Impressionist images provide an exciting challenge for a stained glass artist. The use of light and the manipulation of color in an Impressionist painting is inspiring, and also a little daunting. To capture the feeling of the original, just the right glasses must be chosen. Since this style of painting usually consists of soft layers of color the first challenge is to “firm up” the image and then, through the use of the glass colors, to soften the finished window which will have hard black leadlines throughout.
Once the completed cartoon for this window was reviewed and approved by our clients, two more tracings were made and the pieces were numbered so that work could begin. The first tracing on white paper becomes the “blueprint” drawing, while the second numbered tracing on frosted mylar is cut into individual pattern pieces which we use to lay out the window.
To create this image by Renoir, we used three layers of glass plated together on the panel. Some of the plating was done on the front surface while more was added to the reverse side of the panel. Plating multiple layers of glass is a challenging prospect because every time another layer is added, the color, density, and intensity of the glass shifts and changes. Much time is spent working on the light table looking at different combinations of layered glasses. The photo to the right shows one plating layer on the light table. This layer looks ghostly on its own, but will be used to tint and tone the other layers of glass in the window.
The photo to the left shows a detail of the window with several of the plating layers on top of one another on the light table, but not soldered together. The face of the woman will still have more color added, and without the lead lines, the background lacks the definition it will have in the final window.