I have been painting Christmas ornaments (using enamel paints) for weeks now. The first set were wild birds (one is pictured above and another below) that I sold at a local art show, and also have for sale at a local store (Wild Birds Unlimited).
For those who would like to make their own: the paints I use are FolkArt enamel, which is permanent, reasonably priced, and works on glass and any other surface. I have been getting orders from people who have seen these; and also commissions to paint pet portraits (cats).
I love making these; it makes for a unique tree topper!
I’ve decided to try hand painting ceramic cups with oil-based sharpie markers and baking them. The first two, I baked at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. The second two, I baked at 350 degrees for the same time. Here’s the result:
chickadee and cardinal mugs
I had seen recommendations for both temperatures online. At the higher temp, the colors bake out and turn grayer; I also lost my whites (they turned yellow on the jay). At the lower temperature, the colors retain their bright hues.
I then tested both batches in the dishwasher, and they all came through fine. Although if I give them as gifts, I will tell people “handwash only.” So, I learned some interesting things about painting cups.
I did have a friend commission four cups for her mother, after she saw the ones on the right. And the great part is that the cups are inexpensive; I bought them at thrift stores for 25 cents each; I got a set of 8 blue cups at this price, and 2 white mugs.
I am very pleased that some of my art was accepted at Art Reach Center in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. They have some wonderful art there, and it’s well worth visiting if you are in the area. Kim, the Director, is very knowledgeable, and has her own art there.
Yay! Now my art is at three galleries and one gift shop (Ludington Gallery and Gifts, which is selling my cards after two weeks, and wants to move the display to the front of the store). The owner there, Karen, is really nice. Plus, the beach is great, and the restaurants….
I have a friend who is an avid bird watcher like me, so I decided to experiment, and paint a bird cup for her birthday next week. Here’s the result:
I first painted the chickadee with acrylics, then coated it with several coats of clear enamel paint. I know that ideally, I would paint the bisque ware with ceramic paints and fire it, but didn’t have time. I also bought some oil-based sharpie markers (the kind that you bake), I plan to experiment with them, and will share the results in a few weeks.
Anyway, my friend never goes online, so my secret is safe. And, it was a lot of fun to paint!
Photo credit: chickadee is based on a wonderful photo by David Slaughter at Wet Canvas artist’s forum, in their reference library ( I am a member of Wet Canvas, and can’t recommend it enough). Since this was a private gift, and not a gallery sale item, I didn’t use one of my own photos for the reference.
One of the harbingers of spring in Michigan is the arrival of the rose breasted grosbeak, a beautiful bird. A few days ago, my roommate got a good pic of one, so I had to paint him. Here’s the result (sorry about the glare from wet paint on this):
Birds of Michigan: Rose Breasted Grosbeak, oil, 11 X 14