Introduction: Window Painting

For those of us who would like to be Michelangelo but do not quite have the technical prowess, window painting can be a fun project. Materials are pretty basic


window (or piece of clear acrylic)

acrylic paints, stain glass paints (if you want), pictures of art you want to reproduce, detail paint brushes, water, or paint thinner, rags, and some patience.

Step 1: Find Images to Paint

I decided to go for the best I could find, and chose this classic image from Michelangelo's Cistine chapel ceiling paintings. Thanks to the miracle of modern publishing, I have a beautiful print of my subject that is just the right size for my little window, which I had recycled a while back (I don't remember what from). I also decided to use a National Geographic photo of a Native American Lacota Sioux Shaman, to produce an original composition, using the separate images. Finally I incorporated lightning from another National Geographic article. It certainly seems to tell a different story now. I find this technique requires very little ability and even a hack like me can come up with something that looks cool.

Step 2: Trace Images Onto Glass.

I used black paint to trace my image. It was an oil based Pebeo product that was a little tricky to use and thus may have not been the best choice. One Shot sign painter's paint would probably have flowed a lot better, but even so, the crudeness of my line would have little effect on final outcome, and it might even add a bit of impressionistic texture or something like that. Easy as pie to trace the master's work.

Step 3: Add Background Colors

I added some thinned out light brown first on the flesh areas, followed by light touches of additional shading, a few strokes of orange and a wash of gold. The hair and lower demon were done with darker brown, and I used white for lightning, the shaman mask, and the Indian skirt area. A dream bubble area around the shaman was lightly painted with pearlescent glass paint, as well as the lower part, which I later filled out with solid blue, as well as the upper part.

Step 4: Let Dry and Turn It Around.

The final image is of course a reverse of the original, but I think this helps make it seem more like an original itself, and is well recognizable, if lacking a bit in detail. I did this all in a matter of a few hours, and could certainly have gotten more detailed if I'd wanted to. I now can use it on another project, perhaps as a window, or just mount it on the wall. I'm thinking of making another one with an identical piece of glass I have and use it for a cabinet project. I have to admit it probably needs a few touch ups and I may change the lower background texture someday, but it otherwise came out really nice for a quick project, and was fun to do.

You may notice a slight difference between the last two pictures. This is to demonstrate how easy it is to fix any little errors you may encounter at the end. I just scratch off the paint, repaint, and voila!: anomaly gone (I probably have a few more to do still). Enjoy.