China painters apply designs stroke by stroke onto the slick surface of china using thin ‘washes’ or layers of paint, mixed with finely ground glass called flux. Participants say they enjoy the artistic outlet and stress-relieving benefits of the process.
Studies show the benefits of making art include reduction in stress and anxiety, increase in positive emotions, as well as improvement in social networks. Elaine Yielding, who has been painting for twenty years, indicates that she has experienced all of these positive effects.
She is an active member of the Big Country Porcelain Art Guild, which meets monthly for socializing, a business meeting and a program. A program in September 2013 featured a guest presenter from San Angelo who shared about a new technique of rubber-stamping onto the porcelain.
The Guild currently has about 25 members, with 15 or so making it to the monthly meetings. Elaine says she especially enjoys the group’s Christmas lunch where they exchange hand-painted mugs.
Local artists paint items such as plates, cups, bowls and porcelain boxes decorated with flowers, fruit and artistic flourishes. Various teachers also offer classes in china painting in Abilene, explaining techniques like ‘wipeout,’ which is taking out paint to make white highlights.
The estimated cost of a full set of materials for a beginner to study china painting runs between $60 and $100 and includes powdered paints, brushes, medium (oils) and a palette knife. Painters can order a variety of unpainted pieces from different catalogs. Elaine began taking classes when she retired from teaching, and still has her first completed plate displayed prominently in her home.
Members of the China Painting Teachers of Texas who are accepting new students:
Elaine Yielding (325) 793-1941
LuGene Lewis (325) 677-5000
Some of this information was published in the Abilene Reporter-News.