Painting on Upcycled Barn Window

Full Window


Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 7.08.51 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 7.09.13 PM Vows and Vienna Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 7.08.43 PM

I painted each panel of an old barn window to represent the places my friend lived with his fiancee before they married this July. The frame was displayed at their outdoor wedding in a gazebo, so it was important for the paints to remain translucent. I kept the black outlines opaque so it felt a little like stained glass grout.

Photo credit E. Baum and Monika Photography


Dust Collector

Oh yeah. This blog.

We are in phase two of this library window.  It has safely and successfully been removed from the library as it undergoes construction.  If I can clear enough space for two 5’x 4′ panes of glass, I will be able to finish the “stained glass” mural in the comforts of my own home.  Should I get rid of that treadmill I never use?  My bookshelves?  My mirrored armoire?  I HATE reorganizing my living space.

On a brighter note, it will be nice to paint on my own schedule.  I promise I’ll take pictures as it progresses.

Stage 3 will be to figure out what to do with the finished painting.  I’d like to get it framed around the edges and propped in front of some sort of light fixture.  Anyone ever do a glass installation type thing like that?


So I’ve stopped counting my hours spent on this project.  This wasn’t intentional, I just forgot.  The linework (my favorite part) is complete and now I’m adding color.  Ok, ok…so I just drew in 2 extra birds the other day, but the sky was looking a little sparse so I had to.  I won’t keep taking steps backwards, I swear!

I’m really pleased with the way the acrylic paints are thinning out with the Polymer Medium (Gloss) from Golden.  Most colors stay vibrant, yet translucent, so I probably will be able to pull off the stained glass effect that I was going for.  The yellow looks a little chalky, so I’ve cut it out of color scheme.

P.S. I’m done with this semester.  Just one summer class, then 2 classes in the fall, and then I’m a certified Master.

Painting birds in my bat cardigan

I finished the middle window pane today at 17 1/2 hours.  As a part timer, that’s my work week.  Tomorrow I’m going to channel my inner house cat and balance at the top of a ladder for a few hours.  I’ve got some hard to reach areas.

I’m still slacking on choosing a color palette, but I went to the Met last weekend and took some reference shots of their stained glass.  I’ll probably just steal those colors. Sadly, book pages are presumed to be white, and there’s no way to paint transparent white.  The best I can do is “frost” or “etch” the glass.  I don’t even know if that’s toxic, but then again how long have I been working with all those printmaking acids and solvents without a problem?  Not a lifetime, but a solid decade.

Maybe I’ve seen too many Disney Movies, or too many episodes of LOST, but I’m thinking of embedding some Easter Eggs in this.

“So you’re the one defacing library property”

I feel like my old self again.  I’m so incredibly happy to be drawing and painting again that I don’t even care if I’m rusty.   I’ve got some old tricks and technical skills that help out the quality of the image, but my linework is not where it used to be.   Well, neither is my 2k time…

8 hours on the glass total, and I hit my stride. The paint is best fresh out of the tube, so it’s best to pour only a drop at a time.   Once it dries I can’t reconstitute it with water and expect it to be opaque.  I get really thin elegant lines with an old retired Kolinksy watercolor brush (and  a wet napkin nearby for shaping the tip).  I sort of need a task master to slap my hand when I go back into old birds to paint minute details, but all my hard ass friends gave up being hard asses as their New Years Resolutions.

I’m having a lot of fun, and I’m enjoying the interruptions and comments. There were some good ones, like “Lookin’ good in the neighborhood!” really stands out in my mind.  Some library staff were worried that this has been up for a long time but they’ve never noticed it before.  Those are obviously the goody goodies who bypass the staff lounge in favor of working through their breaks.  :)

I hope onlookers are enjoying the progress/ process.  I’ll take photos tomorrow and post them promptly.

My Superbowl Sunday…

…was spent at the library!  Some colleagues didn’t recognize me in my typical streetwear at first, but apparently I still look like a librarian because patrons still asked for my assistance.   So despite some distractions I accomplished everything I wanted for today!  And to think I was kinda nervous!  Thank you Mom, for pulling some strings and sending me absolutely perfect weather.  I was, in fact, able to trace and paint with the windows open without getting too cold.  Big shout out to Chris for doing most of the high altitude stuff on the ladder and for holding it when I was perched on top.

I’m very happy with the Golden brand “Fluid Acrylic Series” Carbon Black paint.  It has excellent coverage on the glass, no beading, and only a little streaking.  I’m sure 2 coats will do the trick.  I’m tempted to mix it with some sort of transparent base or glaze to use it for the transparent part of the “stained glass” but I’ll have to experiment a bit first.  If not, Michaels has the glass paints I need, even though I hate that store.  Maybe I’ll drive the 1/2 hour to Riebe’s…

I’m so glad all the set up stuff is already done, and now I’m up to the good part: the actual painting.  I could probably paint contour lines all day (Steve knows what I’m talkin’ about), which unfortunately I can’t afford to do because I now have homework.  Buzzkill.

So here’s your sneak peak of what got on the glass today.  Pictures below include: my artillery of paint brushes, the sketch taped to the outside of the window ready to be traced with litho pencil, close up of the tracing, and then the first painted bird of the mural!

Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger image:

Take it to the glass

Ok- the sketch was approved!  I begin painting this Sunday, February 6th!  The library’s open from 1-5, so I’ve got 4 hours to lay down the ground work.  Whatever I’m able to accomplish is what’s going to be the first impression of this window mural, so I’m aware that the pressure is high now but it will subside.   As long as I don’t take FOR-EV-ER, it should be fine.

I’m concerned that the window won’t open, which would mean I can’t reach some parts.  Also, I’m concerned that the windows will have to stay open for me to be able to reach, which means I will actually freeze.  (I can’t even go to bed without turning on my electric blanket every night.  I call Bikram yoga “yoga” because I forget it’s hot.)  I hope I got all the measurements right, and that my design “fits”.   I have a couple other concerns, but it’s mostly just first day jitters.  Before I was a librarian trainee, before I was a grad student, I was a full time artist.  I’m not saying I was good enough to support myself on it (yet), but I am a pretty creative problem solver.  So pair my improv skills to my new ability to sing nursery rhymes in front of people, and witness a pretty sweet skill set.

Pack: masking tape/ stool/ warm wear/ camera/ sunglasses/ litho crayon or china marker/ extension cord and heat lamp/ graphite paper/ new podcasts