Glazing the Boreas Sculpture

Last week I finished the dapple grey “Halfling” (5″ tall) Boreas bone china for client Marilou Mol of Illiniois, and here are 2 photos:

On to the next!
This week I’m glazing one of my “large” Boreas Percheron sculptures in bone china. It will be a dark dappled grey with rose coloring in the coat, (or bay going grey).

The first thing I did was to paint some bay-colored dappling across the back and sides, with the airbrush, and fired it:

Most of this will be covered up in subsequent overglaze layers, but I wanted this subtle texture to be underneath everything. The overglaze paints I use are nicely translucent so this can be used to produce all sorts of depth and subtle details in the coat.

Next, I applied a “dry” coat of overglaze—bay color and then black over that—to one side. By dry, I mean that the glaze is mixed with an airbrushing medium that dries immediately on the china to a powder. Usually, I airbrush china paints with a wet medium that never dries; the horse goes in the kiln wet. But to get the dappling effect I want in this dark horse, I have to use an air-eraser and remove paint where I want dappling to be. This is because we don’t have any opaque white paints in glazes that can be airbrushed on top of dark colors. So anything white on this horse, is the white of the bone china coming through. The air-eraser works exactly like a double-action airbrush, but instead of paint it blows air and baby powder and this removes paint! (In more or less the same way a sand-blaster does.)

These two photos show the layer of powdery glaze applied, and the areas of dappling that I’ve “painted” (removed) using the air eraser, before going in the kiln:

Because I’m not yet sure what color I will want the tail to be, I removed all the paint on that, too. The horse looks kind of uniformly “brown” because of the matte-looking powdery paint, but there is both black and bay shaded into it which will show up when fired.

I can only work one part of the horse at a time because my back and hands get tired (painting with the airbrush and air eraser requires intense fine work) and the danger of making a mistake in the paint or bumping it becomes pronounced. So I will be working around the horse with the paint and air-eraser, and firing after each session. It took about an hour to do the work shown in the 2 photos above.