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Marci Blattenberger -part 1

This is the power point presentation and lecture on china painting given by Marci Blattenberger and Paul Lewing at the NCECA clay conference in Seattle , WA on Thursday , March 29,2012

Also, this space will include other filmed china painting events .

Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby marcib » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:57 pm

It was very difficult to cover all I wanted to cover during the short time we had for our presentation , so , in this forum version ,I am adding some clarification . The added text is in italics.
There is also more information on different parts of the forum.A good place to look is in the " Chinapainting Subjects and Techniques" section and in the classrooms.

Also , both Paul and I are available for workshops and I can be emailed as well for more information about technical aspects. ( Contact information for Paul and I can be found in the general thread about this NCECA presentation . )
Marci



Creative curiosity drives many of us to work in more than one artistic discipline and for those of you who are painters as well as potters, working with china paints and other overglaze processes might just be the perfect way to express yourself.

Overglaze is a medium that will never yellow, never fade even left in bright sunlight, and will last forever, provided you keep it from an untimely meeting with a concrete floor.

I come to overglaze as a painter for whom the surface is the thing. We china painters think of ourselves primarily as painters, where the glaze becomes the support for our brushstrokes. Traditionally, many of us have fallen in love with fairly realistically rendered florals, scenes and such, and so a lot of the work created by many china painters tends toward realism…but, as my friend Paul Lewing is fond of saying, “It’s just paint! It doesn’t get to decide.” So, even if your artistic vision is more Duchamp than Degas, more Matisse than Monet, (who, by the way, was a china painter) china paints will still get you to where you want to go.

M64.jpg


China paint is a very versatile medium. It can be applied as sheerly as watercolor with subsequent layers affected by the initial layers of color, yet it can be opaque.

(In this photo, you can see on the left where one area has been painted and fired, then more paint has been applied on top . You can see the original underpainting show through the new color. This becomes even more pronounced after firing , as the paint becomes more translucent. )

M65.jpg


It is generally brushed on like you would any other art medium, but it can also be thinned enough to use with a pen, or sprayed through an airbrush. It can be sponged, stamped, silk screened, printed, decaled. Just about any way you can think of to apply a pigment can be done with china paints.

( In the slide below, the pieces by Judy Jaussaud and Alice Wofford are examples of elegant penwork and Tatiana's work shows off her beautiful use of decals as a counterpoint to her painting.)


M66.jpg


China paint is sold as a dry powder and is mixed with a variety of mediums , depending on the effect needed. In traditional techniques, it is mixed with oils...some that dry , some that never dry and everywhere in between, again ,depending on the result you want...but it can also be mixed with water based mediums, plain water and even sugar water as is seen in Jill Egan's work below.


M67.jpg


The low fire (in the 018 to 015 range) allows for an unlimited palette of color. The color is pretty WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) so it is very much like working in any other painting medium.
( AND you can get PINK easily ! Most colors can be mixed freely with the exception of a handful of colors : reds and yellows can sometimes be problematic and yellows will often fire out the iron based reds. There is a special yellow called " mixing yellow" that will mix well with those reds. The iron based reds tend to be in the orange-red range and have names like " yellow red", " Blood red", Pompadour" among others.

There is another special class of colors called Cadmium-selenium colors which I call " McDonald's packing red" because the strong , vibrant red is reminiscent of the reds used in a lot of commercial packaging.The cad-sels are strong , almost artificial looking reds, oranges and yellows , although there are other cad-sel colors available. They are very delicate and sensitive to contamination from other colors . Adding just a smidge of a non- cad-sel color can cause the color to fire an ugly grey or fire out completely , an effect that can't be repaired.

Cad-sels have names like " hot red" , " fire engine red" , " Christmas red' ...


M68.jpg


Overglaze also provides the opportunity to work with other interesting effects such as lusters and gold.

CHINA PAINT- China paint is mineral based pigment with a flux that melts at a very low temperature. It is basically a very very low fired glaze. It is sold in powdered form and while you can indeed make your own china paint, it is like underglaze color in that you use so little of it, it’s not worth the effort to make. China paints can be mixed with literally any binder which serves to keep the pigment on the piece until it can be fired, but some mediums will allow you to do things that others won’t, so your choice of medium will depend on how you are planning to apply the paint. For example, an oil based medium will allow you to blend the pigment more readily and smoothly, but some waterbased mediums, like sugar water, will dry hard and allow you to paint over it with an oil medium .
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby marcib » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:00 pm

Traditional china painters work in a similar fashion to watercolor artists. We use the white of the clay instead of using white pigment and we paint in very sheer layers, firing in between each layer. This makes the paint very translucent after firing and reveals the layers of paint underneath, allowing for some beautiful color on color effects and for beautiful, glowing skin tones on portraits.

Below are portraits by two modern masters of china painting portraiture: Jane Marcks and Becky Syroka.

M69.jpg


Here are a few of my portraits:

M70.jpg


China paints can also be applied fairly heavily but smoothly, usually by sponging on a thin layer of a very tacky drying oil like fat oil (which is made by evaporating turpentine) and then dusting a layer of dry paint into the nearly dry oil.

( in the pieces below,the solid yellow of Wilma's vase and the solid black of Andreas'
pieces have been done using the dry grounding technique. It is a tricky technique in that any mistakes can't be repaired. The entire layer of grounded color has to be removed and reapplied.)


M71.jpg


They can also be mixed with a matting agent like zinc oxide, which renders the paint opaque and gives a nice, velvety matte contrast to a shiny glazed surface or a continuation of the soft sheen of porcelain unglazed bisque.

( The matt paints or the addition of zinc oxide to normal chinapaints allows the paints to be fired to normal chinapainting temperatures so that they fuse to the surface but still maintain their matt look .

The vellum Pickard pitcher was a special line of handpainted pieces created by the Pickard factory in the US and the look was created by sponging a coating of matt paint over an already glazed piece, firing that and then overpainting with matt paints. At the time that Pickard was producing their hand painted work in the early 1900s to about 1920 , they were importing their already glazed white ware from Europe . )


M72.jpg
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby marcib » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:02 pm

There are other pigments available that I will discuss shortly but first, I would like to talk a little bit about gold.

GOLD- We are all familiar with gold on clay …generally the little rims on fine china but there are several different types of gold, each with their own look.
First of all, YES! IT REALLY IS gold. How much gold depends on the specific type.
The most commonly available gold is called LIQUID BRIGHT GOLD. It has a fairly low actual gold content, although the gold deposited on the china IS 22 -24 carat. LB Gold is actually considered a luster because of its fairly low gold content, and after firing it tends to be very shiny and brassy looking when fired over a gloss surface. It will fire to a more satin sheen over a matte glaze or porcelain bisque. It is a brown liquid and needs a smooth application. Too thin an application will leave you with purple smudges … too thick and it will blister. It can provide some spectacular effects when used as a base coat for lusters.

M73.jpg


In the piece below, you can see the difference in the look of LB Gold over a matt surface and over a shiny surface. The rim on the top bell shows the gold over a shiny glaze and the bottom bell and Alfredo's teapot show the gold applied over a matt surface.

M74.jpg


The rich gold that is seen on most antique pieces is called ROMAN GOLD or PASTE GOLD. It is actual gold powder that is pre-mixed with a binder and sold in small jars or smeared onto a small square of glass. The price reflects the high gold content. It is sold in both a fluxed and unfluxed form. Unfluxed gold will be labeled as such on the packaging .
Unfluxed gold is used over an already fluxed and fired surface, such as raised paste (which I will discuss in a bit) or fired china paint. Fluxed gold is used over a glazed or bisque surface that doesn’t have a fluxed product on it already. Using fluxed gold over an already fluxed surface like fired china paint can cause the gold to sink into the surface, making it dull and not able to be burnished.

M75.jpg


M76.jpg


Roman gold requires burnishing after firing, taking care to not touch the unburnished gold with your fingers until it has been polished. It is traditionally polished using a glass burnishing brush, which is a bundle of fiberglass threads, but most painters now prefer to use either a very fine burnishing sand or baking soda on a damp cloth.


( On the left, you can see the surface of the gold being burnished )


M77.jpg


Roman gold can also be carefully rubbed with a tool called an agate etcher, which will allow for a very highly polished surface.

(an agate etcher is actually a piece of agate stone shaped and polished into a pencil-like point that burnishes the polished gold surface )

M78.jpg


LIQUID BURNISH GOLD- Liquid burnish is a hybrid of Roman paste gold and Liquid Bright. It is sold as a liquid but has a higher gold content than Bright gold, although not as rich as Roman gold.
POWDERED GOLD- You can obtain gold in actual powder form. Because of the expense, it is usually dusted onto a coating of either liquid bright gold or burnish gold and is a very, very rich effect.

POWDERED GOLD- You can obtain gold in actual powder form. Because of the expense, it is usually dusted onto a coating of either liquid bright gold or burnish gold and is a very, very rich effect.

GOLD LEAF- There are a lot of potters who use gold leaf as a cold effect on their pieces, but gold leaf CAN be kiln fired. It just needs to be applied over a fluxed surface to stick. There is a clear flux available or you can apply the leaf over a coat of china paint. The china paint can be mixed with a tacky oil, like fat oil, and when it’s nearly dry, you apply the leaf as you would if you were using a gold leaf sizing. It does not require burnishing.


As I previously stated, ALL of these various golds are actually gold in varying percentages:

Liquid bright Gold is 5 -12 % gold

Liquid Burnish gold is 15-30% gold

Roman gold is 38 % gold
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby marcib » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:03 pm

WHITE GOLD, PLATINUM, SILVER- These are all available in liquid form like the liquid bright gold, only they fire silver. They do not require burnishing. However, the liquid silver will tarnish just like sterling silver will, and repeated polishing will eventually abrade it, so I recommend using the white gold or platinum, which will not tarnish.

M79.jpg


METALLICS- In addition to regular china paints, there are other paints available for overglaze work. They are coated mica pigments, similar to the Pearl-Ex hobby pigments available for scrapbooking and polymer clay, but these have color that will withstand the heat of the kiln. Many of the Pearl-Ex type pigments will burn away. They are available in gold, silver and a limited range of other colors, tending toward pastel colors … and some are available that have a lot of sparkle as well. They are best grounded on because the weight of the mica makes it difficult to keep the paint mixed in a medium.


M80.jpg


INTERFERENCE COLORS- There is also a range of mica-based colors called interference colors. These are colors that, on a white surface, appear like nacre on a pearl with an iridescent surface that shimmers when light hits it. However, when applied over a black or dark surface, the result is a strong metallic iridescence, similar to the effect of sunlight reflecting on a Mallard duck or a hummingbird’s throat.

In the following painting by Chris Balmforth from Held of Harrogate (http://www.held.co.uk), you can see the effect of the interference colors over a black surface.

M81.jpg



In this next slide, you can see the interference effect mostly on black but in the upper left corner, you can see the effect on a white glazed tile when light hits it.


M82.jpg


COLOR SHIFTING MICA- a new, exciting pigment available now is a color shifting mica. It is similar to the interference colors but is very sensitive to thickness of application. Too heavy an application results in a white surface so, at this point, it seems to work best when silkscreened into a waterslide decal. The color shifts currently available are turquoise blue shifting to magenta as the angle of viewing changes, or red to gold, or green to gold.

M83.jpg
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby marcib » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:05 pm

RAISED TEXTURE PASTES- China paints need to be applied fairly thinly to glazes to prevent them from chipping off. This is more apt to happen on high fired glazes (cone 10 and up) than on mid range (up to cone 6) glazes so impasto techniques using just china paint are difficult, but there are things available that allow us to create very strong textured surfaces. All of the texture pastes available begin with a clay base to which fluxes are added… and then additional ingredients are added which affect the “flavor” of the fired paste.

ENAMEL- To potters, enamel is synonymous with china paint. To china painters, enamel is a very specific thing. In china painters’ terminology, enamel contains a lot of glass former which creates a very shiny surface. It can be raised or can be applied more thinly but it fires with more of a sheen than china paints. It is also very prone to popping off of hard glazes and will not withstand multiple fires well.

As you can see in the following slide, enamels can be tinted with chinapaint to add color. they can also be covered with gold or lusters after being fired to maturity .

M84.jpg


The next slide shows some lovely black and white enamel work by British artist Jackie Halhead.


M85.jpg



And the next slide highlights some incredible raised work by Japanese artist , Shuko Kishida.


M86.jpg


RAISED PASTE- Raised paste is the effect most commonly seen on heavily decorated antique ware from Sévres, Royal Vienna and KPM. The paste is yellow in color, fires somewhat matte, and can only be covered with Roman gold. Other golds will fire black. It is a very decadent look. Barbara Jensen is a modern day master of the art.

M87.jpg


Below are some additional examples of raised paste work . The piece to the left ( and the closeup ) is an antique Royal Vienna piece and the other two pieces are by contemporary artists, Frances Davis and Wilma Manhardt .

M88.jpg
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby marcib » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:07 pm

STRUCTURE PASTES- There are various versions of this available, each with its own proprietary formula but they are basically one part each kaolin (probably calcined), zinc oxide, and lowfire frit. They all fire white and opaque, which allows them to be used as is for effect, or they can be tinted with china paints, or overpainted with china paints, lusters or gold. Some fire shiny, some fire matte, some fire as applied, some break up into little nuggety textures. Most will allow you to also fuse bits of glass to the surface.

M89.jpg


I like to use dichroic glass a lot in my work but stained glass will also work well… and you can also recombine broken pieces sculpturally for a different type of effect, taking care that the recombined pieces will not shift in the kiln when firing.

The vase below shows a vase that I dropped and took a large chunk out of the neck of the vase. I layered two broken pieces of round Christmas ornaments over the chipped area using structure paste as the glue and also covering the sharp edges with the paste. I added some pieces of dichroic glass into the wet paste and then also added some visual lines with the paste. After firing to cone 015, I covered the white paste with Liquid bright gold and refired to cone 016.

The two small boxes were done with lusters and then a small porcelain jewelry piece was added to the top with the paste. I painted the jewelry piece, added some dichroic and fired. ..then covered the paste with LB gold on another fire.


M90.jpg


The two pieces below are portraits that I painted and then enhanced with structure paste , dichroic glass and gold as above.


M91.jpg


NON PING™- This is a structure paste that fires translucent, almost transparent when thin and like milk glass where thick. It can be applied very heavily and can even be applied very impasto with a palette knife. The translucence allows you to create a faux pate-sur-pate effect when fired over a dark surface, giving you the ability to create very sheer effects. It can also be tinted with china paint, used to hold pieces of glass, or overpainted.

The sheer effect of the fired paste is easy to see in the fish fins... but it is also possibly to apply Non-Ping very heavily as can be seen in the mountain tile on which the paste was applied with a palette knife in a very thick impasto technique.


M92.jpg


Pate sur pate technique with Non-Ping by Shuko Kishida.

M93.jpg


more incredible Non-Ping work by Shuko Kishida. The orchid dimensional porcelain plaque was made by me ( Marci Blattenberger ) and Shuko painted the lovely portrait and then mounted the freeform plaque on another tile on which she painted her amazing dimensional lace work enhanced by the Non-Ping paste.

M94.jpg


continued at : Marci Blattenberger - Part 2
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby eganj1 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:22 am

Really enjoyed reading this marci, thanks for including my work in your presentation, I'm flattered ;bravo; ;thumps;
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby wilma » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:14 am

Marci, this is the most wonderful presentation on China Painting I have see in the 33 years I have been painting. Bravo and thanks.
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby Marle » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:39 pm

marci, this is just magnifeco!! you are one cool cat.
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Re: Marci Blattenberger -part 1

Postby marcib » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:34 pm

Hi Jill,
thanks and thanks for letting us use your images. We needed to have very strong paintings to illustrate our text and we were very pleased to be able to include yours.

Hi Wilma,
Thanks ! This was the perfect chance to show potters what could be done with overglaze and we had a lot of interest , which was wonderful ! it was a good day for chinapainters .

Hey Marle,
Thanks..... and .....meow ! .....................(purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)
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