What is Hinterglas?

in #art7 years ago (edited)

A lot of people find it puzzling at first, when I tell them I draw on glass with graphite pencil, or that I work "backwards" on the reverse side of glass...

So, I invite you, to take a closer look at what all this means:


In Europe, there is a long tradition of so called "Hinterglas" or „sous verre“, which is the name of a technique of painting and simply means "behind glass". In case anyone is interested, there is a more detailed description of the traditional approach on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_glass_painting

For me it all began, when I studied traditional glass painting in my father's studio and a nearby school for glass making and related arts and crafts. At the time my father had just discovered a way to draw on glass with a graphite pencil. The basic concept is quite simple, but I have now refined it over the last 30 years to the point that I think I have a decent idea of what I'm doing and a reasonable amount of control over the outcome.

To better illustrate what I mean by working on the reverse side of the glass, let me first show you a short video clip

The whole piece is created on one side of the sheet of glass. Inverted and... backwards. Meaning, whatever is closest to the viewer later, has to be done first and then you work your way to the background. Exactly the other way round you would do with a painting on canvas for instance. It involves a fair amount of thinking and planing as you have to predict, what it will look like from the other side once you added several layers of paint.

Here is an older piece, where I can show a few steps:

1- Side you work on:


2- Finished:


3- Seen from front:


What makes it tricky is, that its next to impossible to correct mistakes, once you come to a certain point. You can paint over it as many times as you want, the mistake stays on the side from which the finished piece is seen. When you are finished, you turn your sheet of glass around and the artwork is seen through the glass. Hope this makes sense.

A big challenge for me always was to overcome the limitations of traditional Hinterglas, like a very... how should I say... two dimensional look. A lot of it looks to me like it was painted with butter. The use of the pencil combined with an old-masterly glazing technique takes this fascinating old genre to a new dimension and adds a fine hint of transparency and lightness.

All the artwork here as well as on my own previous posts was created by me.

"Fly with me" in https://steemit.com/art/@reinhard-schmid/fly-with-me is a larger painting in Acrylics and oil on board.

All the Tarot cards in https://steemit.com/life/@reinhard-schmid/temple-of-the-secrets were done in the Hinterglas technique described above.

Same as the pictures in https://steemit.com/colorchallenge/@reinhard-schmid/colorchallenge-monday-red and https://steemit.com/art/@reinhard-schmid/open-up

As you can see, I also make my own frames, but that will be a different story


Please stay tuned for more of my art, more detailed descriptions of the methods used and on my Tarot deck.

A big thank you to all of you supporting me here :-)


Interesting creativity, I do painting recently on surface pro. This is totally a different thing. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you for your time and attention :-)

Nicaragua....aqua for my bunghole.....arriba...

Terribly sorry... can anybody explain, what this is supposed to mean?

You'll have to wait your turn, sir.

It's troll spam....garbage talk.

This is sooo cool @reinhard-schmid. Excellent work! It's refreshing browsing your works

Thank you for your kind words. Looks like we both enjoy the positive :-)

Of course!

As a student I was doing some extra money at one studio, doing naive art on glass, and considering to know the process, must say your work is amazing, never seen enything like this, please post more of your work. Trully enjoying in your paintings and work.

Thank you for your kind compliments. Yes, I'll post more detailed info going forward and as long as I don't start boring everyone ;-)

Re-discovering this fantastic work of yours - 2 years later - is a rare treat! Some outstanding posts should be brought forward and kept on top of the heap! It is unfortunate that a post 2 years old is buried so deep nobody can find it anymore.
Myself, I had added a tab on my website on the artwork I posted on Steemit that links to the post. This is the GIF I use - it has the old Steemit logo:

On my Visionary Art website, I am so far behind with updating and restyling it, but my plan is also to add that link to select artworks of members that are on Steemit. Which I should do to yours at this moment, while I still think about it! ....................................... and - DONE:

WOW, great job, Otto!! Super idea too, to create links on ones website 👍

Did you see this post about the pixEOScanvas? You should contribute some of your art! And invite friends to do so too.

I was thinking that this system I tried on your page could work for other VA artists too, if they would join up. I could then eventually get rid of the very expensive private network on Ning (which I pay for out of my own pocket) and get new works and updates from these blogs here.
I have to look at the pixEOScanvas later - man, I need a 48 hour day to work, lol
btw - my 100% steempower is not worth much, so I hope others pick up on this tread as well. I told Peter @gric about it on WhatsApp, but he has not seen it yet.

On my latest blog on WeKu I put a image link to the Steemit blog that looks like this:

This is new to me - or not! In any case your craftsmanship is breathtaking.
I spent a few nights in a row (recently in fact) dreaming of watercolour (veil) painting "through" the paper, from behind as it were, or like you do, in reverse. It gets you into an entirely different space (when studying the light and darkness at play in colour) and now I see where you get your inspiration from. Quite literally, inspired from that space inbetween light and darkness.... very special to have stumbled upon you.

My late mother did this with glazes that crystallized. A lot of her work disappeared after she passed in 2001, I know the two best works are still in the family though. Really nice to even hear of it once in a while.

That is so interesting! Do you think you could get photos of the two pieces you mentioned? I'd love to see them, since Hinterglas is indeed very rare.

Cordial thanks for your kind attention and the appreciation of my post :-)

One piece is a few hundred miles away, the other is closer or gone. I will visit both and report back. The glazes mom used are not on the market in the US, they were actually not available in the early 1980's when she was using them.

I've never heard of this before. How awesome!

I know its not very well known, particularly with my special twist on it. Glad you like it :-)

Nice video and new information don't stop continue

OK it's late. I am blown away by what I see but I need to look at this more closely in the morning with fresh eyes. Thanks for posting!

Glad you like it! As always, I tried to keep it reasonably short, but I hope it all makes sense :-)

Btw... may I ask, where in Illinois do you live? I had a condo in Chicago for many years..

OK I have had more time to look into this and the links you provided. Fantastic stuff, very interesting. I can totally understand now how it changes the process, the 2nd photo labeled 2- Finished: brought it all together for me.

I am super impressed! I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like it nor have I ever heard of this technique. The fact that you have done such really cool artwork using this medium is really cool too. You have a lot to be proud of here.

Maybe this is for another post... But how did your father ever get graphite pencil to apply to glass?

I am bewildered once again... The more you learn, the less you know, I guess!

I spent lots of time in Chicago as a kid with my Grandma who was the first artist in my life. I have had lots of family live there. I work with a guy who grew up in Chicago too, so it is pretty common to run into folks from Chicago around here. We live about 3 hours West of Chicago in a small town of about 35k people right where the Rock River, meets the Mississippi River bordering Iowa. I have lived here my entire life, never really lived in any other cities.

How about you? What were you doing in Chicago at the time?

Thanks again for your kind words. Don't know, if you have any interest in following me, but I will show more detail and info on my work process with time.

I came to Chicago in the early 90s for.... yes, a woman. The age old story. We had a condo in a pretty cool building on Diversy avenue (not sure I spelt it right). The Brewster building is a Chicago landmark and I enjoyed living there. And to paint. Very inspiring environment.

Just from your short description, Rock River sounds like my kind of town. Not into the big city anymore. And the setting with the rivers sounds beautiful.

Of course, I followed you a couple of days ago!

I saw a post above about how do not wish to share the secret of getting graphite to stick to glass. No worries! I understand.

Thanks for understanding. :-)

Beautiful work! And techiques, but i am lost how u use graphite on glass?:) do u use any specific medium on glass, for the graphite to stick? Thank you

Thank you for your kind compliment. As an answer to your question, which I get quite frequently I usually reply with this joke... "You have to press real hard". Of course that's nonsense. But I need to ask you to understand, that I am not ready to share my "secret" at this time. Hope you don't mind :-)

Looking forward to see some content on your page!

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