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Lesson 3-b

Painting the Heraldic Design Over a Landscape

Gael Stirler


Step 1. Be very careful not to smudge or scratch the areas that are painted. With a sharp pencil lightly draw a line down the center of the circle as a guideline. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. Cut out half a shield shape about 3 inches high and open the folded paper. You should have a complete shield shape that is symmetrical. Line up the fold with your guideline and trace the shape of the shield onto the plate.

Step 2. Draw a narrow frame around the shield. Add two scrolling ribbons behind the shield as pictured. Draw a horizon line with mountains across the bottom of the circle. The point of the shield should overlap the mountains a little. Draw the heraldry that you want to depict on the shield shape.

Step 3 (I used Dark Delft on this example so I could tell the difference between black and cobalt blue paint. You can use cobalt oxide instead.) Paint the trees in the landscape with a small amount of dark green made from Saffron and cobalt. Paint the mountains Bright Caribbean. Paint the top third of the sky Bright Caribbean. Leave the middle third white, and paint the bottom third Saffron. Paint short horizontal cobalt blue lines over the Caribbean part, lines of Caribbean over the white area of the sky, and Deep Scarlett lines over the Saffron sky. Add cobalt shadows to the mountains and trees. Darken the edges of the sky and the left hand side of the sky to simulate the encroaching night.

Step 3. Paint the heraldic design with the proper colors. If there are any small white lines needed you can scratch down to the white glaze with a clean calligraphy pen in a technique called "sgraffito". You can scratch some small stars in the dark sky, too. I find that sgraffito is easier if the glaze is damp so I go over the spot lightly with a damp paintbrush first. Paint the ribbons and the shield frame with one coat of Butternut and one coat of Tangerine. Darken some areas with Deep Scarlett or thinned down cobalt oxide to create shadows. Outline center, ribbons and shield frame with cobalt oxide or black using a very small brush.


Step 4. Check your work for mistakes and areas that need an extra coat of glaze. Carefully pack the plate in a box with shredded newspaper so that it won't get scuffed in transit to the ceramic shop.

Here is the finished plate after firing.


Go to Lesson 4: Ocean Theme Bowl | Return to Lesson 3: Palmetto border


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Unless otherwise noted all art is the work of Gael Stirler.
AKA Mistress Dairine mor o' hUigin, OL

This page was last updated Monday, 16-Mar-2009 15:36:21 CDT