Grace Epstein on wed 25 feb 98
TO ANYONE WHO KNOWS...WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO "WATERCOLOR" PAINT ON
CLAY...CURRENTLY I'V TRIED : UNDERGLAZES ON GREENWARE, COLORED GLAZES ON TOP
OF CLEAR GLAZES, DILUTED MASON STAINS ON TOP OF WHITE OR CLEAR GLAZES, DILUTED
MASON STAINS ON GREENWARE...ANY OTHER IDEAS ?
Gillian Poulter on thu 26 feb 98
The only method you didn't mention was using commercial
underglazes,stains on bisque. I mix these with varying degrees of water
and have had great success. You should first test your various
underglazes with your glaze as some probably will not be compatible.
For example, zinc in a glaze can hamper certain colour developments.
douglas gray on thu 26 feb 98
In message Grace Epstein writes:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> TO ANYONE WHO KNOWS...WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO "WATERCOLOR" PAINT ON
> CLAY...CURRENTLY I'V TRIED : UNDERGLAZES ON GREENWARE, COLORED GLAZES ON TOP
> OF CLEAR GLAZES, DILUTED MASON STAINS ON TOP OF WHITE OR CLEAR GLAZES,
> MASON STAINS ON GREENWARE...ANY OTHER IDEAS ?
I have gotten some interesting results on porcelain slabs or porcelain slip
(cone 10) by using slips, glaze and oxides. The trick is to imagine which parts
of the composition will need crisp lines to articulate the shape, and which ones
you want to blur or mix, and build up your image in stages, raw, bisgue and
For the crisp lines, the ones I want to stay put, I use colored slips, in your
case use the underglazes. These can be applied before the bisque firing and
will adhere to the clay body. Consequently they will not move in the second or
high fire, even if the glaze does run (like wet on dry water color application).
For the glaze i would use a slightly fluid (but still glassy) clear glaze. To
get water color type effects the glaze does need to be a bit runny or slightly
over fired. This will initiate good blurring and mixing (like wet on wet water
color application). If your clear is very stable, you might consider over
firing it slightly. Try it a cone or two higher. To be safe, you might want to
test on a flat surface before you go verticle. Another note, the glaze will be
shiny due to the extra heat. I don't mind it--makes the images look wet even
after it's fired.
After you have applied the clear on translucent glaze, brush oxides or stains on
to create the watery effects in color. I mix my colorants with a bit of
gerstley borate to keep them fluid. Oxides like rutile and chrome, really come
off rather dry if you don't. It might be good to mention at this point, that it
will be difficult to see the crisp slip decoration under the unfired glaze
layer, so you might want to carefully plot out your design layout before you
cover it up with the glaze. I often apply my slip with a slip trailer so that
it leaves a raised edge. This makes it easier to line up my layers of
decoration, when you can't see through that layer of unfired glaze.
At this point you are ready to fire. Fire hot and tip your hat to the kiln gods.
Douglas E. Gray, Assistant Professor of Art
P.O. Box 100547
Department of Fine Arts and Mass Communication
Francis Marion Univeristy
Florence, South Carolina 29501-0547
Stephen Mills on fri 27 feb 98
Over here in the UK we have (and sell) a "universal" medium. Quite what
its composition is I know not, but it is an "extender" with some gum in
it as well. What it does is to make the colour think it is being painted
on paper not bisc. consequently it flows wonderfully. For some while I
did a lot of lettering on bisc plates using a basic "gothic" alphabet,
which was then clear glazed. I used either oxides or stains (powder) and
used the medium instead of water. Couldn't have done that without it!
Once dry it hardens and resists abrasion, and moreover DOESN'T leave a
ring of colour on the top of the glaze bucket after dipping.
Now, I'm darned certain someone out there reading this has a
metaphorical light bulb lit up over their head, and a speech bubble
saying "I know what that is!!!"
So over to you.
Failing that I'm still a shopkeeper (one of a nation of!!)
In message , Grace Epstein writes
>TO ANYONE WHO KNOWS...WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO "WATERCOLOR" PAINT ON
>CLAY...CURRENTLY I'V TRIED : UNDERGLAZES ON GREENWARE, COLORED GLAZES ON TOP
>OF CLEAR GLAZES, DILUTED MASON STAINS ON TOP OF WHITE OR CLEAR GLAZES, DILUTED
>MASON STAINS ON GREENWARE...ANY OTHER IDEAS ?
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own website: http://www.mudslinger.demon.co.uk
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Tim Stowell on fri 27 feb 98
You may have tadjust your methods of applying the colorants. You should
be able to get a "watercolor" look by using one or several of the methods
you've already described. The problem is you are painting on clay using
something different than watercolor paints. Traditional watercolor
painting techniques will not work for a number of reasons. You cannot
"float" the colorants over a damp or wet surface as you can on paper.
We have experimented over the years and at times our designs have had the
"watercolor" look to them. We have used all the techniques you described
and also undergalzes on bisque. The look is achieved by getting the
undergalzes or stains to the right watered down consistency and modifying
your brushes and strokes to lay down the colorant so that it appears to
be a finished "watercolor." My partner is the primary painter so she
could probably explain it better. She would tell you to try different
combinations of brushes and strokes until it works. She uses more brushes
than any potter I've ever seen. Good Luck
Tim Stowell Gerard Stowell Pottery
Stacey Gerard 290 River Street
email@example.com Troy, NY 12180
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Janet H Walker on fri 27 feb 98
...WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO "WATERCOLOR" PAINT ON CLAY...
Hi Grace. I paint watercolors on paper. Lately I've been trying to
paint on clay too. I have some questions first. Is there some
effect you are looking for and not getting? Like wet-on-wet
effects? Or is this a process thing along the lines of "I can't get
this stuff to come off the brush"?
I have no idea about things like wet-on-wet. The closest relative
is maybe mocha-ware where dark acidic oxide diffuses into wet white
slip! (Actually, this is more like a "bloom" than like wet on wet!)
But for actual painting results, I'll share where I am now, which
isn't very far along but might be going in a promising direction.
At worst, it will make you feel like you already know a lot by
- Brushes. As with actual watercolor painting, having the magic
brush seems to be crucial. Big brushes don't work (big fat lines
and messy edges to strokes). Go much smaller than seems reasonable.
Recently I got the smallest size calligraphy brush at Pearl and a #2
Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold series 101. This has been for painting
on and with slip and Mason stains.
- I paint onto leatherhard clay with slips and onto slip with Mason
stains. White slip is an all-over thing so it goes onto the
leatherhard clay with a wide hake held at a very acute angle to the
clay in order to minimize the brushstrokes you get with the hake
held straight up. (Maybe you want those, sometimes they look nice.)
When the slip has set up to the point where it doesn't smear, I'll
paint onto it with colored slips and the small brushes. With the
underlying surface being fairly damp, the slip goes on smoothly.
These slips are opaque though. If you're after a more transparent
(uh, watercolor) look, the Mason stain might be the thing to try. I
suspend a teaspoon of Mason stain in a roughly similar amount of CMC
liquid (30 g of CMC powder added to 1 litre of HOT water and left
for two days to go into suspension). The CMC keeps the color from
drying quickly. Mason stains can be mixed for different colors,
either on a palette or on the piece. And you can soften the edges
of a color patch already on the piece.
This description may sound pitiful to those out there who are really
good at this painting stuff. But this is where I've gotten to and
it feels actually a little like painting. Long way to go. Would
love to hear some other detailed confessions.
Cambridge MA USA
Collier Family on fri 27 feb 98
Just received another tip from a friend. If you are painting on bisque
ware and intend hardening on your paintwork, mix in a couple of drops of
glycerine into your underglaze. It helps keep brush strokes smooth.
Karen R. Betts on sun 1 mar 98
I do not know whether this method will work for your process, but I will
share it just in case...I had good luck with it.
I made plates, bowls and cups in a Utilitarian Design class for my degree
program. the original assignment was to develop a clear glaze from some
existing glaze and then use a technique with which to incorporate this
I was using porcelain which could be fired from ^6 to ^10. The clear glaze
that I developed was for ^6. I had purchased a set of "semi-moist underglaze
watercolors" for decorating. I used these underglazes in a "watercolor
painting process", and as I used them (some of them I used up) I realized
that the colors were the same as the jars of underglazes that I had, so I
put them in a "watercolor palette," allowed them to dry, and then added
water to them so that they were similar to the set that I had purchased.
The decoration on each bowl, cup and plate was a shore scene, so it needed
to have that "watercolor" feel. It seemed to work well, although that may
partially have something to do with the fact that I used to be a watercolor
painter, and therefore am/was used to using the white paper (or in this
case, porcelain) for any whites, and also was used to wetting the paper to
obtain watery washes (for sky, water, etc.)
Anyway, I hope that this will help.
Univ. of FL
4FA w/ Ceramics
Mary & Leonard Christopher on sun 1 mar 98
Grace, and fellow ClayArters...if you want something really simple,
Aamaco makes watercolor paint sets (like the kind you played with as a
kid, except they're underglazes). They have at least two sets, each
with 8 colors to chose from. They can be used on greenware or bisque.
I've experimented a little with them and they've kept their color thru
bisque (^06), but I haven't done the glaze firing, yet. I'll use a
transparent glaze and fire in electric ox to ^5. Should know the
results sometime next week. I'll let you know the results if you're
Virginia Gibbons on mon 2 mar 98
What is CMC? TIA
Bryan Stecker on mon 9 mar 98
You probably have all ready seen that rose, maroon and pink change. Most of
the others are fine. I have used these for at least 10 years and I have
been very happy with the results.
Mary & Leonard Christopher wrote:
> ----------------------------Original message----------------------------
> Grace, and fellow ClayArters...if you want something really simple,
> Aamaco makes watercolor paint sets (like the kind you played with as a
> kid, except they're underglazes). They have at least two sets, each
> with 8 colors to chose from. They can be used on greenware or bisque.
> I've experimented a little with them and they've kept their color thru
> bisque (^06), but I haven't done the glaze firing, yet. I'll use a
> transparent glaze and fire in electric ox to ^5. Should know the
> results sometime next week. I'll let you know the results if you're
> interested. mary