At the Halfway Point in February

I thought I’d share the progress on the December essay contest prizes. They are all just about finished. The Hadrian has the most work to go yet; he’s going to be a light rose grey. I decided to challenge my air eraser a bit and so he has a lot of really fine dapples. They don’t show up well in the photo but I was very pleased with how fine I was able to “draw” them. The Boreas head just needs the eyes done and a shot of airbrushed pink on the muzzle. Same with the Lucas Studio pin, they just need the teensy spritz of nose pink!

I’m happy to report that all my various health tests came back with good results. I am not a toxic waste dump of heavy metals after airbrushing glazes for 6 years! And all my other routine tests show that I am in superb health for a 49-year old. Interestingly, we did discover that my thyroid is slightly under-functioning. Which is quite common for middle-aged women for some reason. The very interesting thing is that I don’t have any of the typical symptoms, so I am on a daily thyroid pill now and waiting to see if all of a sudden I feel like the energizer bunny! Because some of the issues include lack of energy, sluggishness, mild depression, and weight gain! I do wonder if my lack of enthusiasm for art work recently could have been tied in with that somehow. I guess we’ll see!

During the course of all this fact-finding about my health, I did some web searching on the materials I use in glazing. One of the more interesting ones was that isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is really pretty bad for you if you ingest it. However, ethyl alcohol, the kind used in the food industry and in cocktails, is not. So I am experimenting using cheap VODKA as my liquid for making my airbrushable overglazes!! (Might as well go with what I had on hand…!) The mix so far needs a little tweaking but other than my spray booth reeking of booze, I think it should be working fine. A friend also suggested denatured alcohol which is another kind of ethyl alcohol which might be cheaper so I may check into that too. The dappled bay Caprice will be the first china horse to come out of the booze-glaze program! (Hmm, I think that concept is ripe for a funny name of some sort but I can’t come up with one.)

And don’t be alarmed, anything I mix with the overglaze pigment powders totally burns off in the kiln. It’s merely a delivery system for the color which sinks into the gloss finish permanently. People use all kinds of different oils in chinapainting; it all depends on your technique and the look you are going for.