Isabelle Scheltjens had been interested in art since she was young. She studied at SISA, the Antwerp City Institute for Decorative Arts and Crafts. The magnificent glass design of her husband Dirk Neefs inspired Isabelle to work with the same material. It took years of intense practicing and juxtaposing countless of pieces of coloured glass to refine her method and truly master the colour theory.
An Unique Technique of Isabelle Scheltjens
She developed a unique glass-fusing technique, whereby pieces of glass in different colors, sizes and textures are melted together at approximately 800°C. This way she developed a new way of portrait making, whereby thousands of pieces of glass in specific patterns optically form an image. Pointillists used small, distinct dots of pure colour on their canvases, placed in close proximity so that they would blur into new colours. Isabelle applies a similar technique, using layers of coloured glass instead of paint. She immersed herself in the understanding of colour and creates her portraits with maniacal intensity – featuring intricate detail, lighting and shadows. Up close we view an abstract image, seemingly unfinished – a captivating combination of bright colours. When viewed at a distance, our eyes fuse the individual pieces of glass into one solid portrait. The time-consuming and laborious technique is the antithesis to the frantic pace of life in a ‘disposable’ society.
Although Isabelle’s modern-day pointillism requires technical craftsmanship, technique is merely a means to an end. The seemingly random forms and colours on the surface of the canvas come together to form a distinct, expressive, tactile image – pointillism reinvented and re-contextualized.