Here’s the thing: I get a lot of questions asking about all the different ways there are of using glycol on your glass. So here’s a quick guide to show you 4 of them.
My test piece
OK, so like I’m always telling you to do, here’s my test piece showing all 4 methods. Have a look at it. And then I’ll talk you through them one-by-one:
Method #1 – glycol lines on bare glass
“Can I paint with glycol directly onto bare glass?”, people often ask me. Yes, I say, you certainly can: it’s lovely, and here’s the proof:
You’ll see how I’ve also tried a little blending just to see if it’s possible to move the lines. (Trick is to keep the paint nice and thick so the line holds together.)
Method #2 – glycol lines on a glycol undercoat
Another way is to lay down a glycol undercoat, then trace on top of that:
You can see how immediately the glycol undercoat starts to give you room to shade more subtly.
Note: whenever you use a glycol undercoat / wash, you must always remove the excess. If you don’t, your line or shadow will tend to bleed. To remove the excess, first blend gently, then swab the whole layer with a wad of absorbent lint-free kitchen paper, then blend again.
Method #3 – glycol lines on water-based undercoat
Next, you can trace with glycol directly on top of an ordinary undercoat made from glass paint and water:
See here how strong and convincing these glycol lines can be (though they are not so good for blending into shadows).
Method #4 – our usual approach
And now here’s the method we ourselves use most often. So first we do a undercoat made from glass paint and water. Then we do all our tracing and shading – again using glass paint made from water and gum Arabic of course. Next we apply a glycol wash (remembering to remove the excess). And finally we shade and trace on top of that:
While I haven’t blended very carefully here – the single piece of glass was getting rather full with all 4 tests by now … – you can see how, when you have a glycol wash (which itself sits on top of all your water-based glass painting), you can do some really lovely shadows (and also lines).
Anyway, this was just a quick test which I thought would interest you: lots of different avenues to explore here.
And if anyone thinks this is all very dark and monochrome so far, you’re right – but just look at this lion’s head that we’ll be painting with our students in Bryn Athyn.
This uses method #4 which like I said is our preferred approach because it gives such lovely, gentle shadows.
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