What is Hinterglas?

in #art6 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!

What can I say - You are very talented! Love your art

Thank you very much! Off to my studio, but I'll check out your page later tonight! :-)

Thanks )) have a great day!)

What an amazing post! Great work!

Thanks a lot for your kind words and the vote :-)

What a fascinating technique! It must take a crazy amount of planning. And patience. I could see a lot of frustration (and broken glass) in mastering this. lol

Yes to all of the above... broken pieces, only 4 in 30 years. All finished or close to... very frustrating. The moment it happens, you know, this definitely can't be undone. Oh well, why make it easy if you can have it hard :-)

HAHA! Gives a whole new meaning to challenging yourself. Only 4 broken pieces in 30 yrs? Impressive! I feel like my tally would be much higher. lol I would probably get frustrated and slam it down somewhere and break it (either on purpose or inadvertently).

There were times when I felt like throwing a piece around or out the window. What kept me from doing just that is probably the fact, that I would have had to clean it all up :-b

First time to learn about it, really nice.

Glad you liked it. Found some very interesting content on your blog too :-)

That's really interesting.
First I've heard of this technique.

Thank you for looking at my post and your comment. Yes, the technique isn't very well known, but for me, that adds to its appeal :-)

Español? Es bunghole! Habla, blah habla, habla habla, habla bunghole...

Thank you :-) Sorry for the late reply, somehow I must have missed your comment.

I have often thought of doing this technique, although I didn't know it existed as an artform with it's own history.

In the end I have never done more than some experiments with it.

but from what you are saying about how frustrating it is, I must revisit.
I specialise in frustrating painting and art making techniques.


glad to have run across you by seeing your comment on somebodies blog.

will have you on the radar too

Yes, this technique has been around for a long time. Its also known for the paintings lasting a long time... unless you break them of course ;-)

Hahaha... specializing in frustrating painting and art making techniques could be something I said too. So, we are brothers in spirit! Your post are very interesting as well and of course I'm radaring you back ;-)

Congratulations @reinhard-schmid! You have completed some achievement on Steemit and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

Award for the number of upvotes received

Click on any badge to view your own Board of Honor on SteemitBoard.
For more information about SteemitBoard, click here

If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

By upvoting this notification, you can help all Steemit users. Learn how here!

Gratuliere Reinhard!

Looks so cool. Loved it. I'm actually new on steemit and i love to draw too... Any ideas on how to be successful? I'll be glad to hear...

But your work is amazing its A+

Thank you kindly for liking my work. I'm pretty new myself and just learning my first steps.

Don't know, if there is a single formula for success, particularly for artists.

Important in my eyes is, that you always stay your unique and original self, not the copy of someone.

Don't chase after people who don't care about you. The right ones come into your life, when the time is right.

Particularly as an artist, always give the very best quality you can provide. Quality always wins long term!

Learn as much as you can from the (old) masters. Most of all, learn how to see. Its the foundation of everything you do as a visual artist... and then draw, draw, draw!

you are a real master! I need to learn from you.

We all learn, as long as we live :-)

Wow! how interesting! Love it! :D
started following, hope see more of your work in the future
+0.01SBD for everyone here

Thanks for stopping by and having a look! Your page is a great starting point for finding interesting posts! Following :-)

Big thank you also for the resteem :-)

great style...you just gotta love originality and creativity

Thank you! Nice content in your blog !!

^_^ thanks for checking....i'll follow you too
cuz u doing some unique

likewise. I'm intrigued by your fresh and unpretentious approach :-)

Very interesting approach. Nice work. I'm also a glass artist, though I have never tried this at all. (Although I regularly take a hammer to glass for different effects too!) Intrigued and following for more!

Thank you for your kind compliment. Since you mention the hammer, I take it, you saw my post https://steemit.com/art/@reinhard-schmid/tools-for-working-with-glass-1-the-hammer as well. Looking forward to see more from you too 🔨

Yes, I did. After replying I realized I had written that in the wrong post actually!

Hahaha... sounds like something I would too!

You are a wizard !!!!

Thanks, but don't I wish... would definitely make it all a lot easier 😉

Great article! Very interesting to read.

thanks for explaining the technique

You are very welcome! Thank you for your interest in it!

Okay, wow.....I think I'll stick to canvass for now, this is highly advanced. I have even more appreciation for your work.

So you found your way here! Wow, that does show some genuine interest, thanks a lot!

I love your work!! My late Nana used to paint on glass also. I used to watch as a child the development and time taken of the layering of paint.
I also paint and have just moved to rural Shropshire. I intend to set up my creative side again as my time is now my own.🕉

Thank you for your kind comment. Must be great to have these memories... did your Nana spark your desire to paint?

Had a quick look to one of your posts... the area where you live looks very beautiful! Love the country side!

Wishing you a lot of joy painting :-)

I am so sorry since the move my reception is still waiting to be sorted out a month later, very frustrating now.
Thank you, I had lived in London for 27 years and had to break free from the buildings and buzz. I needed to reboost from nature,as life can sure knock the stuffing out of you at times. With stunning views and calming clean pace, I may even find time to enjoy it again.🕉

Hey @reinhard-schmid, I followed over to this post from today's https://steemit.com/art/@reinhard-schmid/where-the-mermaids-grow to see your method.

My mind just went pow at this. I have wondered about this style before but have never seen it up close in this way. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing the process.

Thank you for taking the time to check it out. Glad you found it interesting :-)

Wow, amazing work- Looks so interesting on glass. I must try this sometime.

Yes, its a fascinating technique! Hope you'll share your results.

Very interesting and amazing technique!

Thank you! That's why I stayed with it for over 30 years :-)

Wow! This is a really cool idea! Thanks for sharing this! I may have to try this someday.

At first it may seem challenging, but then it is also a lot of fun. Go ahead!

Wow!!! I also paint but not as good as these,I wish I could make a painting like this soon,i followed you,so i can see more of your artworks...it's really amazing!!!

I had many years to practice, which takes you a long way :-)

The process is fascinating. Somewhere in my pencil box I have a graphite pencil designed to write on glass. Reading this now, I searched if I can can find one again: http://www.artstuff.net/Stabilo-All-Surface-Pencils_p_754.html - I will have to check if my local art supply store carries them. As for painting: I wasn't doing much on glass, other than some abstract designs, but I used extensively thin acrylic paint on plastic or mylar (Dupont) sheets in a fashion like Max Ernst's decalcomania (building it up on the back with transparencies of pastel and white colors), which I then often transferred onto canvas by simply adhering it with acrylic medium, and when bone dry, wet the canvas with water, let saturate and then just peel the plastic away. The plastic sheets are a bit tricky because the surface is such that the acrylic paint will bead. I wash the plastic with soap and afterward give it a light coat of fixative. There are supposed to be some transparent sheets available at Blick Art Supply especially made to draw and paint on (basically the type of cells once used for cartoon films) , but I have not tried them yet. That way I could also get Rohrschach-type images, that once transferred onto canvas or wood panel would make people wonder how it was done.
You can see the application of it over top of the owl scull in this detail of a painting I am working on:

Hahahaha... not laughing at you though. You know what's so funny? When I saw the post, with no clue of who the username was, I thought... this looks like a painting of Otto. This bastard here better added the credits... just to find out a moment later, that it is YOU!

Glad to see you here and thank you for this awesome comment. On my way to your page!

haha, you should have recognized my mug, lol. I have no idea how I got to that handle, it just happened in the sign-up process. Maybe I did something wrong - I would have wanted "The Mystic", which is my handle everywhere else.
If it wasn't for your urging to join, I might have given up - it took 2 days and several tries to get on here. Still trying to wrap my head around things hows they work. Leo just gave me some good advice.

Glad you made it and you will see, that its rewarding in many ways. I truly enjoy the conversations being much better than anywhere else. Getting on board seems a bit awkward... they made me wait long enough that I thought my signup fell through he cracks somewhere. Must have something to do with that blockchain thingy (beyond my Verstand)

Yes, @leoplaw has once again proven to be a real friend. He has helped me tremendously with his valuable advice and guidance.

Also spent countless hours on how tos and what not to dos... here is a good starting point, in case you haven't found it already httpwww.steemithelp.net

My voting power is next to worthless right now, got less "allocated steam" this morning on top of it... haven't figured out yet, why and what it means. I'll upvote you, once its worth it!

I am still learning the ropes. But I like the platform for the same reasons you do. So my sign-on struggles are not unique, lol. But now I am glad I am here.

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.22
TRX 0.06
JST 0.028
BTC 23188.13
ETH 1648.83
USDT 1.00
SBD 2.67