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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > February 19 > Transparency, refraction and reflections

Transparency, refraction and reflections

Painting glass and anything transparent doesn’t need to be as intimidating as it may first appear – Maddine Insalaco demonstrates her layered approach in oils
Harmony in Pink and Green, oil on canvas, 48× 72in (122× 183cm)

My technique for painting glass involves layers of wet on dry paint to make convincing forms emerge from a base of flat abstract shapes. I use a traditional mix of linseed oil and rectified turpentine which means the layers are slow to dry, so I typically set up a complex still life with multiple objects and light sources from which I can compose a number of paintings. This way I always have a dry surface to work on.

There are three characteristics of glass to consider when painting: transparency, refraction, and reflection. All these characteristics affect how we see glass, and each can be viewed in terms of a spatial expression.

Space and perception

I look carefully at my arrangement of objects and analyse the space they occupy. I extend this analysis to individual transparent objects, making it a point to distinguish the far side from the contents, then to the near side and to the location of the various reflections. Understanding this is fundamental because the layers of paint will be applied in this order, like a traditional landscape in oil.

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About The Artist

Enjoy developing your skills and techniques with The Artist. Written by artists and top tutors, for experienced amateur painters and aspiring professional artists, this month's issue offers stage-by-stage demonstrations, illustrated tips and techniques for drawing and painting in watercolour, pastels, acrylic, mixed media, oils and gouache. Learn new techniques for painting winter landscapes, characterful portraits, still lifes, spring flowers and animals. There's also an article encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone to paint unfamiliar subjects and an interview with Professor Christopher Orr MBE, RA revealing his approach to his unusual subject matter and working methods. Plus our marketing expert advises on how to use apps to facilitate your social media posts to help get your work noticed. And when you've completed your best work, why not enter it into our 2019 Open competition for the chance to see your work exhibited, published and win one of over 40 fantastic prizes! Full details are on pages 12 to 13 . Enjoy!