Hello – and I’m glad you want the extra homework. That’s the way to go.
Yes, we were talking about glass paint.
I said for you to mix a lump (not a teaspoonful), like this:
Well, mostly (not always – when you really do only need a line or two in a particular colour, of course just mix a small amount.)
But that’s not what I’m talking to you about here. What I’m talking about is your standard mix of glass paint: the glass paint you’ll use most days to do your own work. That’s when you need a lump.
Now why do you think a lump will work better than a teaspoonful?
Here’s what I know …
A lump dries out more slowly than a teaspoonful – something to do with the ratio between surface area and volume if you’re wondering. This is important. Once glass paint dries, you’re back to dealing with dust again. And, when you re-mix it, dust flies around, which is bad for your lungs, a waste of money and bad for the atmosphere. So anything you can do to keep it moist and workable for longer – is a good thing. That’s one reason I say to mix a lump and not a teaspoonful: it dries out far more slowly, and it only needs a little on-going maintenance to keep it in good shape.
Does that make sense?
Now let’s imagine you’ve got this lump of glass paint sitting up one end of your palette.
Thinking ahead …
Now I know this is jumping ahead, but this is how you’ll see my point. OK, so, as it is, your lump is far too thick to paint with.
Just so – it’s not for painting with … this is your “concentrate”.
So what do you do next?
The answer is, you make whatever kind of paint you need.
But I thought we’d already ‘made’ the paint … ?”
No, you’ve just prepared the concentrate.
So what you do now is, you cut off a slice (or two, or several), pull it somewhere else on the palette where you can work with it, and grind and dilute it to whatever consistency you need.
What do you mean by ‘whatever consistency I need’?”
You must get used to this: glass paint is unlike any other medium you’ll work with.
It’s up to you how wet or dry it is. It’s up to you how light or dark it is. You decide. You make it as you want it. I accept this is sometimes difficult to decide. I also say: it’s what makes glass painting so interesting for you the painter – nothing is ready-made. You’re in charge here. Only you.
Now the books tell you to mix a teaspoonful because they want you to trace your outlines, then fire the glass.
But I don’t want that for you. I want something far more. Like I said, I want you to know how to do all your tracing and shading, front and back, with water and with oil … in just one firing.
And yes indeed, the teacher at art college tells his students to mix a teaspoonful because there are 12 of them in a class, and they only have 8 ounces a year to share between them.
But you and I are working together, one-to-one, and I want you to learn the techniques which really work. I don’t give a fig-leaf about techniques which colleges are forced to teach because of annual budgets. (Actually, I’m sorry for them; but if it were me, I’d figure out a way of getting more paint. I’d do anything rather than betray my students.)
So that’s why I say: mix a lump, then dilute it a little at a time to whatever consistency you need … thick, thin, light, dark, dry, runny … You’re in charge here. Only you. (Lots more on this – another time.)
And for now, in closing, let me say this.
Get the right brand of glass paint
Not all makes or brands of glass paint are good to make a lump with. Some of them just don’t hold their shape. So straight away let me tell you what I mostly use.
And remember I don’t get commission from anywhere or anyone. I just tell you what works for me.
My all-purpose mix is 3 parts Reusche tracing black (DE401) and 1 part Reusche umber brown (DE402).
This is my “work-horse” lump.
And if Reusche offered me a free holiday in return for my endorsement, I’d carry on using them – I’d have to: they’re the best … but I’d just stop mentioning their name to you.
(And no: I would not accept the free holiday.)
When you want to know more about how to mix, test, store and revive a perfect lump of glass paint, please see here.