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Richard Rowan: how to paint on glass

While working in the motorsport industry, skyscape painter Richard was regularly exposed to scrap pieces of glass. Instead of buying expensive canvasses, he recycled old glass windows from his parents' garage and began to experiment with oil stains and the reflection of light. It was a eureka moment for the artist, who was kind enough to share his tips and tricks with our readers. 


Using glass as a canvas

By using glass as a canvas for his paintings, Richard creates a much smoother gradient of colour and a broader spectrum of shades. Mixing the oils on the glass as a palette intensifies the colour, which was perfect for the beautiful sunset scenes of his recent Twilight collection.

He adds: "With glass naturally responding to changes in light, the paintings will continue to evolve over time.”  

Richard admits he did not choose this technique because it was easy, but because he loves a challenge!

Perfecting the reverse painting method

When starting out as an artist, Richard wanted to achieve something that wasn't the norm, so over the years has perfected his own unique method of reverse painting. 

Beginning with the background and adding detail in layers, this technique requires great concentration and skill. He juxtaposes detailed sections with an unfocused background, which works exceptionally well with the clouds and trees of his stunning skyscapes. 

Despite honing this skill for over a decade, he reveals there is still much to learn and he is on a constant learning curve. 

Richard Rowan Twilight NC 1D 06

The drying process

The drying process for oils painted on glass can be very lengthy. To combat this, Richard concentrates on around five paintings at once, with each artwork at a different stage of the drying process. This allows for intricate scalpel work or layered painting to take place whilst others are drying.

Richard explains: "With glass naturally responding to changes in light, the paintings will continue to evolve over time."

Featured Artist

From the blog

Shop Twilight by Richard Rowan


The ethereal crossover between light and dark, night and day, is captured by oil painter Richard Rowan in his powerful new collection, Twilight - which is available online and in galleries now.

Braving Iceland with Richard Rowan


The artist and intrepid explorer filled us in on traversing the wilderness for Aurora Borealis and his latest works, which explore the natural phenomenon of lightning.

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