Painting on Glass

For the longest time now I have wanted to incorporate drawings and writing into my pieces.  I have tried Glassline pens on my own without much success, and then decided that I needed help. 

So, last weekend I took a glass painting class at Weisser Glass Studio.  On Saturday we learned some theory about low-fire and high-fire enamels and which tools to use, mixed enamels, traced a design and matted another one.  On Sunday we only had a 4-hour class but we got to actually paint two pieces of glass that were later fused together. 

For that piece I decided to draw mountains and blue sky on the background, a field of daisies on the foreground and write a couple of lines of this poem across the sky:

May all your dreams bloom like daisies in the sun
May you always have stars in your eyes
May you not stop running on until your race is won
May you always have blue skies

In class I did just that.  On the first piece of glass that would become my background, I drew a landscape just like I would have if I was drawing on paper.  I covered the whole surface of the glass with paint.  I really did not take my time drawing the landscape, just made it quick because I knew that writing would take me a long time. 

On the bottom of the second piece of glass I drew daisies and grass leaving background transparent.  I wrote the first two sentences of my quote down using the same enamel paint and a very useful tool called a "magic writer". 

Unfortunately, I did not have my camera, but a fellow student took a picture over my shoulder while I was drawing.

When the paint dried the two pieces of glass were placed on top of each other and fired in the kiln.  And this is what came out.  SURPRISE

First of all, all the finer details of the painting have disappeared. On the background piece, from bottom up, there were a bright green stripe for grass, a darker green stripe for the forest with taller trees detailed, then mountains and then the sky. After firing, the forest blended into the grass and was completely gone. Note to self: do not bother to draw anything smaller than an inch on the background pieces.

Second, the background that I meant to be completely opaque now had a pretty spotty coverage.  All the brushstrokes I made became visible.  Who knew there would be bold spots - it all looked pretty smooth when I painted it and after it has dried.  Note to self: might want to use opaque glass for the background.

Third, there were bubbles.  It also looked like paint got pulled into them forming lines that looked like capillaries and definitely were not supposed to be there.  Note to self: use the matting technique if you need to cover a piece of glass completely.

Finally, my writing has pretty much disappeared.  The paint has faded so much after firing that you could barely see that the writing was there at all. 

So here on the left you can see what the finished piece looked like.  Since I promised to give "whatever you make, Mommy" to my daughter, I had to somehow make it look decent.  So I traced over my faded writing using a Pilot Gold pen.  At least the words were visible now, and though I was not proud of the drawing itself nothing could be done about that.  I took the picture on the right using my black granite counter to simulate the opaque background.  This is much closer to what I have intended this design to be…