May 19th, 2016
The theme of Creation lends itself beautifully to the commissioning of legacy stained glass artwork, with a rich source of flowing shape and colour to depict in this custom project.
Our client had a wonderful vision in mind to honour the memory of his loving wife who had passed away due to cancer. She had greatly enjoyed nature and they had explored many forests, gardens and ocean views in their happy life together in Vancouver.
Her husband commissioned two pieces of stained glass art for windows in the family room of his home to reflect the beauty of nature his wife loved so much. We worked with him to identify the aspects of creation that would flow best in this area, allowing the natural light to stream elegantly through the coloured windows into the room.
Together we decided on the exact details to depict his wife’s interests, then I created a drawing. Once the elements in the drawing were agreed upon, shades and tones of mouth blown glass were chosen and cut, then painted by John.
Each element of the finished windows has richer meaning – The tree is symbolic of strength and the cycle of life, the mountains symbolize endurance, the lily for purity, the iris for faith and hope, the daisy for innocence, the violet for humility and the daffodil for the triumph of Divine Love. And the tulips were simply her very favourite.
May 19th, 2016
St. Cecilia is one of the most famous Roman martyrs. It is believed that she had pledged a vow of virginity but was then forced to marry a Roman nobleman named Valerian, by her parents. At her wedding, she sat apart and sang to God in her heart and for this she was named patroness of musicians. She asked her new husband to respect her vow with the help of an angel, which he did. Eventually, after becoming a noble woman of Rome, she perished under Emperor Marcus Aurelius by beheading. She is celebrated in Feast Day on November 22 by Catholic, Anglican and Eastern Orthodox faiths and this tradition has carried on since the fourth century.
Our client commissioned this interesting project featuring St. Cecilia because of her rich and engaging history as patroness of musicians. She has always loved Sir Edward Burne-Jones’ depiction of St. Cecilia in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, England. This original window was designed in 1874 by Burne-Jones and produced by William Morris & Co. The expressive and decorative drawing is classic Burne-Jones – the tall, fluid figures lending themselves perfectly to depiction in glass.
We were asked to create an homage to Burne-Jones featuring St. Cecilia, and we were delighted to design and build a 24 inch square hanging panel influenced by the original window. This masterpiece was a pleasure to re-create and we’ve not veered far from the original, with just a few adjustments on tonal values and their placement. We also employed a little tweaking of the colour palette and the introduction of a Morris inspired pattern in the background for a wonderful picture window in a beloved home.
April 21st, 2016
All done! Our first project for mainland China will be shipped off next week.
We’ve really enjoyed creating these windows which were inspired by an approximately 100 year old window in the BC Legislature building in Victoria. Our client visited there and enjoyed the stained glass so much that he wanted to recreate it for his home. It was both challenging and rewarding to find a way to design and paint our windows to maintain the spirit of the original yet work within the parameters of the new sizes and location. The client is delighted and will soon have his own piece of Canadian history!
April 14th, 2016
When our clients come to us with requests to create images of flowers and nature, we are delighted to bring the beautiful west coast flora and fauna to life. Certain flowers such as the iris, the rose and the lily translate very well into stained glass. Their defined, bold shape lends itself to whimsy in the glass painting. Oftentimes flowers have symbolic meanings such as purity, innocence and love.
This image used in the Iris Window allows the eye to travel up and out from the leaves to the flowers and back again. We were happy to use some of our limited supply of Hartlywood English mouth blown glass which is now out of production. The neutral background colours framed by golds pushes the flower to the foreground as it practically bursts from the glass. You can almost smell it! This technique which allows images to pop is knowing how to use light and textures to create not only an image but an experience of nature.
Our clients are usually amazed by the work we can do in the simple tried and true century old methods using light, texture and colour to tell a story. If you listen closely, this flower tugs your ear and you car hear a fresh spring day, the chirping of birds and the gentle breezes that make this garden experience pulse to life.
We love to embark on journeys with our clients of new adventures with the ideas and images they bring to create custom work that lasts for centuries as family legacies. Stained glass is becoming a renewed and enlivened choice for artwork in Vancouver with the work we, the Gilroys, trained and experienced in England can deliver. Visit our studio in South Vancouver or check out our website where you will fall in love with this time honoured art.
March 25th, 2016
We were approached by a wonderful couple who wanted to create a beautiful mermaid window for their Protection Island cottage. The mermaid is a legendary creature that brings together aquatic life with life on land. She is always beautiful and fluid and was the perfect icon for a window looking out onto the sea.
The window would be circular, which isn’t a problem for us because we’ve created so many unique designs. I decided to swirl the tail below her to reinforce the circular structure and carry the eye harmoniously. We had featured a mermaid before so we went back to our original design and modified it to suit this couple’s vision. We also created a sister window with a complimentary seascape to balance two windows on a foyer.
Using the fluidity of shape provided by her flowing hair and fins, combined with the hand picked range of colour in mouth blown glass, we were able to portray the constant movement of the sea and elements. The interlocking fish, crashing waves, full use of colour in the mouth blown glass and the painting techniques all came together wonderfully to ensure that it has the full impact to balance the Mermaid.
These panels had to be crated and conveyed along with all necessary tools by small boat to the island. There was no access except by sea, and the house has it’s own wharf. We enjoyed very much this entire journey to completion!
We never produce the exact same design twice! Each piece is original and is the family’s own legacy because of their personalized influence. Also, it is common that the size and shape of the window ranges between projects that are installed in unique locations with varying light sources. All of this we take into consideration when preparing the design for our client’s final approval. To date, we have created three versions of the Mermaid for three very different locations – a Georgian house in Bath (England), a house near New York (USA), and this one on Protection Island (BC). And as the client says, “Our mermaid is the soul of our ocean home.”
March 3rd, 2016
Johannes Vermeer was an acclaimed 17th century Dutch painter who specialized in home interiors and domestic life, featuring such standstill images as a woman pouring from a vase, or afternoon flowers on the table. The warmth and texture endeared his work the world over and is commonly recognized.
This particular project was created for and installed in the foyer of The Vermeer in Vancouver’s iconic Kitsilano area. The piece pays homage to his painting “The Glass of Wine”, but our window depicts two figures enjoying subtle flirtation over a nice glass of wine. This design has a contemporary feel in the placement of figures and other elements of the features including drapery which are painted. Even though the richness of added paint embellishes the image, we must be sure to let lots of light pour through. We used stippling techniques and shading in sharp tonal values to contrast the light and shade viewed through our jewel-like glass colours.
This window within a window contains fragments of 150 year old painted glass collected during our career in the U.K. In contrast to the warm yellows, ambers and ochres the figures stand prominently and accent the Vermeer Red and Vermeer Blue which are featured throughout this building the piece is destined for.
We also included the Thomas family crest (Thomas Properties) to tie in the crest of the stone exterior. What an exciting project to show the huge range that is possible in our exciting Stained Glass art form!
February 25th, 2016
Our esteemed clients asked us to create a unique, one of a kind artwork to add to their collection of work we had already created for them. For this particular project, they had need for a visual focal point to punctuate a large window in their dining room.
We went to work to design a piece to reflect the decor of their home, including the shades of colours to accent the furniture and style of their home. We decided upon a Hartley-Wood streaky grey glass piece that we had saved in our collection of materials for just the right project.
The clients were delighted with the rare and lovely glass and believed in our vision to build it out while keeping the flow and personality of the piece. As we moved forward and as per their request, we involved them in the completion steps in the journey to create this special art work.
We created additional pieces of flashed grey hued glass to feature the centre-piece glass from England. We hand painted tonal areas to emphasize the visual flow, adding continuity to the appeal of the dining room creating a well designed fit in visual style, presentation and balance.
February 17th, 2016
5 Best Things about being a Self-Employed Professional Artist
1. You get to be creative (all the time). Most people dream about spending their days in creative mode. Painting, drawing, writing, decorating are dream activities for most people. Spending your time in creation mode puts you into inspiration, and your heart and soul just feel better. It makes you a happier person.
2. You get to manage your time as you see fit and work unusual hours if you want. How many of us are pulled around by the days’ demands, never getting to those heart warming tasks and hobbies we love? Being an entrepreneurial artist means you can set your schedule to fit your needs for inspiration, administration, client contact and hours spent doing other life things. You’re your own boss, and that’s pretty sweet.
3. You will likely be offered unusual commissions that are stimulating and challenging. You get to manage your work projects and take on commissions that stimulate you and take you into new areas. Artists have the leeway to explore more often and more widely than most other professions.
4. You will likely be offered these unusual commissions in unusual locations that are new and exciting. There’s nothing like on-location work to stimulate you and make life interesting. Artistic commissions can mean travel to other towns, cities or just other venues where you’ll get to imagine new ways of delivering your art that makes working that much more fun!
5. Projects often come with deadlines which focus you to achieve your best within a certain time frame. Even though all of this work sounds like play, there is a high level of esteem to reach for when self-employed as an artist. The sky really is the limit but this style of work keeps you grounded as you focus diligently on completion. No slacking here, just pure inspirational professionalism!
January 23rd, 2016
Finished! The full size cartoon for the window for China. We’ll create the structural drawing (cutline) from this, then we’ll be selecting and cutting the glass before starting to paint the details. Those borders are going to be fiddly….
January 16th, 2016
Hope you all have had a good start to 2016!
Our first project for the new year is also our first project for mainland China. We've been asked to create two windows inspired by an approximately 100 year old window in the BC Legislature building in Victoria. Our client visited there recently and enjoyed the stained glass so much that he wanted to recreate it for his home - which is where we come in. I'm in the process of drawing the design full size; pictured here is a section of the top area depicting acorns and oak leaves. As you can see I'm still inking in the details and I have yet to start the tonal values to give the image the required depth. I'll post an update when the cartoon is completed and you'll get a clearer idea of the overall design.