What is Porcelain Painting Anyway? How is it done? How do I learn?

China painting, porcelain art, overglaze painting.... you may have heard these terms and wondered. Well, they are all the same thing. Painting on top of glazed porcelain/china (again basically the same thing) and kiln firing that painting into the glaze permanently. Porcelain painting is considered a fine art, and is described by many as oils fired on porcelain. Porcelain was created centuries ago and as soon as someone created it, there was someone right there to paint it.

True porcelain painting is kiln fired pigments into the glaze of the piece. It is not decorating with paints sold at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. You know the liquid paint that instructs you to paint it on and bake the piece in your oven. Porcelain paints come in powder form in small vials. You grind them with oil until they have the proper consistency.

China painting suppliesporcelain paint ground with oil
The brushes used for china painting are very soft and are typically fur.  Synthetic brushes are usually too course and will not allow the paint to stick to the porcelain. The brush shapes may seem a little strange too, but with practice you won't want to use anything else.
 
China paint is very transparent.  Paintings are typically done in layers that are fired between painting. There is a softness, depth, and glow to paintings on porcelain that I have never experienced with any other medium. There is no limit to what you can paint on porcelain. It doesn't have to look like your grandmother's china.
Butterfly China plate hand painted mother of pearl luster by Angela Wisler

China Painting is quickly being labeled as a, "Lost Art". I believe this is due to a few things:

  • A lack of instruction available using today's technology
  • Many of the great artists/teachers have retired or passed away.
  • Information is spread out in bits and pieces and is hard to find.
  • There are very few places to buy supplies.
  • Out of the small amount of instructional material that is available most of it is insufficient and confusing. It doesn't provide enough information to actually learn.

 

I don't make these claims lightly. Believe me, I love painting porcelain and I wish the above wasn't true. I began painting porcelain in 2008 and immediately hit a brick wall when I tried to find someone to teach me.  There was no one near me. At that time, there were still seminars that you could travel to, but I worked full-time and that just wasn't practical.  I collected every book and study I could find and taught myself. A lot of the material I bought was not helpful and required me to just wing it.  I eventually learned and today I am a successful artist, but it didn't need to be so hard. Flash forward to today 13 years later, and there are even less resources, yet I hear from people often that they want to learn and don't know where to turn.

 

That's why I have decided to begin teaching porcelain painting in 2021.

 
I have some BIG IDEAS and am confident that I can make my students' experiences easier, faster, and better than mine.  I hope that if you or someone you know might be interested in learning how to paint porcelain you will contact me

Until next time....

Peace, love, and cookies :)

Angela Wisler 


 

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