Thursday, January 10, 2019

Commissioned Painting, A Learning Experience

I was approached by someone who really liked my painting style and had an idea for Japanese Maple leaves flowing within a certain dimension.  I was apprehensive at first because I don't do commissions for painting because of what the person has in mind and what I as an artist has in mind are always going to be different.  
I started out with the flowing leaves as follows.

Next was to work on the background.  The client's thought was to have the concept of Autumn sky, clouds all flowing along with the leaves.  I was imagining a lighter and airier blue flowing with implied cloud feel. I felt that since I did all the detail in the leaves with the technique I use the background should not be too heavy. To achieve this I used watercolor instead of oil paint as follows:
I took a good picture and added black to represent a frame.  I liked the flow of the blue and how some color was scattered around to give a light, airy feel to it along with leaving white for cloud feel.  The client was not happy, he wanted more color such as green.  I was definitely confused at this point since the original concept was Autumn sky and cloud feel.  I obliged and used green watercolor scattered around and flowing nicely with the blue.  Client was still not happy.  Apparently, they like my other paintings where I use a lot of bright color and more color.  
I then proceeded to use oil for the background still sticking to the concept.  I split the background design into 5 sections and added green.  I also designed it like I do my glasswork to tie that in. Here is the painting in process, if you look closely in the area yet to paint over, the green that I added earlier can be seen.

Here is the completed painting. 
I do like how it came together.  The colors work well together, the leaves pop out.  I like both the original concept as well as the final.  I don't think I would do this again just because of the difficulty of trying to paint something the way the client imagines it.  I find that as the years pass and the different things I experience or are going through really changes the way I see things and the way I may paint.  The only way I think I would do this is with the total understanding that the way I am painting at that moment may be different than what has been and have a signed contract stating as much.   Otherwise, I will stick to the glasswork being commissioned as it is much easier to give the client a good idea as to what it will look like. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

My Mission as an artist

I have been reading how important it is to have a mission statement so have written and revised a statement which I think sums up what I am doing.

My mission:
To nourish your soul through the enrichment of your surroundings with the use of customized and intentioned light, color and movement.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Restoration Project

This month I am working on a couple of projects, one is a restoration project for an entryway.  The house is a historic home and the client wants to have leaded glass windows put back into the front door and sidelights.  The original ones were taken out years ago. There are other windows throughout the house that still have the leaded glass windows and I will be creating a design for the entryway that will be similar to the other windows.
Here are a couple of pictures of the front door and of a window with the leaded glass design.

I will post the progress once I am fabricating the panels.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Stained Glass Replace Thermopane?

A question that comes up quite frequently is "Does the stained glass replace my window?" so I thought I would discuss it here.  

Historically, stained glass was the existing window and I guess this is still in people's minds. Stained glass is either installed up against the existing thermopane (double pane) window, sandwiched between tempered glass and made into a window unit, or it is suspended in front of the window.  Depending on the window frame will determine how it is installed.  There are different clips to hold it in, wood trim can be used, using silicone, or suspending it in place are all different ways to install the panel.  

The big reason for not having the stained glass be the existing window any more is that it is not energy efficient.  Lots of heat loss in the winter and allows too much heat in the summer.  Another reason is safety. There have been building codes for several decades about stained glass and in some cases such as doors they have to be sandwiched between tempered glass.  The codes vary depending on where you live in the country but for the most part they are pretty standard.  

I hope this helps in understanding the basic idea of installing stained glass.  Feel free to ask any questions regarding this.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Artist Studio Tour

Just finished up the Clark County Artist Studio Tour this last weekend.  I enjoyed meeting and talking with a lot of visitors about my work and what I am doing differently.  It was fun seeing new and familiar faces. The first image is gathering the artwork and setting up for the tour.

Friday, October 26, 2018

"Circular Movement" completed!

The glass panel "Circular Movement" is now completed.  I am very pleased with the results, it is dynamic, lots of light play, fluid.  

This is entirely made up of hand beveled clear glass with colored beveled glass bonded on top of the clear bevels. The top picture has trees in the background and shows the colors a little darker than they actually are. The bevels really pick up the background textures and colors nicely.  Lots of movement!
This panel is 12 3/8" tall by 9 1/4" wide. Contact me for pricing and if it is still available at

Monday, October 22, 2018

Bonding Colored Glass onto Clear Bevels of "Circular Movement"

The following is some of the progress on bonding beveled colored glass onto the clear bevels of the glass panel "Circular Movement". 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Continuing progress of "Circular Movement"

I have completed fabricating the panel and beveling the color pieces that will be bonded on top of the clear bevels.

I find it difficult to get a good photo image of the colored glass, the colors are not accurate.  Once they are bonded on top of the clear bevels I can get a picture with natural light and the colors will be closer to what they actually are.  

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Transom Stained Glass Window Enlivens Entry Way!

A few months ago I had installed a transom window into a client's home.  They loved the window, how the bevels really captured the light, how it flowed nicely in the space. This is the panel which I had shared in an earlier post.

A couple of weeks ago I received this email from them:

"Regarding our transom window that you created for us:

We love our transom window (as do our neighbors!). We continue to see 
more and more 'movement' in the glass depending on the time of day as 
the light is changing from summer to fall. We are so pleased with the 
beauty it has brought to our home.  It has enlivened a former neutral 
space. We enjoy looking at it everyday!

Hope you are doing well,
Val Hambley and Kenn Wong"

I am so pleased that they are seeing something new in it as the seasons change. That is 
one things that I plan on when designing for a space and types of glass to use.
I hope this inspires you as to what you can do for your home and office.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"Circular Movement" work in progress

I have been working on a smaller glass panel titled "Circular Movement". Here is some of the progress with the bevels and piecing together.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Standard Glass Bevel compared to an Isaac Smith Bevel

I would like to explain a bit more about standard bevels and the bevels that I have been producing in my artwork.  
The following is a pic of a design that I am working on.  In the image on the left I drew out the bevels using  3/8 inch width . As the image shows the width is the same all around the shape on all bevels.  The design on the right shows the width of the bevels changing.  The left design looks nice but is flat as a whole.  I found that by changing the width there is much more depth and movement throughout the piece.  

The following 2 images shows a standard bevel where the width is the same all around the shape and a bevel that I am working on for this design which shows the width widens or narrows in different areas around the shape.

This is one thing that distinguishes my work from other glass artist's work.  I have created more depth, movement and light play throughout my designs which in turn adds so much more to a piece of art for your home. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Other Inspiration for my Designs- The Human form

I use the human form to express different emotions or expressions.  The form is very expressive in the way it moves, is posed.  Either the whole figure of just parts are very inspiring for me in painting and glass design.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Inspiration-Trees and Changing Seasons

Trees and the changing seasons seem to be a continual theme and inspiration for paintings.  Here are examples of a Winter Tree and Fall Tree.  I was showing the feeling of the 2 different seasons with the use of different colors to portray the sky colors as well as the color in the trees.  I find it interesting that the music aspect as discussed in previous post appears here as well.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Orchestral/Classical Music Inspires Me

I enjoy listening to orchestral music, it evokes a multitude of colors and shapes.  Images of specific colors for different instruments come to mind as I listen.  Sometimes shapes form in relation to a single instrument or to multiple instruments.  When I paint an instrument with a musician I involve both and have the colors and shapes envelope both as the emotion from the performer transfers through the instrument and music.  
My favorite composers are Beethoven and Vivaldi, and I do enjoy some works of Mozart, Bach, Rachmaninoff, as well as operas from multiple composers.  
Here are some images of some paintings that were influenced by orchestral music.

I do paint specifically to the music but I do find that the orchestral music influences a lot of my design work whether it be painting or glass.

What music inspires you? Who is your favorite composer or musician/artist?

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Inspiration - Wind Flowing Through Trees

Wind flowing through trees has been an inspiration for both my painting and glass work.  I love the sound of the leaves rustling, I imagine the wind not only pushing a tree but flowing around the trunk, spiraling the branches, pulling on them.  It is more of a flowing through and pulling as it goes through to the other side.  

I depicted this in a painting titled Gusty

I love the flow of it.  Here are some details

Feel free to leave comments as to what inspires you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What Inspires You?

For the next several posts I want to share what inspires me in creating oil paintings and stained glass and want to know what inspires you to create or generally what inspires you.  
The first thing I will share is that I love bike riding and I find that I will have thoughts pop in my mind of images or ideas of what to create or what to write on the blog.  Even if it is just a half an hour I feel refreshed and invigorated.  The last ride I had I was inspired to write this blog and what I could share about certain paintings and glass projects I have had.  
I look forward to hearing what inspires you.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 4th Celebrations

I am wishing you all a fun and safe July 4th celebration.  I am going to enjoy a few days off this week and relax.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Shopping for New Paint Brushes

After the last couple of paintings and using brushes that were frayed a little too much I decided to go get some new brushes.

I always enjoy shopping for new art supplies. I have not used this brand before so hopefully they work well for me. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Upcoming Art Shows

I have a couple of shows/events coming up in the next few months that I want to inform you of and hope that you can attend.

The first is First Friday in Vancouver Washington on Friday August 3 at Windermere Real Estate at 210 E 13th St, Suite 100 Vancouver, WA 98660. I will give the hours when the date gets closer.

The second is the Clark County Studio Tours the first weekend of Nov 3-4.  This event showcases 50 artists who open up their studio for the weekend. 

At both events I will be showing and have original oil paintings and stained glass for sale as well as photos of stained glass that has been installed in various client's homes.  

Please reserve these dates, I would enjoy seeing you.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Glass Repair for Kitchen Cabinet

I received a call about a broken piece of glass in a kitchen cabinet and it was such that I could do the repair.  I don't talk about repair much so I thought I would share this.  I may post other repair work in the future. A corner piece was cracked so I took out the broken pieces as shown in the upper right of the top picture.  The panel was pieced together using copper foil and soldered together.  I had to remove the copper foil of the good sections of glass that joins the replacement glass and re-foil them.  I foiled the new piece and then soldered both front and back.  After completing the repair I remounted it into the cabinet frame.

Friday, June 1, 2018

In the Studio- beveling glass

I had to take a studio picture to submit when I applied for the Clark County Open Studios Tour and thought I would show it here.

This is where I bevel the inside curves of different glass shapes.  I use a flat wheel located in a different area for beveling straight edge and outside curves.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Client Response from Transom Window

After installing the transom window I heard from the owners and they talked about how much they loved the window.  I asked them to write something pertaining to the process and this is their response:

Isaac kept our vision in focus all the time and was very easy to work

with; answering all of our questions, explaining the process, and

offering his artistic advice.  We visited his studio various times to

view progress, and together, adjust/tweak/update the work as we saw it

come to fruition. We are so pleased with the outcome and are enjoying it

tremendously! Our window is the artistic touch we were looking for in

our home! Isaac created a custom piece that reflects us!

Val Hambley and Kenn Wong
Battle Ground, WA

I am very pleased that they are enjoying the window and that they will for many years to come.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Transom Panel Completed and Installed!

The arched transom stained glass panel that I have been showing different stages of is now completed and installed.

Here is a picture of the transom window above the client's front door.

And now the transom window with the stained glass panel along with some detail shots.

What a difference it made having the stained glass in place.  It softens up the grids, the lighting and really plays with the light.  The colors compliment the surroundings, the different wood tones, colors they have in their décor.  I am very pleased with the results as are the client.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Hand Beveleling and Bonding Glass for Transom Window

After Cleaning the panel, I draw the center portion of the clear bevels and cut out colored glass to be hand beveled and bonded onto the clear bevels.

 The above picture shows the bevels at the first or rough stage. 3 more stages to take it through polishing.

After applying the UV adhesive, a UV lamp cures and bonds the glass together.