The art of overglaze painting on porcelain or china painting, as it is commonly known, had
its beginnings in ancient China. It continued to gain popularity in the 1800s in Europe,
especially in Germany and France where many factories employed skilled artists to
handpaint their wares. The art was brought to the United States in the early 1900's where
it became a very popular pasttime till about the 1920's. There was another resurgence of
interest in the art in the 60's and today there are still small groups of china painters
preserving and passing along their knowledge of the art.
It is an overglaze process, which means that, unlike its sister arts of pottery and ceramics,
all of our work is done on an already glazed piece, using the glaze as an oil painter would
a canvas. Many of you have seen pretty handpainted pieces in antique store and flea
markets, some of you have family heirlooms painted by a great grandmother or a favorite
aunt and the lucky ones have someone in the family who either has painted porcelain in
the past or is still actively doing so....but the number of china painters worldwide is very
small in comparison to the number of artists who practise other art forms and it can be a
long and fruitless search trying to find another china painter ...much less, a teacher.
We are hoping to change all that here at PPIO. We are hoping to make porcelain
painting information and other porcelain painters easy to locate via this incredible medium
of the internet....and to that end, we present our first in a continuing series of lessons on
china painting: NOTE: These lessons are not meant to be a substitute for a good teacher.
There are some things that are difficult to describe that are much easier taught by
watching a knowlegable teacher, like the correct texture of the paint...and there is nothing
like being able to create under the watchful eye of a teacher....but they can be difficult if
not impossible to find in some we hope we can fill in the gap with the
information we present here.(Also , please sign up for our FREE china painters mailing
list where the answers to any and all of your questions are just an email away!)
ANOTHER NOTE: Also, be aware that there are as many ways to paint on porcelain as
there are artists and for the most part, there are many different ways to accomplish the
same thing. There are also many different techniques for getting different looks. What I
present here is MY method of painting. It is by no means the ONLY way.....
First, here are a few examples of some of the many styles of china painting...
In my lesson, I will be discussing the "american" style of painting:
Above: American style piece with
softly blended background

Right: Dresden-type piece with one-
fire flowers done in tole-like
Left: a contemporary stylized
piece designed and painted by
PPIO charter member Gene
Patterson titled "Three Kings"
Above: a small contemporary box
created by Marci Blattenberger
with luster, dichroic glass and
porcelain fusion

Above: an antique piece, artist unknown, painted in the American style
Right: contemporary portrait (12 x 16 inch porcelain tile) painted by (and from an original photograph by) Marci Blattenberger ...titled "Mary's Reflection"


*On-Line lessons and lesson pages are the property of PPIO
and the contributing artists and may not be reproduced
for distribution without permission from PPIO

Page Design by Marci
Porcelain Painters International Online (PPIO)