Glass-Painting (Transparent) For Windows, etc. The producing a transparent pattern on the semi-opaque surface of ground-glass is thus effected: Having determined on the kind of window which is to be made, and the size of its panes, we cut out in drawing-paper the shape of the pane or panes, and sketch the pattern on this paper with Indian-ink in clear distinct lines. The pattern should be something bold and artistic; a scroll; any variety of star, or style of diamond, or lattice-work; or groups of vine-leaves and grapes, or oak-leaves and acorns; or mottos, or initials in old English letters. It is by no means necessary that all the panes should be alike in pattern or in size, diversity in these points, if tastefully managed, being an improvement rather than an injury to the effect.
When the pattern is drawn, lay the pane of ground-glass on it, with the rough or ground side upwards, and with a fine camel-hair pencil, moistened in copal varnish, trace the outlines of the pattern on to the glass. This done, remove the pane of glass on to a sheet of pure white paper, which will enable the tracing to be seen, and then, with appropriate brushes, put in the shading and the clear parts, and perfect the pattern. Wherever it is intended that the glass shall be clear, there with copal varnish fill up the space, as every touch of the varnish clears the glass; the untouched portions, by retaining their whitish, semi-opaque appearance, serve as a back-ground, and throw up the pattern.
The varnish used should be obtained at an artists' colourman's, and should be as clear and devoid of colour as possible. The camel-hair pencils should be only moistened with it, for if loaded or saturated, they are apt to make blots, or jagged, uneven outlines and strokes; enough varnish to render the glass transparent, but no more than enough, is to be laid on, or the pattern will look rough and unequal, instead of smooth and even. A small phial of spirits of turpentine should always be standing by, in which the camel-hair pencils may be washed before they begin to dry, for if suffered to dry, or put away with any varnish in them, they harden, and become utterly useless. They must, therefore, be immediately well washed in spirits of turpentine, and then carefully wiped in a soft linen rag, or an old Bilk handkerchief.
When the pattern has been duly elaborated, in the manner described, the pane of glass must be set aside for eight or ten hours, in a warm dry place, where nothing is likely to touch it, and where dust cannot settle upon the sticky surface. After it has thus had time to become slowly and thoroughly dry, it must be immersed in clear cold spring water for five or ten minutes, and then be placed on edge to drain itself. If the varnish is good, the pattern will now be firmly set, and stand out in clear relief on the semi-opaque ground.
Exposure to moderate heat will turn the transparent parts of the glass from crystal-white to orange-brown ; but this is an operation requiring great care, as too great heat will often split the glass, or at least render it very brittle.
A pretty window may be easily and quickly prepared thus: - It may contain twelve square panes, and thirty-one long narrow ones; or six square panes and thirteen long narrow ones; or any number of each which will admit of each square pane being set in, or framed by, four of the narrow ones. The square panes are to contain a transparent pattern on the ground glass; the narrow ones are all to be of one colour, as rich blue, or carmine, or yellow, or violet. To render them thus we must use water-colours in cakes, as Prussian blue, carmine, gamboge, or, for the violet, Prussian blue and carmine. Having rubbed down the paint we intend to use on a China palette, with a full camel-hair brush, we lay the shade evenly and smoothly over the whole of the narrow pane, and, when the paint is dry, varnish it with the copal varnish, and then, having allowed the varnish the requisite number of hours to dry, immerse the pane in water, and again dry it, when it will be fit for use.
The cake water-colours are those used for this transparent painting. We need not add that the best will alone produce such effects as will confer pleasure. Those which are opaque must be avoided. The following, with the combinations they are capable of producing, will be found sufficient for most purposes : Prussian blue, ultra-marine, indigo, gamboge, yellow-lake, burnt-sienna, purple-lake, carmine, scarlet or crimson-lake ; Vandyke-brown, madder-brown, and ivory-black. The greens must be made by combining gamboge with one of the blues ; as almost all cake greens, except verdigris are opaque.
We lay the square of glass which is to be painted on the copy, with the ground side towards us, and the glassy one downwards; with a fine lead pencil we then trace the outlines on to the ground surface, and haying done so, remove the square on to a sheet of white paper, and proceed to work exactly as if we were about to paint a group of Bowers, or a landscape with water colours on card-board, working it up as artistically, and as carefully avoiding all that looks like daubing.
It is generally as well to let one shade dry before we add another to it, or work it up by deeper touches; for if the paint is washed out, or taken off by the touch, of the brush, a patchy appearance is given to the thing.
When the painting is completed and thoroughly dry, it is to be smoothly varnished all over with the copal varnish ; but this is a manipulation requiring great care, for if the outline be not perfectly kept, the transparency extends to the white parts of the glass, and mars the effect of what should be the ground-work of the picture. When the varnish is dry, the pane is to be immersed in water as before directed, and placed to dry.
In the design exhibited in page 196, the square panes have a transparent pattern on the white ground glass, and the narrow-side panes contain wreaths of convolvulus, painted and thrown up in transparency on the ground glass. All the black lines and marks in the cut are intended to represent the transparent or varnished parts of the pattern, while the white is the untouched ground glass.
In the following design, the square panes contain transparent groups of painting, while the narrow ones have a pattern in clear glass on the white ground; or the ovals and lozenges in the narrow panes may be made of some transparent colour, while the lines and dots are simply transparent.
All kinds of armorial bearings and heraldic devices may be given with great brilliancy and effect in this transparent glass-painting.
Scriptural subjects, either with the quaint, hard outlines and glowing tints which we see in some illuminated missals, or delicately worked up and finished off; groups of brightly-plumaged birds, or gorgeous butterflies, mottos, devices, shaded scrolls; in short, anything fancy and taste may dictate and combine, and skill work out, can be produced.
Brilliancy of effect must be aimed at, and at the same time a lightness and smoothness of colouring maintained.
The simplicity of this art, and its perfect adaptation for a drawing-room occupation, as well as its usefulness in beautifying an abode, and giving an air of elegance to what would else be merely common-place, renders it one that ought to become generally known.