The image is carried on glass in exactly the same manner as on canvas, paper or wood ; but when we look at the image, we look through the glass - which serves both as a support and a protective varnish. Everything is backwards from traditional painting. The working image is on the back of the glass. The viewer looks trough the glass on to the painted layers. Letters, symbols, and images are painted as the mirror image to how they normally read, in order to be correct when the glass is turned over to be viewed.
All details are painted first and the background is last.
There is about ten superimposed coats of paint.
Thus it is not possible to put a light behind the glass.
All lovers of medieval manuscripts and religious books will be familiar with
« Illuminations », those painted letters or miniatures with which they are ornamented. Under Mathilda de Carpentry’s skilled fingers, illuminations have now taken on a completely new form of life. Using this ancient art as a basis and applying it to scenes mainly related to the Middle Ages, Mathilda de Carpentry has created a unique style in which the glass itself plays the primary role. It is by painting on the glass (from behind) that the artist allows her modern-day imagination to run free in the service of this bygone art, revealing its forms and colours in ways which often totally surprise (and delight)the usually blase contemporary audience.
The increasing interest shown by the public, collectors and museums for reverse painting on glass opens a new chapter in the history of Decorative Art.
William Laurent, Art Critic