Figuring out how to paint glass seems to be one thing that stumps some artists. But it's actually exactly the same as anything else we try to paint. Look at the shapes of the darks and lights on the glass surface, and capture those shapes with the correct values and with accurate edges.

Most of learning to paint and draw is about seeing. Training our eyes to see what is REALLY there, rather than what we think is there, is vital to developing our creative process. Observing the actual shapes that are created by the different darks and lights, seeing the changes in the edges of those darks and lights --- seeing values, seeing edges --- that's what helps us know what to paint.

By far, the most influential element that we (mistakenly) think we must paint is color. A person may spend lots of time trying to find the perfect match for a color. However, color's main job is to develop the emotion of a painting. It also adds atmospheric perspective to a painting. Color alone seldom describes an object very well. The darks and lights or VALUE changes are what does the job of telling us what's going on in a painting, what it's about.

When painting glass, (or brass or any shiny item,) a broad range of colors will work as long as the lights and darks are created in the correct shapes with the correct edges. To give more emphasis to this, I've added some Photoshop enhanced pictures of the above painting.

The first pix has much less value change, with fewer darks and lights, resulting in a flatter painting, showing what happens when there's not enough value change from light to dark. While the jars still may look like canning jars, there is no impact when looking at the painting because the value changes are only strong between the metal handles and the glass. The other three 'paintings' now have crazy color combinations, to show that glass looks like glass if the values and edges are correct, whether the 'color' is correct of not. COLLECTED


Tracy Wandling said...

That's what I tell the ladies in my drawing class, all the time...I think they're starting to believe me! Beautiful painting...and the enhancements are a great way to illustrate your point. I'll have to remember that one...

Dawn said...

great painting and even better the photoshopped ones! a great way to dramatize the obvious, so why cant I paint like that. I swear I am looking!

Pablo Villicana Lara said...

Amen Sister! It's all about seeing! beautiful! I love glass paintings though I don't do many myself.
I also think your painting of the man with blue eyes if fantastic! such etherial light! What is your favorite subject?

Sandy Maudlin said...

Thanks for the comments. Seeing the value changes can sometimes be so hard for artists. Pablo, I like anything with great value changes and awesome textures. Both of those things always catch my eye no matter what the subject is. Your work includes both magnificiently, too. Love it!

Anonymous said...

You sure made your point with the pix of the glass jars. Amazing. I love seeing painted glass but haven't tried any yet.
And I love Colorado man. What a great idea to photgraph him. He would love this painting. Thanks for sharing, Sandy. You continue to teach even when we're not in class. I love it. ~Bonnie