Painted and Fired Glass
This is what STAINED GLASS is all about! All the windows in the medieval Cathedrals of Europe have been painted and fired and essentially the technique has not changed since that time. I delight in continuing an age-old tradition while exploring the boundaries of the medium. Glass paint is not really a paint at all but a suspension of finely ground glass with metal oxides and a fluxing agent. I use water as my medium (some studios use oil, a common practice in the 19th century) and gum Arabic as a binding agent. The gum enables the artist to work into the paint once it is dry by scratching and stippling to modulate the amount of light coming through.
Blue Winged Kookaburra
rondel approx. 20cm dia.
fanlight to entryway, Point House
Point House was built mid-1800's for a Lord Mayor of Sydney at Huntleys Point. The house was purchased and recently and lovingly restored by the Pirrecca family. They commissioned me to install a grand entrance of multiple-panelled stained glass. This fellow is in the arched panel of the door.
The paints used are mainly Reusche Bistre Brown, with Tracing Black on the beak and Umber Brown on the wings. The shading and background matt is an Ancient Brown while in the third firing a blue enamel has been added to the wings.
- rondel approx. 30cm dia.
- Highlight to bathroom, Epping
As the name implies, honey-eaters are nectar feeders and are shown here feeding on the red flowers of the native Thorny Mountain Devil. I've used a red enamel, fired separately at a lower temperature along with
the silver stain to highlight the flowers.
- fanlight to entryway
- roundel approx. 15cm dia.
An example of a form of 'reverse painting' where the image is revealed by painting in the background as a solid black. It's virtually impossible to achieve this intensity of black in one firing: I generally fire the first layer along with the line work and then paint it in again, along with the shading and fire that.
This is a recreation of a very traditional motif, common in Australian stained glass panels of the early 1900's.
Coat of Arms
- circa 2001
48cm x 35cm
- produced for a client of North Shore Stained Glass
This complex panel has been fired 4x times: firstly the trace, then the matt or shading followed by the blue enamel and finally the red enamel and amber silver stain.
Silver stain is actually the only element in the making of stained glass where the glass IS actually "stained". A compound of silver nitrate, flux, gum Arabic and clay, this substance stains glass a golden yellow or amber. There are about a dozen silver stains commercially available, each one with its own characteristic hue.
The only function of the clay is as a body to carry the silver nitrate, which is a clear solution in its pure form. After firing the clay is washed off the glass with water.
Traditional Reverse-painted Bird with Blossom
- roundel approx. 10cm dia.
I've lost count of how many of these little birdies I've painted over the years. They were very popular some 50 and more years ago. Each one is individual of course, being hand-painted, but all appear to be in the same style and most likely from the same studio.
On a visit to my Lane Cove studio Lance Feeney once paid me the highest compliment, saying he recognised the work, speaking of the historical connections and stating that the piece I had at the time was 'definitely by the same hand' (it was one I had painted as a copy).
- roundel approx. 20cm dia.
A more naturalistic approach, this little fellow is a common site in the suburban gardens of Sydney.
White-faced Honey-eater with decorative elements
- approx. 20cm x 20cm
Part of a commission for a private residence, a newly constructed house in the Federation style in Chatswood. The clients were keen to bring an authenticity to the house with the commissioning of original hand-painted stained glass. I designed every element of the panels.
- approx. 25cm x 15cm
Part of the same commission as the previous image. The leaves in this panel and the one below the bird were drawn from life.
- approx. 28cm x 20cm
Like the previous work, this painting used as a cartoon a sketch drawn directly from life. The sketch was on cartridge paper, which has enough body to be good for drawing while also thin enough to lay underneath the glass on a light-table and allow light through, so that you can trace the image onto the glass.
I've used a Reusche Ancient Brown for the petals and a thin wash of silver stain on the underside of the leaves
The Rattler, Carwoola
- circa 2002
- approx. 50cm dia.
Painted on 4mm float glass this roundel was installed as an oriole in the Western wall of Carwoola Anglican Church. The window commemorates the original settlers of the region who arrived from England on The Rattler and constructed the Church.
The glass only just fitted in my kiln; I actually had to purchase a special kiln shelf large enough to support it.
Open Coat of Arms
- circa 1990
- approx. 18cm x 13cm
Commissioned by a Sydney resident travelling to Europe, as a gift for
his family ancestors. Next to the painted glass I've shown the original
document provided by the client: a drawing of a wax seal.
Door for a Musician
- door panel 58cm x 67cm
This door panel was commissioned by Sunni and Kaiki Suzuki, the former owners of Jazushi Restaurant in Devonshire St Surry Hills, for the front entrance of their home. By the time the work was completed the owners had sold Jazushi and decided to relocate to the USA. They took the stained glass panels with them. Kaiki is a jazz musician, mainly a trumpeter.
The door was eventually installed into a new Jazushi restaurant which the couple opened in Jacksonville, Oregon to much acclaim. However the restaurant has since closed and I've lost touch with the clients.
Now is the Time
- fanlight 50cm x 87cm
For the fanlight Sunni and Kaiki had a special request: to include the first few bars of the song "Now's the time.." Painting musical notes in reverse, as the stave twists around on itself, was quiet a mental exercise
Native Bird Panel
- one of a pair of door panels, prvt residence, Cooma
This is the left hand door panel to the entryway in the Cooma house shown in Residential section of the Portfolio.
Snoek Family Crest
- approx. 50cm x 50cm, built to hang n a window
approx. 25cm x 40cm
Portrait of Oliver Cromwell
- circa 1998
- approx. 35cm dia.
This unusual commission came through Architectural Heritage at Glebe. Barry Brown the proprietor manged to acquire some amazing pieces at auction. This was a pair of doors celebrating George Washington and Oliver Cromwell. Unfortunately someone had stolen the roundel illustrating Cromwell, so it was up to me to research the subject make a fitting replacement.
The doors were later purchased by a client, a marriage celebrant, and installed into a private chapel in the Bellingen hinterland.
Living Room window
- 130cm x 130cm
Employing glass painting techniques, along with lead carving and varying thicknesses of lead in a domestic situation to achieve a loose, pictorial effect
Livingstone Family Crest
[for Lawrence Leadlights]
- 45cm dia.
Completed only in April this year this particular Coat of Arms was a challenging and very interesting project. Once the design was approved I carried out all the decorative work and supplied the glass finished, ready for the Lawrence Leadlight team at Wetherill Park to lead up and install.
Grant Coat of Arms
- 60cm x 75cm
Still with the Grant household in Lane Cove (they were such good clients) this lower section of a double-hung sash illustrates the Grant Coat of Arms and also the Clan Tartan.
My leading hand at the time, Ben Jenkins, came up with a brilliant idea of using adhesive and bonding actual tartan material onto the glass post-leading. This avoided what could have been some extremely complex and time-consuming enamel work which may not, in the end, have been successful.
The result is warm and textural and seems to sit so well in the study where the window is located.
NSW Coat of Arms
- approx. 90cm x 60cm
This elaborate and patriotic work sits in the rear door to Wingrove, a beautiful mansion in Hunters Hill.
The studio made quite a lot of stained glass for the house while it underwent substantial renovation; this particular piece was really the culmination of the love of all things "Australiana" during the Bicentennial celebrations.
The imagery is a rendition of the Coat of Arms of the colony of New South Wales, pre-Federation. It employs some acid-etching of flashed glasses as well as painting and silverstain.