SHERIDAN — Earlier this month, The Brinton Museum opened an exhibit celebrating Paulette Kucera, a local artist who has spent the past 20-plus years working in a variety of mediums but is best known for her work with stained glass.
Ken Schuster, the director and chief curator at The Brinton, said he has been impressed with Kucera’s work for almost 20 years and saw the exhibit as an opportunity to highlight her art.
Though Kucera has done a lot of commission work, Schuster said the pieces featured in the exhibit are recent and created for the show at The Brinton.
Kucera initially learned to make stained glass pieces during a six-week class at Wagner’s Art Supply in town, and in 1990, she made creating stained-glass works her full-time job and opened her business, P.K. Custom Stained Glass, in Sheridan.
“It’s a fascinating medium,” Kucera said. “The hardest part is waiting until you’ve got it together enough so you can lift it up and look. Because the light coming through the glass always makes it look so much different than it does lying flat on a work table.”
Considering how light can influence the appearance of the glass works, Schuster said The Brinton was deliberate in how it arranged the exhibit, which posed a small challenge as most glass works are designed to be backlit; in a gallery the pieces have to be lit from the front. But Kucera said she has reviewed the exhibit and is happy with how it turned out.
“If you get light bouncing off a white wall through a piece, it’s almost as good as setting it in a window,” Kucera said.
Recently, Kucera has been focusing on a new medium: fused glass.
Pieced stained-glass works resemble the stained-glass windows commonly found in churches and involve designing and cutting several individual pieces of glass and fitting them together. With her fused glasswork, Kucera said she places glass pieces together and then heats them, which causes them to blend together.
Fused glass pieces require a bit more planning, as the artist has to anticipate how the various colors and pieces of glass will interact when they blend together. Through practice, Kucera said she has learned how some colors and chemicals will interact, but the results can still be unpredictable.
“You don’t always know what you’re going to get or how much of a reaction you’re going to get,” Kucera said. “But you get something; you never know until you open the kiln the next day.”
Kucera is also a painter and has worked with watercolors for more than 20 years, but her work in that field has evolved as well. Schuster said when he planned the exhibit, he was expecting Kucera to submit watercolor paintings and was surprised when she presented The Brinton with oil paintings instead.
“I haven’t seen oils from Paulette before,” Schuster said. “…But you can see she’s evolving and getting her own signature look with the oils.”
Though she has not worked much with them until recently, Kucera said she learned oil painting in the early 1990s but devoted most of her time to painting with watercolors. Lately, however, she said she has a renewed interest in oil painting and has some new ideas she is exploring through that medium.
The exhibit is scheduled to run through Aug. 26.