In my family we like to kick off the Christmas season by decorating our tree, enjoying a plate of Christmas cookies and watching our first Christmas movie of the season! I have a stack of our favorites…Rudolf, Frosty, the Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone, the Grinch, Elf, etc! This year the boys picked The Christmas Story and we plan to work our way through them all this month!
I needed to create some sample windows to take photos, so I can show my clients visually what the difference is between windows painted from the interior vs exterior. So, I incorporated some of our favorite “Christmas specials” into my own home windows this past weekend! I still plan to add a few more characters in the coming weeks, but here’s what I have done so far! I also did a little bit of experimenting with glitter paint!
Are you unsure whether you want your windows painted from the inside or the outside? Ask your artist as they may have recommendations based on various factors. If you want it to grab attention from the outside, exterior painting may attract the most attention. However, if your windows are not on ground level where an artist can easily reach them, it’s too cold to work outside, or you’re worried about weather damaging them before you want them gone, an interior painting may be better. Read on to see some visual examples of the differences!
Both interior and exterior paintings have their pro’s and con’s. As you can see below, the Grinch & Max aren’t QUITE as bright and bold as the others, because the window is still creating reflections in front of the paint. The other characters, however, block reflections because they are painted over the exterior glass. However, interior paintings can be a bit more interesting viewed from the inside too, not just the outside. They can also give a fun stained glass effect at night when the light shines through.
Painting on the OUTSIDE to be viewed from the OUTSIDE
Painting the exterior is generally my preferred method…when the temperatures are nice. Minnesota’s winter temperatures, however, do not play well with paint or liquids in general, not to mention the physical toil it takes on the artist. You have to wear more layers, bring more gear and take more time to create the same design you could paint in the summer. However, we had a nice 50 degree day last weekend, which was perfect to squeeze in this exterior paint job before the temps dropped! Below you can see the process I use for an exterior paint job.
When I paint on the exterior, I start with a white base. This is what really makes the colors pop. It also ensures that you aren’t wasting a lot of colors going over something again and again to achieve a bright, opaque look. Then I add the main color fields, and finally I do outlines and highlights.
As you can see below, it’s not really meant to be viewed from the inside. (the left is a view of the window from inside the house…the right is outside) This doesn’t normally matter to businesses because their goal is to catch the attention of passersby outside, not inside.
However, there are some applications where you might want the painting viewable from the inside…for instance, if it is meant to be enjoyed by residents in a nursing home or kids in a daycare center.
Painting from the INSIDE to be viewed from the OUTSIDE
Interior window painting is ideal for the artist during those colder months. The paint flows and dries better when it’s not frozen, and designs also are easier to remove when the water isn’t turning to slush! It also is a good way to keep your artwork protected from wear and weather if you have issues with that. However, painting something on the INside that is meant to be viewed from the OUTside is a trickier and more time consuming process. The reason is that you have to work in reverse…if you make a mistake, you can’t just cover it up with more paint, because it’s being viewed from the other side. Basically you start with the outlines, highlights and shadows, which is something you do at the end of a traditional exterior painting, and work backwards, doing the main color fields last. It takes lots of confidence, more precision, and more layers of every color to get the bright, opaque results.
Above you can see the view of this interior painting from OUTSIDE on the left, and from the INSIDE on the right. As you can see, it looks nice and crisp when viewed from the outside, as is intended. However, it looks a little sloppier from the inside, just because of the layering method, and because it wasn’t done for inside viewing. Although, with more time I could go back over the outlines again at the end to clean it up from the inside if necessary. Again, most businesses wouldn’t care about this if their goal is to attract attention from outside. Even if you don’t clean it up on the inside, you can make out the design and colors much more from inside with this method than you could with Rudolf above, who looks more white from inside.
One kindof fun side effect of an interior paint job is that it almost lights up like a stained glass window at night, when it’s dark outside but your lights are on behind the art. A design painted on the exterior, however, wouldn’t look so colorful at night because the white base blocks the light from coming through.
Painting on the INSIDE to be viewed from the OUTSIDE AND INSIDE
It is also possible to create a design that is just as clean & crisp from the inside as it is from the outside…it just requires extra time to basically paint the same design twice…once in reverse considering the outside viewer, and then layering again over the top to clean it up for the inside viewer. Does your brain hurt yet? Hehe! If I get some free time I might go over the Grinch painting again from the inside, just to show how that can look…
More examples to come! Stay tuned!
I’ll be putting together a nice visual reference with all this info for my clients in the near future….but first I want to get photos of a design painted on vinyl and adhered to the outside, for more comparisons. Vinyl is another great method for the colder months, because the design can be painted indoors at the artist’s studio, and then applied on site. Stay tuned for more on that process!
Looking to have your windows painted for the holidays? Find out more or request a quote on our window painting page!