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Old 07-28-2005, 05:53 AM
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WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

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I have painted two porcelain plates with On-Glaze China Paints, and I would like to show it as a WIP. With China Paints, the porcelain must be fired in a kiln between steps.

I have started with plain white porcelain plates.
My first step is to draw my pattern up in my sketchbook with a 360 degree protractor and a compass. It is unfortunately impossible for me to explain in detail how I have drawn the design up, as it is fairly technical, and would take a lot of photos and technical explanation to cover it all, and that isn't what we are really about in this forum.

When I draw my design up on the plate, I use a fine ballpoint biro in the compass -- preferrably a Pilot or a Bic, as they grab the slick white china better than most other biros.

The square in the centre of the plates is a pad of about 8 layers of paper masking tape to form a cushion for the point of the compass and give it a firm base from which to work. The dot that can be seen on this small pad is the precise centre of the plate, which I find with my compass before starting the design. It is from this point that I place my compass point whenever I am drawing the design from the centre.

The plate is now drawn up ready to start the next step, which I will explain in my next post.

I must explain why there are names at the base of each plate. I was asked to paint these plates as a gift for the Irish singing duo, Foster and Allen. I took step-by-step photos of the plates as I painted them, so the photos could be included with the plates, hence the naming. I was asked to present the plates to Mick Foster and Tony Allen at an official presentation at the Festival Theatre in Adelaide, South Australia, on behalf of their thousands upon thousands of fans from Australia. I have been delighted since giving them these plates to have one of them featured in one of their Videos, sitting on top of Tony Allen's Grand Piano, as he played the piano in the Video. There was also a lovely colour photo in one of their Concert Programmes of Tony Allen's Music Room showing all of their dozens and dozens of Gold and Platinum Records on the walls, with Tony Allen sitting at his Grand Piano, and my Plate sitting on top of the piano. What a wonderful thrill these too things were for me.
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Old 07-28-2005, 06:40 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Thank you for sharing your process with us, Val. This is very interesting and tempting to try. Your work is very beautiful.
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Old 07-29-2005, 05:47 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Thankyou so much Mary. There are quite few steps in this WIP to build it up to the finished piece.

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Old 07-29-2005, 05:51 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

NEXT STEP

The next step with these Porcelain Plates is the Penwork.

I make my own ink with on-glaze powder, mixed with a special Pen Oil. I can mix any colour of the Rainbow this way, but when I pen Cottages I always use Burnt Umber.

I have penned my designs in the centre sections of the plates as the focal points. I always pen absolutely every detail I possibly can with the ink, so that when I add the colour I only need to use washes.

I also pen the technical part of the design, using a light coloured ink, usually Ochre. If I didn't pen this part of the design, I would lose all of my design lines when the plates are fired in the kiln, as biro fires out with the heat.

The Cottages weren't penned on at an angle -- I haven't place them quite straight on the stands and that explains the odd angles.

The plates were now fired at 800 degrees Centigrade, or 1475 degrees Fahrenheit.

More to follow tomorrow (hopefully).

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Old 07-29-2005, 06:19 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Thanks Val This really is going to be a very interesting WIP for everyone.
I have loved Foster and Allen for most of my life ... such easy listening. Its good to know your plates have gone to such a good home.
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:16 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Val, I see now why the plate you posted the other day is a masterpiece. This takes a lot of patience and expertise. Waiting anxiously for the next step.
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:47 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Val, this is most fascinating! As a very very former potter and a lover of ink I am enthralled. I agree with Mary, patience, expertise and a massive amount of creativity!

A question or two. What sort of oil are you using for your pen and powdered colour? Would the oil also help in binding any powdered colors or another dry ingredient. I have some dry bistre here and was going to use water to hydrate it.
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Old 07-29-2005, 11:37 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

CHRIS -- Thankyou so much. And it is WONDERFUL to find someone who knows who Foster and Allen are They are among the world's most longest serving duo without ever having a split or even thinking of it. They are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year as Foster and Allen. Pretty good going in my opinion. They are such great fellows too.
They have both got a lot of my work, and love it, which is great to know.

MARY -- Thanks so much. Yes, there is quite a lot of work in this medium, but then again it can depend on the design being rendered. There are quick and easy ones, and there are the more involved ones like this one is.

ZOE -- Thankyou so much for your comments -- they are very much appreciated. The Oil I use for penwork is especially formulated for on-glaze powder paint, in other words, especially formulated for China Painting. I don't think it would re-constitute your bistre, but then again, I must admit I have never tried doing that. However, I really do doubt it.
I'm sorry I can't be more specific for you.

Thankyou all.
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Old 07-29-2005, 11:49 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Val, your response is most helpful. I understand better that the ingredients you are using are specifically made for china painting application. Wonder of wonders to me!

It is so wonderful to live in a mixed media world and learn new news. Thanks so so much Val for the education.
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:33 PM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

val, these are beautiful and interesting, thanks for sharing your process.
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Old 07-29-2005, 10:27 PM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

ZOE -- You are very welcome

SERRA -- Thanks so much. I really love sharing -- life is too short to keep secrets, and the more we can broaden each other's talents the better IMO.

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Old 07-30-2005, 06:04 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

THE NEXT STEP.

Now that the Plates have been fired in the kiln, they are ready for the next step, which is putting the colour on the Inked design.

Like most Landscapes I start from the back and work towards the front. The sky is the first to be painted, and I have used Delphinium Blue, with a touch of Lemon Yellow at the base of the sky where it meets the trees and house. The sky has a heavier and darker load of Blue at the top of the design, and I have added a few patches of lightish pink into it as well. Unfortunately, these colours can't really be seen in the photos.

Next I shaded the Windmill with Blue/Grey, also not easy to see.

From here I moved on to the Houses and painted the front Walls with Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna and Ultramine Blue, all picked up on the brush together, thus giving the walls a touch of each colour in random places.
The side walls, which on both houses is the side the light is coming from, are painted in Deep Ivory, and shaded very lightly with the same colours as those of the front wall.
The Roof is painted with Dull Red, which gives a nice "old" touch to the cottages. To paint with a bright red would take away the olde worlde charm.

All trees and foliage are given a flat wash of Chartreuse or Yellow Green, then I paint wet on wet, and shade with Warm Brown Green for the mid-tone and Black Green for the Dark tone. I sometimes add a touch of Burnt Sienna to give some warmth to the trees and bushes.

The Verandahs on the houses (the part that juts out from the base of the house is painted in Blue/Grey to represent a slate walking area, or slab of cement.

Lastly I paint the foreground, and this part can be quite fun. I take a larger brush and load it with Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Chartreuse, Warm Brown Green and a wee bit of Black Green, all on the brush at once and sweep it across the plate vertically. I have to keep reloading my colours of course, and this is a good lesson in the right amount of pressure to place on the brush, so that brushmarks are not left each time a new brushload of paint is put down. When the foreground area is nicely covered with very clean sweeps of light browny green colourings, the plates are ready to put in the kiln again for another firing at the same temperatures as last time.

More to come later.

Val.
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Old 07-30-2005, 06:13 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Thank you for this very detailed WIP Val .... it is really, really helpful
Especially the way you did the foreground with one brush. I have never been able to master this yet but I am going to have another go now. Do you turn your brush around and put a little of each colour on each turn or do you use a flat brush .... if you know what I mean
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Old 07-30-2005, 08:03 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

This is so interesting Valchina, I had no idea how much goes into porcelain or ceramics, but besides, you have a magic touch.

Thank you for sharing this with us.
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Old 07-30-2005, 10:33 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

CHRIS -- Thanks so much for your lovely comments -- they are very much appreciated. Chris, I use a flat brush and load into each colour, one on top of the other virtually, and as I pull the brush across the china they blend automatically. It makes a lovely variety of greens and warm browns. Sometimes I will add more of one colour than the others, for instance, I really like to have a lot of Chartreuse (a yellow green), so I load right in to that fairly heavily, and then go on and load the others not quite so heavily. I hope this makes sense

MARY -- Thankyou so much for your comments -- they are so much appreciated.

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Old 07-30-2005, 10:45 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Yes it does make sense Val and I am definately going to try this tomorrow.... in both ink and watercolour. Although I only have red, blue, yellow, sepia and black inks so it will be interesting to see the results. The watercolours should be easier to work with. I'll post the results of my experiments
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Old 07-30-2005, 11:47 PM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Chris, I'm looking forward to hearing your results. I use China Paint for this method, although I have also tried it with Acrylics with a similar effect. Good luck!!

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Old 07-31-2005, 05:55 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

NEXT STEP.

Things are starting to get interesting and more detailed in the technical areas now.

I masked out all of the areas where I DON'T want any paint to touch.
I used a thickish shocking pink liquid which I brushed on VERY carefully, making sure I stayed within the curves and lines and NO going over the edge with this. I waited for it to dry thoroughly, and this depends a bit on the weather and also how thickly the masking lacquer is applied. Actually a thicker coat is better than a thinner coat, as it lifts off more easily afterwards if it is thicker.

Once thoroughly dried, it is ready for "grounding" on the white areas. I used a special grounding oil for china, which is usually the consistency of runny honey, and rather similar in colour too in most cases (depending on the brand). This can be applied with a brush, but you have to be quick afterwards to clean the brush, as the oil dries pretty quickly in the brush hairs (sable or synthetic for this), and it can be a mucky job getting the brush clean. I usually use my finger to apply the oil. I clean my index finger with Metho (denatured alcohol) thoroughly to get rid of any finger oil, and then dip it into the oil jar and start spreading it thinly and evenly all over the white areas. Immediately I'm finished I clean up my finger with Metho, because for one thing it's a necessity, and for another, I can't stand dirty, gooey fingers.

I have pre-prepared a piece of foam similar in size to an inch cube or thereabouts, covered with a piece of pure silk. I use this silk covered pad to pounce up and down on the oil to take up the excess, and achieve a totally smooth finish. It will be necessary to keep changing the silk area to get a clean bit over the sponge from time to time. Keep pouncing until the surface of the oil has turned from shiny to an even dull finish, and the silk covered pad begins to "ping" each time it touches the plate. This is the sound that is needed to know that the oil is smooth and dried enough to take the powdered paint.

Also pre-prepared is a pile of powder china paint in the colour you wish to cover the white area with. Take a Mop Brush (one of those big thick sable brushes with a round ferrule and loads of hair in the brush), place the side of the brush (that is, the smooth edge, not the bristle end) down on top of the pile of powder paint, lift and transfer the powder to the tacky plate. Continue to do this until the entire tacky area is well covered, using a very light touch, so as not to pierce the oil with any bristles.

With the side of the brush begin to work around the area in a circular motion, totally blending the powder in to the oil. When I am completely happy that the entire surface has been well covered with the powder, I very carefully brush the excess powder off on to a piece of clean paper (and this can go back in to the powder vial to be used again at another time). I usually take the plate outside at this stage, to blow on the smooth powdered surface to make sure that every last particle of loose powder has gone. And I have to be VERY CAREFUL not to SPIT on it as I blow, 'cos that will leave a mark

Now the most exciting part starts -- take a pointed stylus or something similar (PLEASE don't use the NIB of your PEN ) and poke it under the masking lacquer, which has dried to a plastic-like surface, pulling a piece up so that it can be taken between finger and thumb or with a pair of tweezers, and pull and lift in the same movement. If the lacquer has been put on evenly and in a relatively decent coat, the plastic like surface will all lift up in one whole piece, exposing your design beneath it.
Clean up any stray bits of powder or unwanted colour anywhere if there should be any, and take to the kiln and fire at 800 degrees C or 1475 F.

Phew!! That was all probably as clear as mud.

Photo 1 shows the plate masked out ready for the oil and powdered colour to be added.

Photo 2 shows the finished result after all of the above has been done.
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Old 07-31-2005, 07:06 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Golly ... I found myself not breathing as I read this. I was so relieved you got the masking off in one piece
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Old 07-31-2005, 09:11 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Val, it is wonderful to see your process. It also is so evident that you've more than mastered this technique.

I have a greater appreciation for those few plates I have that are hand painted and none with this detail and refinement. Can't afford another for sure
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Old 07-31-2005, 09:47 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

CHRIS -- Yes, I must say it is a big help to get the masking off in one piece It is actually a very exciting step, as when the masking is lifted, and the pattern area is exposed, it is a great feeling.

ZOE -- Thanks so much for your comments -- they are very much appreciated. I really do think we all tend to take china or porcelain with a design on it for granted. Someone in the beginning had to design and paint every pattern that is on every plate. It can't just be stamped there without someone creating it first. It really does make our minds think when we realise this. This is x-posted from Pen and Ink and one of the artists there said he will never look at a porcelain plate the same again -- how true
I have been painting on porcelain for the last 24 years and been a Qualified Teacher for 20 years, and I still love it as much as the day I started.

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Old 07-31-2005, 01:37 PM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Quote:
I have been painting on porcelain for the last 24 years and been a Qualified Teacher for 20 years, and I still love it as much as the day I started.
and it shows Val. The quality of your work and your love shine through like a beacon. Thankyou so much for sharing all your knowledge and hard earned technique. I don't think there is anything comparible with experience. God help the future generations. Maybe I shouldn't have said that ..... but it is how I feel at the moment
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Old 07-31-2005, 09:59 PM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Val, I really have no words to express the awe your technique and work cause in me. It does not only require a perfecta knowledge and talent of drawing but the expertise and patience to work with so many material and in such a perfect way.
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Old 08-01-2005, 05:04 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

CHRIS -- Thankyou so much for your very kind comments -- they are so much appreciated. Sadly, there are not enough young ones taking up this medium, and it is very sad, as we would all hate to see it become a dying art. The pleasure and satisfaction I have gotten from it is totally unbelievable -- I couldn't imagine my last 24 years without it.

MARY -- Thankyou so much for your lovely comments -- I really do appreciate them very much.

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Old 08-01-2005, 05:13 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

NEXT STEP.

This step is putting colour in to the large white area between the two coloured areas I covered in the last step.

I brushed on some masking lacquer about 1/2" wide on the coloured sections between the large white area, to prevent them from getting lustre on them from this application.

I have covered the white area with Mother of Pearl, which comes in a jar in liquid form. This can be applied in several ways -- with a soft brush, by sponging on with fine foam, or silk-covered foam, and also with the finger. Lustre is very sticky, and I usually opt for the soft brush or the sponging method. On these plates I used a brush and put the Mother of Pearl liquid on in a crosshatching method -- this gives a better finish and also distributes the colour in a more pleasing way.

After the masking lacquer was removed, the plates were fired again at the same temperatures as previously.

More tomorrow.
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Old 08-01-2005, 07:40 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Oh, that looks beautiful, Val. I wonder to my self how you get all of this applied without brushmarks showing?
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Old 08-01-2005, 09:00 PM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Thanks so much Mary. That's a good question, as brushmarks can be a pest. I use a very soft brush (sable) and a light touch which elimates the brush strokes. A coarser brush and a heavier touch will produce brushmarks which can be frustrating.

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Old 08-02-2005, 05:23 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

NEXT STEP.

In this step, I have covered all of the edges of the design with a paste which is called Raised Paste, because that is just what it is -- it is a texture paste that once applied like penwork and fired, it gives a raised finish.
I put this on with a pen, or a tapestry needle inserted into a clutch pen (where the lead would normally be), so this is another form of penwork.
The design conists of scrolls and dots to form a pattern of one's own choice.
When all of the Raised Paste penwork was finished, I fired at the same temperature as previously stated.

NEXT STEP.

On this step I decorate the Raised Paste scrolling with liquid gold. I usually do this with a very fine pointed paint brush, but also use a pen nib at times, depending on what type of design I have to cover with the gold.

Gold comes in various forms, but the one I am using is liquid gold. It is an absolute necessity to use the gold with brushes, pens etc. that are specifically kept for gold only, so the gold will not become contaminated with any foreign bodies.
Once I carefully covered the Raised Paste with the gold and a fine brush, it is ready for firing again, but gold over Raised Paste must be fired at a cooler temperature to avoid chipping of the Raised Paste, and crazing of the gold. So this time I fired at 720 degrees C.

It is very important to let the Raised Paste and Gold cool until the kiln is cold, or at least very cool before taking it out. A second firing of the gold is often necessary, which is carried out in the same manner as I have already mentioned.

The photo shows the Raised Paste, covered with the gold on all of the edges on the design. I just hope it is easy for you to see.

More tomorrow.
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Old 08-02-2005, 06:38 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Valchina, you have such control over your touch on your work. This is an art where precision makes it or breaks it, I think.
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Old 08-02-2005, 07:48 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

So much work Val but so totally worth it.
Have you ever ruined a piece? Can you recover a piece before firing if you get it wrong?
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Old 08-02-2005, 09:55 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

MARY -- Thanks so much for your kind comments. I think you are right about the precision with this type of painting. If it was just a floral design on a plate, it would be a lot more forgiving, but of course the design has to be placed in a pleasing way, and colours chosen well, but there is much more freedom with a design like that.

CHRIS -- Thankyou so much. I can remember a couple of pieces I ruined. One was a big porcelain tile with a tiger head on it -- I was so pleased with the way it was looking, and suddenly realised that I had one ear coming from the back of his head and the other ear coming from the front of his head However, I managed to do that and not see the problem before the tile was fired, I have no idea. Once it was fired, I couldn't alter it. Anything can be altered before it is fired. That's one good thing about this medium -- if you are not happy with something, you can just wipe it off and do it again, but once fired, that's it.
The other one was a plate with a lot of different techniques in it, and a lot of work. There was a Hummingbird in the picture, and after I had the plate completely finished, I realised that both wings looked as though they were coming from the same side of the poor bird.
I think sometimes we can get too involved and mistakes just pass straight by our eyes.

Val.
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Old 08-03-2005, 05:54 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

FINAL STEP.

I am now up to the final step, and that is to gild the edge of the plate, that is, to cover the remaining white edge on the plate with gold, including the rim.

Once again I am using the liquid gold, as I did in the last step. I brush this on with my gold brush, kept especially for gold applications.
When I paint the fine rim of the plate, I prefer to put the gold on with my finger, as I feel I have much more control over the gold with my finger than with a brush.

The aim is to get the gold ONLY on the rim, and not get any on the back of the plate, or get it on in a splotchy manner, or to get it on to the gold I have already brushed on the 1/2" edge.
I take a brush load of gold from the bottle, and brush it on to the end of my clean index finger (I'm left-handed), and I have the back of the plate resting in the palm of my right hand. I lightly touch my index finger to the rim of the plate, and with my right hand I slowly rotate the plate in my palm, smoothing the gold against the rim with my left finger as I go.
I have to re-load the gold on my left finger from time to time, and then begin from where I left off and continue on my way, until I have been right around the rim. If it is necessary to clean up any wanton gold, this can be done very carefully with Methylated Spirits (denatured alcohol) on a cotton bud or similar. I must admit though, that it feels awfully degrading if there is anything to clean up!!

The plate is now finished, and I put it in the kiln for what hopefully will be the last time at 720 degrees C. It can sometimes be necessary to repeat the gold process, and if so, I go through the same procedure once again as already mentioned.

One thing I haven't mentioned previously is that when I paint on porcelain plates, I always hold them in the palm of my right hand, and rotate the plate in my palm as I paint, in whichever way I need it to be facing. I never paint with the plate flat on the table. My hand is my easel.

Thankyou so much for looking in, and if you have any questions, I am more than happy to answer them.

Val.

The first two photos show the finished plates and the third photo shows what the plates started from.
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Old 08-03-2005, 07:08 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Wow Valchina, this is a complete course and you have bee so thorough and generous with your information. It is a very illustrating demo. Thank you for the time and effort this has taken. I have the feeling that to do something with your superb results, it takes years of practicing. I can just picture you putting on the gold at the end, I am sure you can do it with your eyes closed.

You deserve a great big hand, Valchina, for this.

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Old 08-04-2005, 09:45 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Hi Val,

This is one of my favorites. Have loved watching it progress. Great job. Mary Lou
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Old 08-04-2005, 09:56 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Thanks so much Mary Lou -- I appreciate your comments so much, and it is great to see you here too. You will have to post some of your work for us to enjoy.

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Old 08-04-2005, 01:11 PM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

I'm just getting caught up but I cannot begin to tell you how pleased I am you are sharing this with all of us and how wonderful your work is!
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Old 08-06-2005, 05:52 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

MARY -- Thankyou so much for your very kind comments. I love painting on Porcelain, and couldn't imagine life without it. I appreciate you following this WIP right through Mary.

PENNY -- Thanks so much for your very much appreciated comments.

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Old 08-06-2005, 06:02 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Brilliant Val ... thank you so much.
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Old 08-06-2005, 07:22 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

Val, I'm sure I will keep going back to it. It is a complete class. Maybe someday I will get the courage try something like this.
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Old 08-06-2005, 10:43 AM
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Re: WIP -- Cottages & Technical Design on Porcelain Plates

This should be added to the our sticky
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