Q&A: a glass face
Dancing Queen, Scotland
When painting a glass face, remember that highlights will appear on the opposite surface and wherever the glass ‘turns’. This is usually where the shadows will be on any other opaque material, such as wood or plastic. Not all light will pass through the object. Some surface reflection will also be visible where the light hits the glass. There’ll be no sharp highlights on this surface. However, sharp highlights will form where the glass turns ‘ inwards’, such as the bottom of the nose and the chin if the light source is present above the face. This is the surface that directly receives the light passing through the glass.
I start by sketching a face in white. Then I add the darkest colour in my palette to the centre where the light will pass through. I keep almost all the boundaries lighter because these are curved surfaces. I distort a few of the lines that pass behind the glass face to enhance the three-dimensional feel of the face.
Combine the principles of light to come up with a form. The type of glass will determine the appearance of the face. Light not only reflects off glass but passes through, refracts and distorts.