REVERSE GLASS PAINTINGS                                             HINTERFLASMALEREI

Professional and folk artists have used the technique for hundreds of years creating works in all media and all subjects with results as diverse as the artists themselves.  It is often difficult for museums to decide where to catalog these works.Reverse glass painting was widely used for religious paintings in the Middle Ages, most famously in the icons of the Byzantine Empire. Later, painting on glass spread to Italy and became favored by the Church and the nobility throughout Central Europe. 

Reverse Glass Paintings share one characteristic: they are painted so that the viewer sees it through the glass instead of seeing the painting on the front of the glass.  The artist must plan the painting in great detail as the smallest finishing elements much actually be painted first.  The artist either draws or places the picture to be painted on one side of the glass and then begins painting on the other side of the glass. 

Details which are usually painted last are painted first, the background instead of being painted first, is painted last. 
Three ‘reverses’ take place during the painting process:  the paint is applied in reverse of the usual order, the glass is turned over when finished and usually, but not always, the painting is seen in reverse that is the right-hand side of the picture appears on the left-hand side through the glass. 
I became interested in Reverse Glass Painting a number of years ago when I participated in a program at Queens Community College in New York on Holocaust Literature for Children and Young Adults.  My comrade for the presentation was Dr. Marcia Posner, Librarian from the Holocaust Memorial and Education Center of Nassau County and when the day was over and we were driving back to the Center, she remarked that she had a lovely old painting of the sinking of the Titanic for me. 
I really didn’t want an old painting of the Titanic and indicated my feelings, but much to my surprise after unloading the books at the Center Library, I found the painting in the back of my car. 
I placed it on a shelf in my office at Palmer School of Library and Information Science on the CW Post Campus and after about a year I had occasion to look at it more closely and I realized it was painted on glass.  On closer examination, I recognized it was painted on one side of the glass and viewed from the other.  I was impressed. 
A few days later, I was browsing at a used book sale when I came upon a book titled, “Reverse Painting on Glass” a catalog of works of the Mildred Lee Ward Collection at the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.  I bought it. 
It wasn’t a ‘how to’, but a catalog, which included works from Roman times to the middle of the last century.  However, in the introduction, there were a few paragraphs on how it was done. 

I tried it on a small piece of glass.  Painting in reverse is tricky putting in the foreground first and then working backwards adding the sky last and all the time you can’t see what you are doing as you are painting over what is already on the glass.  Let’s just say it can be complicated.  Nonetheless, the results are interesting. 

My skill has evolved of the past few years and I have more than a dozen creations on glass, many on windows, others on a piece of glass, each having a different appearance.  Some are outlined to emulate a stained glass look, some traditionally on one side and others I have used both sides of the glass producing an in-depth look. 
Enjoy.Don Wilson 

                                      COLD SPRING HARBOR LIGHTHOUSE.  
                                         Original Reverse Glass Painting 21x24

                                          SHINNECOCK LIGHTHOUSE. 
                                                 Demolished in 1949.  
                                        Original Reverse Glass Painting 18x24

                                               PLUM ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE. 
                                           Original Reverse Glass Painting 21x24.

                                        EXECUTION ROCK LIGHTHOUSE.  
                                      Original Reverse Glass Painting. 18x24.

                                       MONTAUK POINT LIGHTHOUSE
                                        Original Reverse Glass Painting

                                         HORTON POINT LIGHTHOUSE. 
                                      Original Reverse Glass Painting.  21x24.

                                          ORIENT POINT LIGHTHOUSE
                                                    (The Coffee Pot) 
                                     Original Reverse Glass Painting 21x24.

                                      LITTLE GULL ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE. 
                                        Original Reverse Glass Painting12x24.

                                        SHEFFIELD ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE.  
                                      Original Reverse Glass Painting. 20x20

                                     LONG BEACH LIGHTHOUSE (The Bug)
                                    Original Reverse Glass  Painting.  21x24

                                            BREEZY SHORES IN WINTER.
                                         Original Reverse Glass Painting.  18x24

                                          QUINIPET GAZEBOO Shelter Island.  
                                     Original acrylic Reverse Glass Painting.  21x24.

                                                OLD SEAFORD BARGE. 
                                         17x17 Original acrylic. Reverse glass

                                                       ALDO’S COFFEE. 
                                             17x17 Original acrylic on glass

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