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. 

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

AVAILABLE NOW: Richard Rowan’s Twilight


Illustrating the majesty of the sky, the three giclée on glass prints are a beautiful reflection upon what we are doing to our planet and the world around us. You can shop the collection online and in galleries now.

Nature's endless beauty captured in a new edition of Richard Rowan's Infinite collection


Nature's endless beauty is captured in a new edition of Richard Rowan's Infinite collection with two new monochrome works depicting the Milky Way.

Richard Rowan | The Magnificent Beauty of Forever More


After the Forever More collection sold out in December 2022, Richard Rowan’s incredible artistry comes to Castle Fine Art once again with more uniques in the Forever More collection based on his love of the Finnish wilderness.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter.

We'll be sending you an email with a verification link, just click it and you're good to go!

Join our mailing list for exclusive discounts, the latest art news, artist updates and more.

Your email is safe with us. For more information, see our privacy policy.

© Copyright Washington Green Retail Limited trading as Castle Fine Art. First published 2012, last updated 2024. Washington Green Retail Limited acts as a credit broker and offers credit products from Secure Trust Bank PLC trading as V12 Retail Finance.

Washington Green Retail Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our registration number is 726395. Credit provided subject to age and status. Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies