"History of California" © Raymond Bolton. Oil reverse painted on glass.
The utilization of glass as a “canvas” for original art has a long and storied history, one that links generations and geographic regions across the SouthWest. While GLASSplash was created “organically” within a dialogue between Inspired Living’s Design Team and the Artist homeowner for a recent Altadena, CA project, research of the topic of art-on-glass reveals a long and storied history.
On the West Coast, GLASSplash founder John Patterson grew up admiring a mural on glass that hung over his Great Uncle’s mantlepiece in the Hollywood Hills. Ray Bolton, born in New England in 1900, became a renowned muralist and artist whose glass panels and painted mirrors could be found gracing the roof garden at the Waldorf-Astoria, the National Women's Country Club in Washington, and the walls of The "San Pedro Room" in The Towers, a venerated hotel in Brooklyn.
Bolton’s “History of California” was meticulously back-painted on glass, depicting a desert composition of mountains and cactus during the period of the Frontier West. The composition includes a Navajo rug, cowboy boots, a Winchester Rifle, and the original land grant that lead to the creation of California. Once completed, the glass was mirrored in an “antiqued” silver that added to its rustic appeal.
In New Mexico, home of GLASSplash co-founder Jeffrey Valdez, another east-coast artist was also drawn to use glass in lieu of canvas. Rebecca Salsbury James was a self-taught American painter, born in London, England of American parents who were traveling with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. She settled in New York City, where she married photographer Paul Strand. While her early works utilizing reverse painting on glass were floral still lifes, once she moved to Taos in 1933 the local culture began to influence the subject matter of her works as she incorporated tinwork and colcha embroidery into her compositions.
Nowhere does history, art and glass come together better than on the walls and windows of Santa Fe’s beloved La Fonda Hotel. For decades, guests have been enchanted with the whimsical works of Ernest Martinez that grace the multitude of windows in La Plazuela, that feature a folk-art interpretation of flora, fauna and Native designs.
GLASSplash’s “Santa Fe Collection” has been developed incorporating many of the elements that inform both of the founders’ familial backgrounds. “Acoma” brings the unmistakable graphics of Sky City to glass instead of clay. “Navajo” shares the intricate weaving of traditional rug designs onto a motif of undeniable beauty. “Big Skies” and “Vistas” share the beauty of the Southwest utilizing the talents of LA-based artist Rob Remer’s “Atmospheric Landscapes” to capture the inspiring lands of New Mexico.