China school day two started before dawn, when Karen pulled our horses out of the kiln.She carried them up to the studio while we slept. They were waiting for us at our work stations when we climbed the stairs at seven AM.
It was so neat to be able to hold them without worrying about disturbing their paint. We spent a good chunk of time admiring our work!
Then Karen handed us each a microfiber cloth, and instructed us to wipe our fingerprints off our models.
We carefully placed our models at our stations, and joined Karen at the center table for our second China painting lesson. The topic for this session was hand-painting, particularly in regards to shading, dapples and roaning.
China paint is made from ground mineral compounds and flux, which is finely ground glass. The powdered paint is mixed with a wet medium, in this case glycerin.
These paints do not dry on their own, so ceramic tiles make perfect palettes.
You can apply the paint with any brush, but the best brushes for blending are deerfoot stipplers.
The first thing Karen showed us was how to shade our fired basecoat.
While it's possible to use a dry brush technique to add shading on top of the basecoat, it's much easier to blend two wet colors into each other. This is done by gently tapping the colors together with the deerfoot stippler.
To add dapples, Karen uses a liner brush to apply a darker paint in an irregular honeycomb type of pattern.
She then softens the dapples with a small, dry stippler. Finally, she cleans the excess paint from the center of the dapples with a small, wet brush. The goal is to create crisp but soft dapples that embrace the "random chaos of nature."
After Karen's demonstrations, we all tried out the hand painting techniques on a demo horse.
Then it was back to our work stations and our own horses. Remember that whole "snot on glass" thing? That's no joke. Hand painting china is hard!I spent most of my time adding shading to my horse's face, but I also did a little work on his neck and rump and painted his braids flaxen.
Fabian added primitive marks to his horse's legs...
and gave him a nice dorsal stripe.
Angelo worked on dapples.
Karen spent some time working on her gorgeous big Boreas, but mostly, she helped us fix our mistakes.
My guy lost a little bit on paint on his face when he was put into the kiln. I tried to fix this a paintbrush, but it was impossible. Into the spray booth he went!
and Angelo's horses need similar attention. What can I say? China painting is hard!
After several hours, they were all ready to go back in the kiln.This gave us a much needed, six hour break before our third and final session. There was still a lot of work to do, and time was running short!