Art du Jour – Playing with Light and Reflection


Working with glass was a logical addition to working with watercolor for me because both are all about color and light and reflection.

You may have heard people talk about the fact that you don’t use white paint when creating a watercolor. “The paper provides the white”. What does that mean exactly?

It means that because watercolors are transparent, you use the reflected light from the white paper to create highlights and brilliance in your color. You can really see what effect the paper has on the color by painting with the same color on a piece of Hot Press watercolor paper, which has a very smooth surface, and a piece of Cold Press, which has a textured surface made of small hills and valleys.

The light come straight back up from the smooth surface of the hot press, and comes back from several angles when reflected from the hills and valleys of the cold press paper.

If you put these two painted papers next to each other, you will see a decided difference in the color.

In my newest “Wish Dishes”, I am playing with that same idea in glass – using a square of colored, transparent glass over a double thickness of clear glass, and adding sterling silver to the mix.


The clear glass allows the light to reflect from whatever surface the dish is sitting on, and the transparent blue shows the light bouncing back from the silver, creating contrast.

What I find really exciting is that the clear glass also carries the blue color sideways so that it shows up on the edges of the dish as well. And, the little bubbles in the clear make the edges look glittery.

I think a very important part of living an ART-Full Life is the time we spend with a completed piece.

That’s when you do three important things:

Pat yourself on the back, hopefully. That validation coming from little-old-you is the most important validation there is.

Learn all kinds of things about the results of the processes you used to create the piece. This is especially true of both watercolor painting and kiln worked glass, because each of these mediums has a mind of its own, and will do both expected and unexpected things.

Listen to your creative mind as it tells you all the new ideas it has about variations of this art piece. Creation begets creation.

It’s a special time and people like me, who create for a retail gallery, sometimes don’t get enough of it. You would get a kick out of the tug-of-war times Mark and I have when a new piece is finished.

His idea is that it should go to the gallery NOW so he can sell it.

My idea is that I need to hug it for awhile. I usually win because I am such a pain in the neck when I lose.

So my two new dishes spent the day at home with me yesterday and we had some real quality time.

aquamarinestardishdetail aquamarinestardish3

But today, they go to the gallery, and they are already in the online gallery shop this morning.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.





  1. Your link isnt working at least for me, to your online gallery shop.

  2. Oops, meant to add I like to hold a new picture close or a new pair of just knitted socks or whatever it is that I just finished. I want to enjoy the whole process I have just gone through for a while just as you described. Yes, I can do production work such as making five or six different foods all at once for company coming sometime that day but the pleasure in that is that the company will enjoy it as I will be worn out. Creating for creating’s sake is a whole different story and it’s enjoyable most of the way minus that snag or two and I want to make the enjoyment last a bit when it’s done.

  3. Yep, link works. Bought the aqua one for my daughter. She loves magic, sparkle and wishes!

  4. I had someone ask me once why I wore my jewelry pieces before I sold them. And precisely was you say, so I can appreciate what I’ve done and appreciate what the product is. To reap the joy. But also to test out the design and make sure there are no overlooked flaws. And to see other possibilities.

  5. Great article, jessica. This is one I’m saving to my “jessica” folder. These are points worth reminding myself. And Alcina’s response rang a bell too. I tend to take so much time to create something that I don’t want to let it go. Perhaps the solution for me is to love it, look at it, wear it, or whatever so that I can then send it to its new home. Thanks!

  6. jessica, I love these. How about a class on creating with glass? I have the kiln. I am sure there are others out there. I love your classes and creativity. Have some projects where we can create. Have a private class through Facebook. I would be there. Pretty please?!

    Cathy in AZ

  7. I usually sleep under a quilt I just finished before giving it to its ultimate recipient! Hate to part with all that creatativity without enjoying it a bit! Love your thought process, Jessica! Please keep sharing with us!

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