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oldlady

painting with color - stain or pigment

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attended a meeting with a demo of painting on porcelain on monday.   have always admired the beautiful work  the potter creates that is similar to chinese brush painting .  i learned the secret and realized that it is one that can be shared to everyone.  if you were an art major in school stop reading here.

we have had several discussions with potters from other countries about stains or pigments and i think i finally understand their concerns.   i think they are trying to do exactly what our demo showed.  the color was added to a base glaze that fits the pot and then the color was used as what we in the US would call an underglaze.   it was made by adding about a teaspoonful of a Mason stain to half a cup of the clear glaze.   the mixture was thoroughly stirred to disperse the color and make a very brushable paint.    it was applied to a bisqued pot using varied brushes and techniques.  because the color was mixed into the base glaze, there was no problem with covering the entire pot with the clear glaze afterward. 

it struck me that this is exactly what those potters in europe and the middle east were talking about.  their language included the word pigment  which was unfamiliar to me as being the same as a Mason stain.   without an art education, it has taken me a long time to realize that learning just the vocabulary that formally trained artists use can be helpful.     you guys know that pigment is carried by a medium, it took me years to figure out that one.    monday's demo taught me to think of other kinds of medium.

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this is the only time i have heard of this so i do not know about frit and bentonite.

annamarie uses the glaze she puts on her whole pots and adds colored stains.     period.    it works, i don't know how but the results are beautiful.  some colors do not like the base glaze , cone 10  Shaner's clear, so she avoids the stains that do not work well.   she showed us a series of brushes, most from calligraphy or chinese brush painting that she uses to get the various strokes needed so i know she applies the colored glaze with brushes.

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A common technique instead of underglazes is to add mason stain to propylene glycol and some of  your clay. In this way a pallet of colors can be created that pretty much resemble the final fired color and the artist can paint wysiwyg (What you see is what you get) style on green ware using a known pallet of colors. Same can be done using glaze on bisque as you pointed out. Combining colors and shading using mason stains does have a learning curve as the stain will only reflect a certain color of visible light. Often combining colors this way becomes a muddled non color thing rather than blue and yellow make green type thing.

I know folks who use all techniques as well as final accent with china paint. They have become that good at picking a method to most easily get the look they intend to paint. 

Picture below is one such item with feather painted and eventually glazed with a very clear glossy glaze. I would say in our studio, we spent time making a clear glaze (Matte and Gloss) that behaves well with underglazes and stains and most prefer to detail with propylene on greenware, over detail on bisque and final highlight with China paint depending on depth of result desired. Solid backgrounds tend to be underglaze.

lots of ways  to do this actually.

 

440FB6D8-70C8-449D-8B82-A628B7C1168F.jpeg

Edited by Bill Kielb

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oooh so now i have questions.  (sorry but i dont understand exactly what wares you are talking about? gradations of colour? kinda the feather pot bill posted above?) Because i am really interested in gradations of colour.  1 colour. how do you get that?  do you further thin the glaze stain mixture to get different shades?

Right now I am playing with Oxides. i make a base 50% oxide and 50% GB base. then i thin that base out like chinese ink painting so i can get gradations of colour. i wonder if i could do the same with Mason stains . 

Basically Mason stains are a mix of various oxides right? because pigment basically is some sort of oxide (i mean some sort of precious stone chemical form).  if they are from clay they burn out. but if they are rock based  pigment or created in a lab, then they  usually can withstand high temperature. 

I am going to try your way as i have a few stains available to me at school.  because i am so confused. why is mixing the stain with glaze so big. is it easier to move with glaze?  ive used the 50% mix  to paint on bisque and then covered in clear.  on vertical faces the design does run a bit. (an effect i discovered by accident some people love). other than that i  have faced no issues.  ( i have had issues with black underglaze with too much clear which lead to leaking of blue).

Old lady i had to take a materials class to understand medium. 

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7 hours ago, preeta said:

oooh so now i have questions.  (sorry but i dont understand exactly what wares you are talking about? gradations of colour? kinda the feather pot bill posted above?) Because i am really interested in gradations of colour.  1 colour. how do you get that?  do you further thin the glaze stain mixture to get different shades?

Right now I am playing with Oxides. i make a base 50% oxide and 50% GB base. then i thin that base out like chinese ink painting so i can get gradations of colour. i wonder if i could do the same with Mason stains . 

Basically Mason stains are a mix of various oxides right? because pigment basically is some sort of oxide (i mean some sort of precious stone chemical form).  if they are from clay they burn out. but if they are rock based  pigment or created in a lab, then they  usually can withstand high temperature. 

I am going to try your way as i have a few stains available to me at school.  because i am so confused. why is mixing the stain with glaze so big. is it easier to move with glaze?  ive used the 50% mix  to paint on bisque and then covered in clear.  on vertical faces the design does run a bit. (an effect i discovered by accident some people love). other than that i  have faced no issues.  ( i have had issues with black underglaze with too much clear which lead to leaking of blue).

Old lady i had to take a materials class to understand medium. 

Stains are generally a mix of colorants and stabilizers. The colorants are generally encapsulated  and not soluble. Underglazes are a mix of all that and generally clay stabilizers and  flux which often changes the color of the mixed product.

Stains generally are wysiwyg, what you see is what you get so when painting it is fairly close to picking the colors you like from your pallet and painting as you see it. Underglazes and glazes are often not the same color as their fired color. When a brush artist paints with these it becomes a bit confusing with respect to the final picture, shading, etc....

As to mixing things with the stain, this is usually done as a medium that will hold the stain where you paint it and be compatible with any applied overglaze. Mason stains are basically insoluble powder so folks try and find easy ways to mix them with something compatible so they can be brush applied.

The propylene glycol concoction is generally a medium for using mason stain on greenware. Mixing mason stain with glaze allows one to paint on bisque ware.

All techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. The feather bowl was painted on green then bisqued, clear glazed and fired. The artist used the mason stain concoction so she could paint the near exact color feather she wanted and it would look virtually the same  to her freshly painted of fired.

Almost forgot, thinning definitely  lightens the color for shading.

The bowl is a very precise commission that features the artist so the set becomes a one off consistent painting of high quality.

 

Edited by Bill Kielb

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preeta,   i wish i had the computer skills to put a photo here but i do not.   if you would go to the website, PottersGuildofFrederick.com  and look under "our artists"  find Annamarie Poole.  

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Very cool, @oldlady!! Great to have new tricks!

I think I might have described this technique in a post years ago. I've been using it to decorate on bisque and over glazes, like watercolor or solid color, depending on the amount I dilute the mixture. 

I make "test tiles" of cracked, bisqued cups or bowls by dipping the bottom half in the base glaze, painting vertical stripes of the color mixes (always in the same numerical order as the mason numbers) from top to bottom, then dipping the upper almost-half with the same glaze, leaving a 1/4" gap between that shows the color on raw clay. I do this for every clay body I intend to use the glaze on.

I've saved a few dozen coffee measures (from the days when they came for free in the can) that I put a 1/8 teaspoon of stain into, then add the glaze and some water to brushing consistency. I've discovered that one clear base works just fine with most of my glazes and stains (tricky greens and blacks excepted, they usually have special needs).

@Bill Kielb, that propylene glycol trick for green ware sounds interesting- great tip!

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