Ellen Mandelbaum

About the Artist

About the Artist


All of my work is about light. “I paint with light.”

My stained glass glows with transmitted light and color.

I make my gilding with the sweep of my hand so it reflects the light.

In my watercolors I respond to the light that gives form to a transcendent landscape.

My commissions help to create an environment for people’s real use and offer the possibility of focus and serenity in a stressful world.


Mandelbaum works in watercolors, stained glass, oil paints, and gilding. She has exhibited internationally and her art has been featured in several one-person exhibitions at the Queens College Art Center in Flushing, NY and in a one-person show at Gallery35 in Manhattan.

She is internationally recognized for her innovative stained glass commissions. These include installations for The Queens College Art Center, Marian Woods Retirement Facility in Westchester, and a thirty-foot high window for the South Carolina Aquarium.


View Ellen’s complete Resume »


The technique of making contemporary painted glass goes back to the Middle Ages. I use basic leaded glass technique. The glass is already coloured and comes in big sheets which I buy from several local suppliers. The glass is usually mouth blown, called ‘antique’, and made in France, England, Germany, and on the West Coast.

Basic Leaded Technique:

First, I make a design to scale and then translate it into a full-sized layout called a cartoon; patterns are cut from this. I select each color of glass for each pattern. The glass shapes are cut with a cutter with wheel, similar to the one the hardware store sells to cut window glass. The glass pieces are arranged according to the layout and held together with lead of different widths. These are soldered together at the joints then the glass is puttied and cleaned.

Glass painting is a special enrichment of this technique. I paint with metal oxides which are held together temporarily by gum arabic and water in a tempera-like consistency. My brush strokes and painting methods are, of course, particularly personal and contemporary. The glass is held on an easel or light box so I can see it against light while I work. Then the painted pieces are fired once or more in a kiln at 900-1200 degrees F for total permanence.