My Love Affair With Overglazes

Here’s a good example of why I love painting ceramics with overglazes.
This week I’m painting a “Desperado” bone china sculpture by equine artist Stacey Tumlinson. To paint this highly detailed mane with overglazes on the glossy finish, I can apply the paint and do all the blending of color without worrying at all how well I “stayed within the lines” of the sculpted mane.
desp2 desp1
This is because the pigment is carried in an oily medium, and when I have the color the way I want it all I have to do is take a dampened paintbrush and remove/wipe away the paint in places it shouldn’t be. The oily paint can be moved around so smoothly on the gloss finish and it holds edges and draws ultra fine lines with amazing precision! (So precise, that I now paint details wearing reading glasses so that I can see the area under better magnification.)
I also use a range of specialty paint brushes like this feathered brush above, which is a very flat brush with an uneven toothy edge. I just drag it across the edge of a painted area (like this crest of the mane) and it feathers the paint out exactly the way mixed colors of mane hairs would blend into the body. Instead of drawing in the individual hairs (which I could also do if I want; I’m limited only by the fineness of the brushes available) I can get a very fine crest of blended hairs with with just a few strokes of a brush in a few minutes.

The overglaze paints don’t dry, so I can blend and work them as long as I want. (Or start completely over by washing it off if I don’t like the way something looks.) And then just pop the piece into the kiln to forever fire it into the china!

There have been some production delays on my own bone china sculptures from England, and I’ve had to place some commissions on indefinite hold. Instead this month I’m glazing some chinas made by others (like the Desperado). I’m also overglazing two re-issued Hagen-Renaker china Arabians, which will be for sale when finished, so watch this blog for sales news on those!