What is reverse glass.....

Conventionally a painting is constructed beginning with the background colors, main structures are then added, and finally the painting is completed with the finishing details. Reverse glass is exactly the opposite. With reverse glass you begin with the details, and finish with the background. Reverse glass art is created by applying paint to the back of a piece of glass. When the glass is turned over, the painting is viewed through the glass from the reverse side.

Reverse glass technique has been used almost as long as people have been making glass. It has a long history stretching back to ancient Roman times. Reverse glass painting became very popular, spreading as glass making skills spread. From the 15th to 19th centuries it was being produced throughout Europe, the near east, far east and the Americas. It was commonly used for portraits and icons, and for decorating household items. Since the 19th century reverse glass painting has all but vanished.

 When painting on glassware I use a modified reverse glass technique. All the artwork is done on the outside of the glassware with non-toxic paints. The colors of this heat-activated paint are permanent; dishwasher-safe and microwave safe. The paint is UV-resistant, so it will not fade. The artwork is constructed facing both the interior and exterior of the glass. The image facing the glass's interior uses reverse glass technique, while the image facing the exterior is created with the conventional method of foreground details painted on top of the background. The two images work together to create a piece of art that can be viewed and enjoyed from any angle and changes as the focal point alters.


A quick pictorial of how to paint wineglasses with reverse glass technique.....

The reverse image is painted first. Paint is applied to the outside of the glass, details first then background is painted over the details. Here’s the view from the inside of the glass.

Here’s the other side of the image facing the outside. Notice this is the background only. The details have not been added to this side of the design yet.

The reverse design is completed.

Details are painted on the background, forming a mirror image facing the opposite (outside) direction. Details on each side of the design cast shadows on the other side, adding depth to the image.