If you follow this blog, you may think of the reverse glass painting technique in a purely decorative way. For centuries, however, Burmese artists employed a reverse glass painting technique to preserve their history.
Glass paintings were stored at a temple
Cultures often use art to preserve their history, and these Burmese glass paintings embody that. The Wat Chong Klang temple in Mae Hong Son, Thailand houses a collection of 185 such paintings that share the tales of various incarnations of Buddha. Burmese artists from Mandalay first brought the paintings to the temple in 1857. The temple displayed the artwork for nearly 150 years, until an earthquake damaged or destroyed many of the images.
Fortunately, an Austin-area artist who saw the images both before and after the earthquake stepped in to help. Judy Jensen, who is an experienced glass painting artist, volunteered to recreate the broken pieces. (Reverse glass painting must be redone – it can’t be repaired once the glass is broken.)
Jensen created a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds she needed to replace 16 images. That’s nearly 10 percent of the original collection! Jensen said that glass painting isn’t like standard painting. When creating a glass painted image, the artist first applies the details and shadows. Then the artist creates the foreground, and finally adds the background.
Jensen’s Kickstarter campaign caught on and she raised the funds she needed to complete the project. She has worked since 2012 to help replace the damaged panels.
Buddhist imagery plays an important role in the practice of Buddhism. Local artwork often depicts Buddha in one of his known incarnations. The temple paintings reflect the ongoing importance of religion in the Thai culture.
You don’t have to be an artist to incorporate glass painting into your home. You can create simple painted glass pieces, like backsplashes and table tops to create a unique look for your home. For more information about glass painting or to place an order for glass paint, please visit our website.
Photo Credit: Ronan Crowley, via Flickr