Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lynn Leahy - Reverse Glass Painting

This is a good morning. I've just made a big pot of homemade vegetable soup and am writing this as the aromatic fragrance of the accompanying rosemary bread wafts from my oven. Unrelated news, perhaps...Can you tell I'm hungry? ;-) I'm also introspective...thinking...enjoying the day.

Glancing back through past entries here, I realized how much I'm enjoying writing about all of of these artists and their art. It really drives home the whole notion of connectedness...how we are all connected to one another on this earth, and how our lives touch and effect the lives of others. I have met many of these artists through being connected to one art organization or another or through friends and acquaintances, and my life is so much richer for having done so. In keeping with this whole notion of connectedness, when I wrote the entry about Laurie Mika the other day, I was fortunately introduced to the work of her good friend and partner-in-crime, Lynn Leahy. I chalk this up to one more stroke of good luck!

A lover of art since childhood, Lynn Is originally from my favorite city, Portland, Oregon. She was educated at Portland State University but now lives and works in the San Diego area making a fascinating type of art...reverse glass painting.

Lynn is the artist who will be conducting the Mixed Media Mosaics; Window to the World workshop with Laurie in Cortona, Italy in September. If you have the urge to experience the thrill of a lifetime, they still have some room left, so you can join them in this art making adventure in one of the most beautiful sites on earth.
Lynn Leahy

Lynn will be teaching a contemporary version of the same European reverse glass painting technique that as been around for more than three hundred years. This style of painting is found in traditional Romanian icons that originated in Transylvania and in a lot of Chinese vessels. It was a specialty of the Czechs.

“This is a difficult technique that requires painting on one side of the glass knowing it is going to be viewed from the other side,” she explained. “You are working backwards, foreground to background.” Lynn Leahy

To create the rich, vibrant colors and intensity that are displayed in her beautiful hand-painted pieces, Lynn employs a variety of tricks that include the use of acrylic paint, collage and rubber stamping. This method gives each work a dramatic presence that is difficult to describe. The work is particularly beautiful when displayed in a well-lit area because light transforms it into a rainbow of color and depth that is literally immeasurable in a photograph.

The process of reverse glass painting takes patience and a steady hand. It involves a lot of advanced decision making and the application of layer after layer of paint, but the end result is well worth the effort. (Lynn paints her vases not only backwards but upside down as well!) A single vase can take up to two weeks to complete.

The traditional method of reverse painting is known to be challenging. Heat methods are used that are unforgiving. For example, in painting a face, one must put the pupil of an eye on the glass before the iris, exactly the opposite of normal painting. If an error is made, there is no way to go back and paint between the glass and the paint already applied because the paint is literally baked onto the glass. However, Lynn teaches students a more accessible, user-friendly way to create these lovely works of art.

Lynn says

My technique involves the use of water based paints and sealers only. Firing or heat processes are not involved. Three dimensional vessels are painted in reverse on the inside. In contrast, two dimensional work is painted in reverse from the backside. Multiple layers of paint are used in my technique as each color added can affect the color underneath. This quality gives depth of color and character unique to this art form. Each piece of my reverse glass artwork is original and one of a kind.

Lynn's current work is in an exhibition at

Galaxy of Glass (showing now until August 26th, 2007)
102 South Main
Fallbrook, CA
info: 760-728-1414

For further information about Lynn and her beautiful work, please visit her web site her web site .


CALL FOR ART - (The deadline is rapidly approaching, folks!)

The May Day Show

NoneSuch Space is looking for original works inspired by or commenting on the traditions and meanings of May Day (May 1st), either in its modern celebration of Labor and the struggles of the working class and/or its historic celebration of the ancient Celtic and Saxon Sun god Beltane and later manifestations of goddesses and gods of hunting and agriculture. We are accepting works in all mediums, 2-D and 3-D, made by traditional and experimental styles; including painting and drawing, sculpture, photography, clay, jewelry, mixed media, video, and small installations. All interested artists 18 years and older and residents of the USA are encouraged to apply.
NoneSuch Space
2865 Broadway, Suite #2
Oakland, California

tel: 510-625-1600
fax: 510-625-1612


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