s how he describes his own book on stained glass.

Actually, it’s a most wonderful book. Maybe it’s one of the best – because it doesn’t say too much. Christopher Whall saw clearly how dreadful things will always happen when a writer pretends his book says everything there is to say about its topic. Rather, the point is always to arouse fresh interest and learn new skills.

Hence this new series. It will show you new adventures. You will learn new skills. And you always have a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.

Start now. Download Part 1 right here.

Stained glass heads - designs and techniques

Stained glass heads – designs and techniques