Monday, 1 December 2014

A New Leaf

In the last two weeks of November we had extreme fog followed in a few days by washes of the brightest light. We didn't suffer the fog too much at our house but I had to go into Waterford and found myself in the thick of it. In the passenger seat I loved it and was relieved I wasn't driving. I love being the passenger when driving by night and the fog is the same. When the days cleared up I decided it was time to finally tackle the sliding door in our kitchen. I've chosen new curtains for that and the window around the corner from it and Martin has promised to paint the walls for me so I wanted the glass painting done first.  Over five years ago I used glass paints and put butterflies on the
two panes. We'd had a spate of head-on bird collisions with them and I couldn't take it anymore....the sound was nearly worse than seeing the poor, dazed birds. I had tried those peel-and-stick things but they'd just come right off the door that slides, the glass paints worked really well and the only reason it was time to update that work was because they had faded, they acted as a bird lighthouse right up until the end! I bought this set of glass paints around eight years ago, I think it cost €12.00, great value. It comes with contour pastes and a good choice of colours and pages of different templates. This is a basic kit but I highly recommend it. I think the brand name on it is Folia.

Glass paints can be used on mirrors, glass and hard plastic. I've only used them where I could place the template behind glass or plastic but there are tutorials online for using them on mirrors and other surfaces and adding coloured glass beads with fantastic results, I hope to give that a go someday.

I searched the internet for these leaves and printed out enough so I could place them all exactly where I wanted them before starting to paint. I cut the leaves out roughly and put them in the centre of A4 pages from the recycling, then used tape to attach them to the outside of the panes.

You might think I should have used more and had the leaves closer together, I actually prefer that idea myself, but I find it a bit awkward painting onto a window and I remember with the butterflies I smudged a few by not giving myself enough room. If that's a look you would prefer you could a.) be more careful than I am or b.) wait for one lot to be completely finished and dry and then add some more in between. I used a glass scraper to take off the old butterflies, Holly was very sad about this, she said one of them was called Butty and she loved him! Butty et al. fell to their deaths and I cleaned the glass.

Contour paste first, I chose gold. It takes a few hours to dry and I know from experience that because I was painting on windows (as opposed to on something that you can place in position so the paint can stay flat and level until dry) that the contour paste wouldn't hold all the paint in when it came to do it. Later, I painted in the leaves and left them overnight. I didn't bother trying to catch the drips because I planned to use the glass scraper in the morning and sharpen the leaves up. The next day I ignored the drips and put another coat of paint on certain leaves. Later that night I scraped off the drips and put a fresh outline of contour paste on each leaf. During drying times when the glass paints
were out anyway I painted a couple of panes of glass in frames (a little tip if you are a user of those wipe-clean tablecloths....I cut mine to the exact size of the tabletop because I think it looks nicer and cut out some pictures from the excess to hang in frames, it matches and I'll be able to do the same thing when I replace the tablecloth). I also painted a few jars...Martin said he was half afraid to walk into the kitchen wearing his glasses in case they got blinged! The sun flashed through the kitchen as I was working on the leaves and we got a preview of how beautiful the leaves would look as they fell in shadows on the walls, this was one of our favourite things with the butterflies. Holly was very happy with the effect as she walked around the kitchen looking for leftover bits of Butty when there was a flapping sound from behind the jars and there was a small tortoiseshell butterfly, large as life! If you could have seen her smile, she was delighted.

I presume the poor thing was hibernating and got confused by the mild weather, his timing was perfect anyway!

                     Left: Door closed                                                                             Right: Door open so the two panes overlap

I am so happy with the end result, especially when the door is open and the two panes overlap, which is making me consider painting another lot in between what's there already. After that it was time to sit back and admire with candles and sweets for all the hard work!


  1. Joanna! That's just STUNNING! And the story of Butty, crikey, that sounds like what would happen in our house :) ( and Butty!! What a name!!!!)

    1. Thanks Emily. Butty rose from the dead (and no doubt actually died when I left him out the window without thinking but don't tell Holly!)

  2. Really lovely (I especially like the shadows on the wall) x

    1. Thank you, I love it! We really enjoyed the shadows today with all the sun.