It's a GoodThing on a long haul

It's a GoodThing on a long haul
It's a Good Thing on a Long Haul

Friday 30 January 2015

Bolsover WI Comes up Trumps with Glass Paints

If you are a woman, and live in Bolsover, and you haven't yet joined your local WI get your tapping finger out and either dial or email for a 2015 programme of events. Am I predjudiced? You bet.

I was there, saw how this bunch of all ages responded to my hasty instructions on how paint with glass paints on a variety of surfaces. We only had an hour to make beautiful art, but you can see for yourselves how well they did, mostly with no prior experience in this art.
With one hour in which to achieve the almost impossible, the ladies were off with their tubes of black, silver or gold outliner, either tracing or drawing their own designs, or using mine. Then, a quick blast with a hairdryer to make sure the outliner didn't run into the colours soon to fill these sections. There was a wide variety of artefacts to decorate: glassware, tiles, mirrors and picture frames, everyone had brought something to upgrade or transform, and there was surprisingly little squabbling over the paint pots. Ah the joys of adulthood!


I've duplicated the single tiles to show how easy it is to either make heatproof mats for your table, or decorate the tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. It doesn't matter at all if lines are shaky, the individual touch makes the tiles look like expensive Italian imports!

One single motif a whole wall makes! Just vary the size and tilt of the butterflies to give the impression of perspective.

This iris is painted on a flimsy plastic folder, but with a white sheet of paper behind it, it will make a charming picture on the wall. The artist was afraid of making her own outlines to fill in, but the fear was needless.

Using an ordinary picture frame, picked up for nuppence, just paint on the glass and back it with white paper.
You can trace your own design and it will look fabulous on your bathroom wall.
Yes, it is waterproof, (not dishwasher proof) You can tart up the frame too with glass paint if it needs a bit of extra gloss.

Mirror Mirror on the wall, spruce it up and have a ball!

Ready, Steady, Bake!

You can decorate a frame, a mirror tile or a hand mirror.Just remember to leave a space for your face if you still want to use it as a mirror.

The use of silver outliner on the square mirror above helps the viewer believe it is a professional job.
Butterflies are always an eye catcher in glass paint and you can be as creative as you like with the patterns. No one will care if you aren't following nature.

Birds, especially peacocks are a brilliant motif. All those gorgeous iridescent greens and blues....

Never underestimate the use of a good border or two. One border inside another one is the sign of a real planner, shows you knew what you were doing right from the start!

You can always add a second coat of colour if it looks too thin with just one, and overpaint with another colour for an interesting blend. But often thin colour makes for more light, so don't overdo it.

Glassware looks stunning with painted motifs when the light shines through. Bear in mind if upgrading your wine glasses, that the colour of the wine will change the colour of the design. You can always try it out whilst painting, to just make sure you've got it just right!

One design makes a whole room of butterflies! Just vary the size and direction of flutter.

Putting a frame round a tile makes it into a nice little picture for hanging on the wall or a teapot stand.

This orchid is a fresh and unusual approach with no outline at all. Part of its charm is the fact that it looks 'Primitive', but if the artist wasn't wanting that effect, she could always add another coat of paint.
There are no rules in glass painting. The black, silver or gold outliner usually used is just a leftover from the traditional method of making stained glass windows, using lead to join chunks of coloured glass. I have used glass paints to decorate a whole Chapel of Rest for St Luke's Hospice in Plymouth at a fraction of the cost of real stained glass. There are times when its good to cut corners and keep  precious money for other more important things.

And finally, we have a set of tiles made by a lady too shy to display her painting, but I hope you'll agree she makes a splendid set of table mats!

 This was an exciting workshop, a little on the short side, but it was truly inspiring what 60 minutes of WI power can do. If anyone wants to do a follow up, or learn from scratch, just contact me on

Monday 26 January 2015

Year of the Dragon

2014 Was the year of my dragons. No astrological connection, Painted with Chinese inks, and glinted up with gold leaf, the frames are handpainted to suit the pictures.

Lilacs at the Lilacs

Around the Millenium, Peelable Glass paints disappeared from the market. Not the Farmer's Market, nor the Saturday Market, from very single shop that used to sell them. They suddenly vanished. And back then the internet was only a speck in the distant ethers. With these versatile paints I had built a little business installing stained glass designs without having to remove windows  The St Luke's Hospice chapel in Plymouth commissioned a fourteen foot wall of glass painted wisteria. Stained glass would have cost them thousands. My designs were made at home on fifty sheets, and installed in a single day. Things were looking up. But now the paints were withdrawn, sadly, so were my services. Then,14 years later, peelable paints came back. So here I am picking up the sticky threads. Starting with glass panels beside a doorway in a house called The Lilacs.

The translucence of glass paints makes them one of my favourite mediums. Yes, it is easier to paint on horizontal glass, but people don't always have the money or inclination to remove their windows. And I'm happy to accomodate and adapt to the budget of those who want a bit of interest or colour in their homes or businesses.
Looking forward to 2015!


Speed Painting with the Bolsover WI

One hour to teach 40 glass painting novices how to paint! Sounds like the sort of TV challenge I can't resist.Where is your natural caution when you need it? In my defence I was running a temperature when asked to perform this feat - my normal reason not just impaired but on holiday, With no sense except the desire to sneeze, snooze and snuggle up, I cheerfully said, Yes I can do that! At this point happily assuming it would be a two hour slot. It seemed a bit churlish to withdraw the offer once the single allotted hour was mentioned. And there is no doubt it will be a bit of fun, and a also bit of a mad gallop, but the Bolsover Women are made of sterling stuff. We will succeed|
Should I invite the Guinness Book of Records with stopwatches?

My first befuddled thought was, We'll use peelable glass paints. Second thought, two days later with brain more or less re-assembled: Are you totally mad? It takes 24 hours to dry! So waterbased glass paints it is. Two hairdryers to fix the outliner, and then pretty much whacking in the colour before our time is up and we all turn into pumpkins.

If all goes to plan, the Famous Bolsover 40 will turn up bearing little picture frames, a water pot and some paper towel - possibly they might have constructed a little WI flag with this kit if they bring a paintbrush as well. Some may even have made their own design for that picture frame. Failing that, they'll have to make do with mine.
 I am fascinated to see if it can be done in 60 mins.
Of course it can! And the proof will be up here next week.
WI's Honour!