A Truly Gorgeous Tracing Paint

Good advice:

The other day I caught myself ignoring the good advice which I always give to others.


Don’t take things on blind trust, but always check facts for yourself.

So I’d been told it was impossible to get a particular glass paint.

They called it tracing red: but does it still exist?

‘Impossible,’ they all said: impossible to get this truly gorgeous glass paint which I absolutely loved.

When I was doing my apprenticeship, I always mixed it with my tracing black. It was wonderful to work with. People called it ‘tracing red’ because the powder was as red as rose hip.

I loved this paint so much, I bought half-a-pound, which lasted me two years. But when it ran out, people I spoke to said you couldn’t get it any more: discontinued.

And I believed them.

Thank goodness for our readers’ questions

Then a few weeks ago, someone asked me a question about how firm and dense a traced line should be.

Of course I said, it all depends.

It all depends on factors like:

  1. Who’s looking and from what angle and distance;
  2. How strong or weak the light is;
  3. Also on the colour in the glass;
  4. As well as on the colour of the surrounding pieces.

Like I said: it all depends.

But the question reminded me of how much I used to enjoy my old long-lost mix of tracing black and red.

You see, my red mixed perfectly with black.

It also separated quickly, which was the perfect visual reminder to swirl and twirl and mix my paint up good and proper.

4 parts tracing black, 1 part tracing red

4 parts tracing black, 1 part tracing red: gorgeous

And maybe because I mixed it more than usual, my lines were always lovely. I could make them as light or as dark as ever I wanted them.

And I said to myself how very stupid it was that I hadn’t tried harder to find this gorgeous tracing red again.

If I so loved it, if it was such a joy to paint with, if the lines I painted with it were so firm and completely under my control, then why in heaven’s name did I give up so quickly?

How ridiculous to play the victim

Goodness me, it’s so easy to think like a victim and say, ‘Oh, how typical it’s been discontinued – we glass painters are an endangered species’.

Yet if you saw our order-book, you’d know what rubbish this is.

So why did I put up with paint I didn’t like so much?

I was too busy with other things, I suspect: it takes time to follow things up for oneself. Which, when I did, revealed to me the astonishing but wonderful truth.

The paint was still available.

But I won’t take all the blame:

Not ‘red’ but ‘brown’

This red paint I loved and love – someone went and called it ‘brown’.

Reusche code 1134: available from Reusche, or from PELI Glass.

It’s fine of course to mix your tracing black with umber brown or bistre brown.

But my greatest affection always remains for this so-called “tracing brown #1”.

All the best,

Stephen Byrne of Williams & Byrne the glass painters

P.S. Now I’m a happy-than-ever man again. But don’t anyone think this paint is a ‘silver bullet’: it’s more like an amazing car which you still need fantastic skill to drive. Here’s the link. We don’t stock it. We don’t take commission from the folks who do. It’s wonderful all the same.

Glass Painting Techniques & Secrets from an English Stained Glass Studio

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