Porcelain dates from the 18th century. After Europe discovered the secret of making "white gold", porcelain factories sprang up all over Europe, and it 1732 the painted decoration of it was mastered using enamel colors fused to the porcelain by kiln firing at select temperatures.
Barbara Strzepka began painting on porcelain while an art teacher at West Seneca school system and has continued honing her art for many years.
Porcelains are selected warily as others select their canvases or watercolor papers, watching for flaws in the porcelain surface. Painting surfaces are called "tiles", "blanks" or "plaques" and are generally about 1/4" thick in a variety of sizes from France, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Portugal, and Poland.
Pigments are powdered mineral colors that Barbara must grind manually with oil. Oil is also used to make the pigment adhere to the slick surface of the porcelain while painting.
During the firing process, the colors mature and fuse with the softened glaze of the porcelain while the oil burns off. Porcelain and painting become one. Firing temperatures range from 1300 to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit depending on techniques used.
While many artists favor a "one-fire" technique for the sake of expediency, Barbara prefers "multi-fires" to bring out the depth of colors and color transparencies.
Surfaces of the porcelain are also decorated with enamels, lusters, pen work, sgrafitto, raised surfaces, and metallics like gold and platinum. When her painting is judged to be complete, then it is ready for display or professional framing.
Framed porcelain painting can be hung on a wall, and unlike watercolors and oil on canvas, is impervious to fading in light or darkening with age.
Barbara is a member of the NYS Federation of the World Organization of China Painting (WOCP), the International Porcelain Artists and Teachers Inc. (IPAT), and the Canadian Porcelain Artists.
She is a certified Master Artist and Teacher byIPAT, and is privileged to apply their logo decal on her work along with her registration number to identify her work for posterity.
Having had one solo gallery show and two group shows, she continues painting on tiles, pendants, and decorative pieces often used as gifts or donated to charity raffles.