from the front

I learned the process of painting in egg tempera on glass from my friend, Romanian-born artist Cristina Marian, and it’s so much fun I’m going to try the technique with senior citizen artists. Instead of using glass, india ink, and egg tempera paint, I’m using plexiglass, Sharpie and acrylic paint for this project.

I gathered:

  • 8×10 sheets of plexiglass. (Optix acrylic sheets in .080″ thickness $3 Lowes.
  • A broad chisel-point black Sharpie. (I love this pen! Got them on sale, under $1 ea.)
  • A simplified drawing based on Van Gogh’s sunflowers (PDF).
  • Color laser prints of the drawing (flipped).
  • 9×12 (or larger) work boards (I used scrap cardboard)
  • Masking tape
  • Cheap 8×10 frames (with glass removed), found at garage sales, 25 cents ea.
  • Acrylic paint in primary colors (or yellow, orange, brown, green and blue).
  • Paint smocks, paper plates, water cups, brushes, and portable table easels (optional)

In preparation for my 1-2 hour workshop, I:

  • Printed the image flipped, so when seen from the front it’s not a mirror image. 1 for each participant.
  • Peeled the protective sheeting off both sides of the plexi.
  • Taped the 8×10 print-out, with the 8×10 Plexi on top, to a piece of cardboard. 1. Board on bottom; 2. Print-out, face-up; 3. Plexi on top, so you see the printout through the plexi. (I overlapped the tape on the glass by about 1/8″ to prevent sharp corner hazards.)
  • Pre-traced the black lines in the drawing onto the plexiglass with my chisel tip Sharpie. (Participants could do this, but it would take longer/might be difficult)
  • Removed glass from the 8×10 frames and set it aside for my own reuse.
  • The prep process took me about 6 minutes per piece, but I’m fast at tracing!
  • Created an example:

I made the sample as quickly as possible, and it took 10 or 15 minutes. I started with accents and greens, then did yellows and browns. Finally, I painted in the background, and ended with a second layer of yellow over the back of all the yellow, green and brown parts to fill in gaps. It looks messy from the back, but remember, whatever you paint first is what shows through the front of the glass. The last things you paint become background.

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Here’s a jpg of the image I used to trace from. After I did my sample I realized it would be easier to see what you had painted if the printed image had a texture.


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