Painting people; first matte on flesh

Here’s who I spent my day with today, and what I’ve been doing  – removing mattes (applied yesterday) to all the faces, hands, knees and bumps-a-daisy, from baby to grandfather.

Matting is the application of a thin layer of glasspaint with a flat squirrel hair brush that is immediately ‘badgered’ into a smooth, even coat. The glasspainters most expensive brush, a ‘badger blender‘ is hand-made from perfectly set badger hair.

Here’s a sequence showing how I gradually ‘take back’ the matte (remove the smooth unfired layer of glasspaint, tiny areas at a time) to create the modeling.

It takes great care to remove precisely what I want and achieve an even texture. The first layer of matte always looks a little clutzy and imperfect because it’s the most challenging to work with. When it’s fired on to the glass it creates a ‘toothed’ (slightly rough) texture that subsequent layers cling to. This makes it easier to achieve smoother, more precise effects.

Here’s my little north African boy. I love him!

And finally here’s Constanza again in all her (first matted) glory!

Learn to paint figures in stained glass with Debors Coombs

Little Constanza, first matte applied and (almost) ready to fire

4 thoughts on “Painting people; first matte on flesh

  1. Hello Debora,

    I hope all are Well, like always I enjoy reading your posts. The information you mentioned about the Badger Brush are very important and useful, and yes this brush is expensive.

    The images you present in this post showing the sequence of Matting is very profissional and helped a lot to present your pointviews about using the brush.


  2. This is very fascinating. This matting is a technique I am unfamiliar with. What kind of glass paint are you using with transparency? Is it an enamel? How many firings might you do on each piece?

    • Hey Karen, there’s nothing unusual about my matting technique, it’s the standard method you can find in any book on traditional glasspainting. I’m simply applying a very thin layer of standard glasspaint (Reusche Umber E403) to add warmth to the skin tones, and yes, you guessed, I will paint several layers, at least 4 on the flesh areas. I have a Hoaf Speedburn propane kiln, so firings are inexpensive and very fast. I’ve used these kilns for almost 30 years now (in the UK and USA) and my techniques have developed accordingly.

  3. Pingback: Another milestone… | Inside the stained glass studio

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