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China Paint & Overglaze, by Paul Lewing

“China painting is for little old ladies and children in orphanages? Right? Ha! Paul Lewing presents an awe-inspiring, breathtaking book that not only covers the surprising history of china /overglaze painting, but shows the work of many artists, the enormous possibilities of the technique, while explaining it in great detail. A must have . . . even if you do not ever plan to china paint!” —Lili Krakowski in Constableville, New York, USA

“An absolute feast! The most complete book I have ever seen on overglaze, for both china painters and potters.” --Marci Blattenberger, co-founder Porcelain Painters International Online

“ outstanding compendium on the subject of china painting. It should become the standard reference book on the subject ...a must have book for those interested in this art form.” --John Hesselberth, co-author of Mastering Cone 6 Glazes

Product Description

Invented in 9th century China, coveted in 17th century Europe, treasured in 19th century America, and neglected by art schools for more than 100 years, china painting is poised for a revival with new materials, new forms, and new imagery. China paint, fired at the lowest end of the ceramic range, offers consistent, durable, predictable color, from the brightest hues to the subtlest gradations. Any effect that paint or ink can achieve, china paint can duplicate.

For the ceramic artist interested in exploring this robust medium to the lifelong china painter, “China Paint & Overglaze” is the essential text. This groundbreaking book is the first to showcase the work of traditional china painters, contemporary potters and clay sculptors together and includes many unique features on every aspect of an exciting and colorful medium.

From the Preface to China Paint & Overglaze

“I came to china painting from the world of studio ceramics, but I was a painter first. I started painting with oils when I was eight, and sold my first painting at ten. Throwing on the wheel seduced me away from painting, but not for long. My pots soon became as much about painting as pottery could be. When I quit throwing to concentrate on tile murals in 1986, china paint attracted me with its brilliant color, fine detail, and quick firings.

“I have never had any lessons in china painting, so I have always done a lot of things wrong, especially in my commitment to water-soluble mediums. In writing this book, I have tried to cover the traditional methods and materials completely, while also detailing how I do things more unconventionally. I don't pretend to be an expert in the use of the more esoteric overglaze techniques, but I hope I've covered the basics well enough to get you started. I also hope I've encouraged artists to try overglazing and china painting in new ways. I believe the question should never be, Will this work? but rather, How can I make this work?

“Those readers who are used to decorating with underglazes and glazes will need to embrace several new concepts to use china paints effectively. Once you get these, the medium becomes a real treat to use. First, think of it as paint, not as glaze. Any effect you can achieve with any form of paint (oil, water, acrylic, or latex), or any kind of ink, you can achieve with china paint. You can have any shade, hue, or tone you desire, and you can tell before it's fired exactly what color it's going to be, with very few exceptions.

“Second, it doesn't have to be finished in one firing. Many effects can only be developed slowly. There's no limit to how many times you can refire a china-painted piece. This medium, and this book, is based on the concept that the glaze firing is only an intermediate step in the creative process. Third, you can wipe it off as easily as you can put it on. Once you get used to painting on a hard, slick surface, you'll find you can do things you can't do with any other medium.

“This book differs from most books on china painting in that there are no studies to copy, and no lessons on color theory or design. I don't intend to tell anyone how or what to paint. What I have included, in as great a depth as I can manage, is a comprehensive telling of overglazing's long and fascinating history, and a serious study of the ceramic chemistry, with particular emphasis on color development and safety/durability issues.

“The medium is ripe for another renaissance. It needs the raucous energy and freewheeling experimentation of the typical studio clay artist combined with the discipline, control, and technical mastery of the typical china painter. It needs new imagery, applied to new forms, with new techniques and materials.” --Paul Lewing, Author of China Paint & Overglaze

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