Crafts & Hobbies Information

What Is A Reverse Painting?

Welcome to the world of Reverse Painting on Glass. Reverse painting on glass has been considered apopular 'art of the people' for many centuries. The use of glass as a support for this intricate painting technique has not hindered its continuing popularity.

A reverse painting is created by painting a subjectonto one side of a sheet of glass (or plexiglass) after which it is viewed from the other side of the glass, or throughthe glass.

Contrary to painting on a canvas or similar support this technique requires an artist to paint in reverse, or 'back to front.'

When an artwork is created on a support such as canvas or wood panel, it is painted from the same angle and direction that it will ultimately be viewed from on completion. However, in the case of a reverse painting the painting side and the viewing side of the artwork are opposed to one another.

Similarly, an artwork that is created on a canvas usually begins with a rough outline and gradually builds towards its completion and finishing touches. In a reverse painting this procedure begins where it would normally end and finishing touches such as finer details and the artist's signature are usually applied first and the background applications of colour are added later, hence the use of the term 'reverse painting'.

The effect that glass can give to a reverse painting can make it a very beautiful object. Some artists use thick glass in order to give more depth to their work.

For those who see a reverse painting on glass for the very first time it can take a little while to realise that the subject has been painted on the surface of the glass itself.

Extract from website "A guide to reverse painting on glass" at See reverse painting artworks at

Copyright Mayanne Mackay 2005

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