It has been a while since I posted any photos of the summerhouse progress, but we have been getting on with it recently. These are some photos of the 'glass' painting on the perspex panels for the gothic window, taken over several days' progress. I wanted to do something simple, with reference to kimono motifs, and chose cherry blossoms and maple leaves. This will also echo the cherry tree and the maples we will plant nearby. I printed out two different sizes of the cherry blossom and maple leaf templates I've used for a lot of my sashiko pieces and used those for my working drawings.
I bought the glass paints a while ago. Previously I have always used Vitrail glass paints but this time I could only get Marabu glass paints. I bought them in Hobbycraft and I couldn't get any thinners for them. No problem, as I was sure they would also work with meths, like the Vitrail paints used to... The instructions always tell you to put the outliner on first and then fill in between with glass paint, but I find it works better the other way round, otherwise glass paint always ends up on the outliner. In the end, I didn't use it anyway.
While I got on with preparing the pattern, Glyn has been putting the final coat of paint on the metal glazing bars. The single sheets of perspex don't need these supports of course, but removing them would have been a bit pointless and they are probably contributing to the window frame's rigidity. There's more about the history of the window frame in this earlier blog post.
Removing the protective plastic sheets from the perspex. The window pattern is taped to the back of each panel.
I started by splotching white opaque glass paint across the cherry blossom area and spattering it with meths to make a lacy effect. That worked fine. I used an old hog hair 'round' artists paint brush because I didn't want to ruin good brushes, but it didn't hold much paint.
Painting the green for the leaves. I used an old Japanese calligraphy brush for this - it held much more paint than the hog hair. I was starting to suspect that meths wasn't the right solvent. When I came to clean the brushes later, I found it it wasn't. I'm still trying to find the right one. A repeat trip to Hobbycraft was a bit pointless, as they hadn't got it in. The guy who demos the glass and ceramic painting couldn't find out online what the solvent was either (I had tried that earlier). I did try a trip to Letham Crafts, but forgot which days they were closed and turned up on the wrong day! Still hoping I can salvage the brushes. I am going to try acetone and Hammerite thinners (Xylol/Xylene).
I added touches of pink (diluted burgundy) to the centres of the cherry blossoms.
The gold relief outliner was supposed to be outlining all the leaves and blossoms. I have never found this stuff easy to use but I managed OK when I did individual panels on an internal glass door for my first house. I hadn't bargained with the difficulty of keeping the outliner flowing easily from such a small tube and over such a large area. It was impossible. Before it had dried rock solid, I removed all the outliner. The glass paint was thoroughly dried by this stage, so it wasn't affected.
Glyn suggested trying out metallic marker pens, as he uses them for the narrow metallic lining on bike frame restoration jobs. Turned out these were perfect. Yes, by this stage, a glass of wine helped and an espresso coffee.
Much, much easier to get the effect I wanted, and the lines are very opaque too. I had also added a bit more paint to the centres of each flower, using Marabu's glass paint pens.
The top panel going in.
The pattern off the back. I took photos of each pattern, but I haven't kept them.
Unfortunately, the two gold pens ran out before I'd finished the top section. I had planned to use silver and gold for the leaves at the bottom, but in the end used silver for all of them.
The green glass paint had a lot of air bubbles for some reason but it gave the leaves a nice texture.
The big reveal...
It was getting a bit urgent to finish off the window properly and get putty around the panels. It will take months to dry out before we can paint it but it will seal the windows to the frame properly and prevent and water damage due to bad weather.
The right hand side is still in temporarily until I can get another gold pen for the outlining. But at least most of it is done.