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oldlady

Painting Underglazes On Bisque With Brushes

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maybe none of you have had the same problem i have with painting on bisque with a brush.  if it is easy for you, ignore this.  

 

marcia selsor posted a video today showing linda arbuckle painting her marvelous colors and shapes on majolica glazed bisqueware.  it hit me as a bolt from the blue that the reason her work looks so easy is that the creamy, luscious medium she uses flows onto the pots.  but when i try using a brush on plain, white bisque it sticks, starts, stops and is awful.  

 

after seeing this video, i opened the tiny jars of the same thing linda uses.  but mine were all dried out and could not be used at all until i added water.  so i added water to the colors and still did not have the same fluid brushwork as linda.  then it hit me.   WET THE BISQUE!   we do that when glazing, why not when working with a brush?   it worked, even with the dried out underglaze thinned to a wash after scraping the top of the colors to get some pigment loose.

 

i still cannot paint but the stuff i put on those two things today went on easily, flowed down the brush and moved in any direction i wanted it to go.  i have always wanted to paint but have no skill at all.  at least now, i think i might try again.

 

(i decided a long time ago that linda arbuckle is who i want to be if i ever grow up.)

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sorry if i suggested otherwise, bruce.  i was only pointing out the fact that her brushwork flows and it made me think of how i could make color flow on bisque.  i will edit and correct any impression that she works on bisque without a glaze.  she also works at a lower cone to fire the earthenware she uses.  the important word is "flows".  it was only an inspiration, a jump from one idea to another.

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Old lady,

add some glycerin, a drop or two , to help the the liquid flow better. There are also brushing agents available from suppliers.

Linda was glazing on top of majoica glaze hardened with something either starch or hair spray.

 

I don't think wetting the bisque is a good idea. dampen it maybe.

 

Marcia

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only certain glazes will work for brushing. The glaze has to be harder and not powdery. I add 3% bentonite to my glazes to make them harder. Some glazes I just cannot use for brush decoration-they either flow too much when fired, or they are powdery when dry.

TJR.

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>I don't think wetting the bisque is a good idea. dampen it maybe.

 

What Marcia says is generally true, but I knew a lady who was a water color artist/potter ... She soaked her bisque for an hour before working ... When brushed on, the underglaze acted with the speed and characteristics of water colors ... the work was lovely. She said the bonus was that if she did not like it she could just rinse and start over.

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i guess i cannot write anything that is understood easily.  this is about underglazes in little bottles.  lots of members use them.  they have problems that i am trying to address.  that is all.  i have had that problem for years and think i have found a way to solve it.  that is all.  

 

i dunked the bisque in a bucket of clean water.  it got wet and as i began to work, it began to dry a little, leaving it damp.  if i had started with damp, it would have dried before i finished.  it was such a pleasure to move an entire brushful of color from the beginning to the end. that is all i am saying.  many of us work alone and do not have any resources to consult so may never have heard of this.  it is only a suggestion.  i wish i had titled it "brushing underglazes onto bisque" and i tried to change that but you cannot edit a title.

Marcia Selsor and Babs like this

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thanks chris.  we posted together.

 

what is wrong with wetting bisque?  it will get dry again.  you don't think i am going to wet it, paint it, glaze it and put it into a hot kiln all within 10 minutes, do you?

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Heyyyyy, illustrative potter here! ^_^

Okay, I'm gonna tell you how I personally do my underglazing.

First off, I personally do NOT like ug'ing bisqueware. It doesn't take the colors in the way I like and is a LOT harder to fix mistakes--boo! Plus, firing another time to seal in the colors is a real pain. So, I ug directly onto bone-dry greenware! ^_^ It will change your life, I tell ya! Granted, you can't do it if you want to use opaque colored glazes over the drawing, but if you get a good transparent clear, you can ug different colored clays for yummy effects.

One thing I absolutely love about greenware is that it just SLURPS UP that color like magic. It's so dry and thirsty that even subtle washes show up brilliantly. It also helps to have quality ugs. I personally ADORE Clay Art Center of Tacoma's ugs for bold, thick, even color! But for more subtle washes, Amaco's velvets are wonderful.

I add the color and washes first, then the outline with CAC's baltic black A.

Here's a really good washy example to show you what I mean. This pooch is 75% wash layering, 20% outline, and 5% color.

post-63665-0-84398100-1439048734_thumb.jpg

post-63665-0-84398100-1439048734_thumb.jpg

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 i wish i had titled it "brushing underglazes onto bisque" and i tried to change that but you cannot edit a title.

 

If you want to edit your title, edit the first post and you should be able to see it there. Make sure you click Use Full Editor otherwise you will not see the title box to edit.

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thank you noel, your computer savvy is impressive to someone who barely understands "click here" and usually misses where the arrow goes.

 

guinea, that little pooch is so alive i want to pat her on the nose.  you are so gifted.  i love your work.  it is what i would like to be able to do but cannot get any of my hundred or so brushes to do.  i guess i think that if i just get a different brush, i will wake up as Monet or someone who knows HOW to paint.

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thank you noel, your computer savvy is impressive to someone who barely understands "click here" and usually misses where the arrow goes.

 

guinea, that little pooch is so alive i want to pat her on the nose.  you are so gifted.  i love your work.  it is what i would like to be able to do but cannot get any of my hundred or so brushes to do.  i guess i think that if i just get a different brush, i will wake up as Monet or someone who knows HOW to paint.

The brush guy at NCECA has lured me in more times than I like to admit with that exact thought in my mind ... Wow, if I just buy this expensive brush I will find the talent built right in!

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I fire to cone 6 on stoneware.  Does this mean that to use brushes with underglazes on my pieces that the following should work:?

 

- brush directly onto dry greenware with CAC or Amaco ugs then dip into clear glaze then fire.

 

or

 

-onto bisqueware keeping in mind that not all ugs work well and that  i might have to add bentonite or glycerin to help the flow. Then again dip the piece into a clear glaze and fire.

 

And is it true that for decorative pieces I am wasting energy firing to cone six and might as well get an earthenware clay and fire lowr, which will also give me a wider palette and brighter colors?

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I recently tried, Neil's advice, putting underglaze on at the bisque phase, lete dry before glazing and firing, found, as Old Lady, much easier, painterly to apply and I got comments about the colour being brighter...

Applying underglaze to dry raw ware, or just the dry side of leatherhard can in my experience cause bloating, not obvious after bisque 'but shows up after glaze firing.

Old Lady I thought you were quite clear, it's just we all tend to go off where our brain leads.............

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Babs- interesting. I do 95% of my painting at the greenware and bone dry stages and have never had any bloating issues. Do you mind if I ask what clay and cone you fire to? I use Little Loafers cone 6.

 

Seaweed- if you paint underglaze on greenware you bisque fire it after you paint it then dip it in a zinc free clear and glaze fire it. If you paint on bisque ware the underglaze reacts differently and I have found dampening the surface with water works. I keep a spray bottle handy and keep moistening the surface so the colors will float across the surface better. As to colors for cone 6, I have been very pleased with my color palette choices and would not even consider dropping to a low fire clay.

 

T

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Babs- interesting. I do 95% of my painting at the greenware and bone dry stages and have never had any bloating issues. Do you mind if I ask what clay and cone you fire to? I use Little Loafers cone 6.

 

Seaweed- if you paint underglaze on greenware you bisque fire it after you paint it then dip it in a zinc free clear and glaze fire it. If you paint on bisque ware the underglaze reacts differently and I have found dampening the surface with water works. I keep a spray bottle handy and keep moistening the surface so the colors will float across the surface better. As to colors for cone 6, I have been very pleased with my color palette choices and would not even consider dropping to a low fire clay.

 

T

 

The clay I use would not be relevant to you as I am in Australia.

The bloating occurs for me when I coat the entire surface of the t/c clay with a white underglaze or I guess I am thinking slip and underglaze as the same which in many they are not so my lack of thinking through.

I avoid applying moisture unless to the entire pot surface on dry raw ware as it can lead to cracking..

Y'see Old Lady we are heading off again.

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Old Lady you crack me up!  I too dream of waking up as Monet, if I only had the right brush!  Thanks for the tip about moistening the bisque!  I understood immediately what you were trying to get across.  I have used underglazes on both bone dry and bisqueware.  I find there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.  I like the fact that I can wash off mistakes on the bisqueware and wetting it makes sense.  I will try it next time.

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love this topic. i am just getting in to underglazes.  i like that i can use them either for raku or high fire. I always use them on bisque ware (didn't know you could use them on greenware until recently),  I just use whatever small inexpensive bamboo brushes i have around, but reading here makes me realize i should invest in some better ones for better results.  I always learn stuff here.  thanks   rakuku

 

p.s.  Someone purchased an air pen recently.  How is that working out? I sort of want one.   

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The downside of using expensive brushes is that the bisque surface is very hard on them ... They erode pretty fast with the abrasion. My once favorite brush is now just a blunt end. I now mostly use cheaper brushes and save my good ones for smoother work.

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When I make work for my brush painting instructor, I will either apply a white porcelain slip over the area she will paint or I will wet sand the bisque surfaces with a 200 grit diamond sanding pad to make the surface smooth.  She likes working with a surface that allows for gradation/value in color from the brush stroke. 

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As far as brushes go, I watch for when they go on sale at the end of a run with the artists brushes in Michael's or Hobby Lobby or AC Moore. I have often bought brushes as 75% or more off, sometimes a buck a brush! You really have to watch their discount shelves and be quick.

 

I have a tendency to do more in-glaze work, brushing or spraying stains and underglazes  onto a glazed surface before the firing. This allows me to have changes in color that can be illusive and kind of mysterious.

 

I have used a lot of different commercial underglazes, liking the Amaco Velvets, but there are a great many out there of value for different effects. Experimentation takes so much time, doesn't it!

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If you're firing to mid-range stoneware and have a nice, stable white glaze that dries to a durable surface (we use Coyote White), do some tests applying underglaze on top of the glaze...faux majolica! Usually works best using the underglaze as a thinner wash, think watercolor style. If it is applied too thick, it will not fully incorporate into the glaze and gloss up during the firing. Thickish applications will remain on top of the glaze and be dry/dull.

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