May 2020 Stained Glass Design and Glasspainting Workshops

In response to student feedback I’m offering a series of three tightly structured 5-day workshops in May 2020. Two are for advanced students only and designed to take your stained glass practice to a new level.

Instruction includes Powerpoint presentations, technical demonstration, hands-on group exercises and individual projects. In these workshops I will teach practical skills and repeatable, step-by-step processes that are difficult to learn online or figure out on your own. For example, mixing glasspaint to optimum viscosity and drying speed for various tools and brushes; and gaining a clear understanding of the work-flow for designing or painting a stained glass window.

Here’s the history of my proprietary stained glass recipe, and here’s my beautifully responsive glasspainting mixture in action

Workshop location? Watch me glasspainting and assembling a stained glass window in my Vermont studio where these May 2020 workshops will be held  (11 min video).

About me? This recent podcast covers my career as a stained glass artist and includes the mathematics I’ve been working on in recent years. Many thanks to interviewer Shawn Waggonner, she really got me to open up!

Check out the drop-down menu items under GLASS to read workshop descriptions and more.






Figures & Models

Here’s a quick run-through of the process I use for the figures. First, a section of my cartoon for Trinity Episcopal with the little Chinese girl (actually, she’s 1/2 English) followed by a photo of the model and a snapshot of the glass she will be painted on.




Chirpy little Constanza, my model


Bare-naked glass on the easel
(Ignore the fuzzy horizontal band, it’s just the transom on the window behind the easel).


The separate stages

I do the drawing in 2 stages; a sumi-type calligraphic line drawing in black ink that I photocopy before shading with charcoal or graphite. I keep copies of my line drawings for all the figure, to be used later on for glasspainting, which is also carried out in stages. This slide shows the separate stages: the model, line drawing (we call this the ‘traceline’), cartoon and finished stained glass. Detail of 25ft window for Marble Church in Manhattan, the scene is the Anointing at Bethany.

woman copy

Woman at the Well, pondering

This pair of images shows just how much the glass is transformed by the glasspainting. On the left, the bare-naked glass was photographed on the light table, hence the flat no-textured rather boring look, but it’s easy to read the tone/value. On the right, the painted glass is waxed up against daylight for the last time before leading-up (assembling into lead cames/strips) so you can see white lines of daylight where the lead will go. The colours are much more accurate in this picture. Notice how the subtle shading in the glass contributes to the overall coherence of the painted picture, even without any lead and all those (Note for Margie -it’s my favourite Lamberts 1067 peach flashed glass.) Notice how the hand and face are all one piece of glass -if I’d added a lead between them I would have lost that pondering look


3 men in a boat

And just one more sequence (yet another slide from a teaching Powerpoint), again from a window for Marble Church. This shows a section of the cartoon, the just-selected bare-naked glass on the easel with blobs of Plasticene, and the completed stained glass.

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My new blog! selecting glass & cartooning for Trinity Episcopal

I’ve started this blog to answer questions about my work; to allow clients to watch the creation of their windows (welcome Trinity Episcopal); and to let everyone know that this beautiful medieval art form is still alive and kicking! Since I find it easier to respond than to write afresh, please ask away and we’ll see how it goes. It’s a blog experiment!

Today I have been selecting and cutting coloured glass for a figurative window for Trinity Episcopal Church in Branford, Connecticut. I choose the glass one piece at a time up against natural light, comparing it with all the others as I go. My easeling window faces north with trees and mountains beyond. I’m always grateful to complete the glasscutting stage during the winter against snow and bare trees, where the only colour distortions are from blue skies. Watch a slideshow of the glass selection for Trinity Episcopal in progress.


Some weeks back I presented the cartoon to the Church for Approval. The ink & charcoal cartoon is a full-scale black and white working drawing that provides me with all the information I need to make a window. Watch a slideshow of the cartooning for Trinity Episcopal in progress, including photos of models and some of the revisions.


If you’re wondering how visual information from the cartoon is prepared for glasscutting you can watch a slideshow of the cutlining for Trinity Episcopal, and my assistant, Sam Myers, inking in cutlines and marking up easel plates.

Here’s the design, presented to the Church last August.

Design copyright Debora Coombs 2013