The starting point for this Two Irises panel was the upper background piece of glass. I had this leftover from a previous commission and wanted to make full use of its beautiful colors. The original panel is 15-inch diameter and I had enough for the area above the flowers. The purple glass looked so good against it making the Two Irises an obvious choice. For the lower background, behind the leaves, I found another leftover piece that fitted the space. I sketched out my design idea and spent a little time making sure of the position of the flowers. It was important to me to get as much of the upper background in as possible. After all, this was the whole point of making this panel. Having settled on my finished pattern I set about cutting out the glass pieces, 59 in total.
The Story Behind The Border
The finished panel looked superb even if I say so myself, I couldn’t believe how well it turned out. But there was one thing I wasn’t happy about. At the centre of the panel between the Two Irises, I have a central leave that runs from the top to the bottom of the panel. This was an integral part of my design but it creates a slight weakness in the structure of the panel. This is what is known as a “hinge Joint” and is something you want to avoid if at all possible. Now I wasn’t going to take my panel apart so my only option was to strengthen the perimeter. One of the best ways to add strength to any panel is by adding a border.
So here it is my completed panel hanging in a window.
Irises at Slade Upper section showing the flower detail
About the Panel
I loved making this panel right from the initial idea through to applying the final patina. It started off as a bold sketch, I wanted to get movement into the flowers and leaves. At the same time, I had to leave room for the background glass to shine through. This is what I find with stained glass design, the composition is so important to the finished piece. I like doing pieces with lots of flowers in them but too many can be as bad as too few. It’s also important to leave space for the background glass to achieve a balanced look.
The size of this panel is 34.5 inches x 23 inches (880mm x 590mm)
which at the time was the largest copper foil panel I had attempted. Framed with 12mm zinc came which adds strength all around the perimeter it is quite robust.
A Little Piece of History
There are no known drawings for Van Gogh’s original “Irises painting as he considered it more of a study than a masterpiece. It was the first work he produced during his stay at the Saint Paul-de-Mausole in Saint-Remy, France. He painted four studies of Irises in all out of a total of 130 artworks. The other famous picture in this collection is “Starry Night”. Both pictures were exhibited in the Salon des Independants in September of that year. Unfortunately the final year before Van Gogh’s death.
This is the full-size Irises at Slade panel. The inspiration for this piece came from Vincent Van Gogh’s series of Iris paintings. These were produced at the Saint Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in France. The “Glowing Irises” sold by Sotheby’s in New York for $53.9 million in 1987. Which was, at the time the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. Alan Bond an Australian businessman was the purchaser. It later transpired that unfortunately, he didn’t have enough money to pay for it. Two years later it was re-sold to the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles where it remains to this day.
Irises at Slade Background Story
No such drama around my panel I’m happy to say. In fact, I still own it and am hoping to find a place for it one day. I had seen a few stained-glass copies of Van Gogh’s painting on various websites and online platforms. I didn’t want to do a straight copy, it was more the color and composition that I thought would work well.
So I set about drawing and believe me this took some time. The thing with stained glass design is you have to think of every line and shape. This involves moving various elements until all the pieces work in harmony. If you get it wrong, and I have done in the past the medium is so unforgiving. The light shines through your work and highlights every imperfection. On a panel this size 34.5 x 23 inches I wanted everything perfectly aligned. I had done previous studies of Irises and they always work well so for me this was the big one.
Irises at Slade Lower section close up photograph showing some of the detail in the lower flowers
The thing that stood out for me in Van Gogh’s painting was the flowers in the lower section. So I included this element in my design. This spreads the beautiful blues and purples throughout the picture and balances the composition.
Irises as I am sure you are aware have tiny flecks of bright yellow stamen within the flower. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get this feature into my design. The solution I came up with was to use a bright golden yellow between the stork and the flower head. This way I had the yellow against the blues and purples and it also illuminated the lower section of the panel. The background glass is a Youghiogheny Stipple glass titled “Landscape”. Brown glass shown depicting the earth is a Uroboros granite backed Glass. Uroboros Glass also makes up the stems and leaves. Irises are a mixture of Uroboros and Youghiogheny Glasses.
Page 1. A full-colour photograph and description of the original panel.
Page 2. Key and glass codes ( including manufacturers ) of the original glass used, plus a few tips and copyright information.
Page 3. Printing instructions and options.
Page 4. Full-size pattern 34.5 x 23 inches.
Where possible I have included the manufacturers and catalogue codes for glass I used in the original panel although this is only a guide and not a requirement.
Feel free to include the glass of your choice and let your imagination run wild.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE SURE OF YOUR PURCHASE AS THERE ARE NO REFUNDS FOR DIGITAL FILES