Saturday, September 13, 2008
A Bit About China Painting
China or porcelain painting is an ancient art. Like any other piece of art, composition, color, design, perspective, etc. all apply. The process which was developed in 1400 AD in China. In the late 16th century Europe was introduced to the process, however, it was not introduced to the United States until 1769. Groups of women would come together in a painting circle to paint tea or chocolate sets.
China Painting is a method of painting on white glazed porcelain. Glazed porcelain comes in many forms, the traditional teacups, teapots and plates, You can also find porcelain pieces suitable for painting in jewelry, thimbles, coffee mugs, even tape dispensers! China paints are an overglaze paint. Overglaze paints are painted on top of the glaze and then the piece is fired in a kiln multiple times. Most china requires 3 fires, some may require up to 10 firings.
Paints are in powder form and mixed with a special oil medium. Each porcelain piece is painted multiple times. Paint is applied very lightly on the piece. The piece is then fired fired. Another coat of paint is applied and the piece is fired again. This goes on, painting and firing, until the colors are vivid enough for the artist. During the firing process the glaze actually opens up to receive the paint. It becomes part of the finish. Additional firing could be required if the artist applies lusters, gold or platinum which are fired on top of the glaze.
Because the paint becomes part of the glaze is the reason china painted pieces will never wear off and are dishwasher and microwave safe (unless they have gold or lusters applied) Many of the china painted pieces resemble watercolors in their translucence. There is no white on the porcelain artist palette. The white showing through is actually the porcelain.
Today because of the time involved to paint a single piece of china and the necessary to have a kiln for firing, not to mention the lack of teachers passing along the art, there are very few china painters. Visit me at: