The Rev. Dr. Jesse Brown Jr.
Our beloved "Answer man"
On Monday, June 17, 2002 , the members of the PPIO chinapainters mailing list received the sad news that one of our most beloved members, Jesse Brown , went home to be with the Lord. His passing has left a big void in our group that will never be filled.
.I can't even remember a time when Jesse was not here online with us...He
was Charter member # 69 and was, without a doubt , one of our biggest
supporters. We made him an honorary lifetime member because of his many
many contributions to the list and PPIO both online and behind the scenes..
Dear Answer Man: How do you fill the very big hole that you left here
on the mailing list? ................Answer Man? ...........Answer Man?
.................................... Rest well, dear friend .....and put
in a good word with the Big Guy for all of us... ...............We love
you and will miss you!
Jesse had a big heart , great wisdom, a quick wit and a magical way with words and he always knew just what to say to make us smile ( and to put the list back on track when we got carried away with petty squabbles .) One of our listers said that Jesse was a great leveler And so he was.
Back in April, 2002,
I received another of Jesse's emails and this one described his impression
of Vi Lane's work:" I've seen
her roses with tendrils searching for ways to flatter their mistresses
and her flowers that seem to burst trying to fill some sort of vision."........My
reply to him was: "DUDE!!! You NEED to write a book! You have such
a wonderful sense of humor, a terrific sense of the absurd and your prose
is a delight to the eyes!!!! You need to write that great American novel!
START typing, bud! :OD Ill even get you started:" It was a dark and
stormy night......" ( heeheee) I do this for selfish reasons! I can
already picture the immense pleasure of curling up with a hot chocolate
and a novel by J. B.Brown.....Seriously, you have such a glorious way
with a phrase...and it should be bound between two hard covers and a book
jacket! So GET TO IT!!!! :OD .....marci " ...............Alas, the
Lord had other plans for Jesse and that book was not to be.......but ....
Scroll down to read some of Jesse's other emails to the list,including the China Painters Prayer.
Note that many of these should be read while keeping your tongue firmly in your cheek...and with a LARGE grain of salt...
Obituary from the Aiken Standard
The Rev. Dr. Jesse Brown Jr.
A poem written for Jesse
by Della Manley
For Jessie's Dear Wife and family and also to his family
of friends on the Internet.
Jessie, The ANSWER MAN
Oh, Jessie, you taught all of your china painting friends
Although your face most of us never did see
Oh, Jessie for the china painting list friends that you
Why In The World Do I Paint?
I've been swinging that brush (at least in class) for about two years now and there are times when I look about our group and I see Jean's (our teacher's) brush whisper about some painting like a gentle zephyr hovering over some desert place --and with that ever-gentle stroke it slightly touches, say, a leaf. If the leaf could speak, it would probably say something like "did you feel that kiss?"
From time to time I despair that I will never learn to fluff or add that intangible fru-fru. "Not to fear," says she, "I've been painting for twenty years." Ha. That means when (or if) I ever get that good, I'll be over a hundred (well, almost).
So, why do I paint? I look about and see others painting for various reasons. I can see it in their manner or hear it in their voice. Some paint for winning fame. Some paint for hopes of gain. Some paint for recognition. Some paint for new renditions. What about me? I paint for my own amazement! Whenever my piece comes out of the kiln, I'm totally amazed that I can sometimes recognize it for what I had in mind. When I paint brown over green, I'm totally amazed that some weird gray sometimes greets me. When my piece emerges from the kiln and I'm ready to call 911 on its behalf, I'm amazed that with several deft strokes my teacher can make it live again. Yep, I'm painting for my own amazement. One of these days, one of my paintings is gonna come out of that kiln so beautiful that not only will the class hear my gasp, but in their awe they will say in unison, "Now, that's amazing!"
China Painter's Prayer
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001
|On the value of PPIO
Some time ago I wrote a list of the reasons why PPIO was so helpful to me. I was thinking about that yesterday and decided to bring my own thinking up to date and maybe share it with you. Just what value is the PPIO mailing list?
* PPIO loosens the cords of tradition. Many rules and regulations of the past simply need not apply to porcelain painting today. For example, the temperature at which it is suggested that we fire is certainly changing. The chemical structure of mediums no longer has to have the famous three ingredients. In fact, today's mediums may contain no copaiba, no clove oil or no lavender oil. Perhaps of greater import to me is that today's mediums do not have to stink (excuse me, smell).
* PPIO introduces me to new methods and techniques. Some of these broaden my horizons and some set me off in entirely new directions.
* PPIO lets "secrets" out of the closet. People who share on the list seldom hold back as to what their technique or style or mixture or process is.
* PPIO shows me extreme versatility. For example, with my 7-UP I can drink it or use it as pen oil.
* PPIO gives me the results of someone else's research (Betty Turner, for example) so that I do not have to test all of these things myself.
* PPIO shrinks the world. In one mailing I can determine what something means from the Netherlands to Australia to the uttermost parts of the world. I could have gone through life having the incorrect idea about pasties.
* PPIO introduces me to new products. I could have gone on wishing that someone would make a refillable pen that writes gold. I wish that one that writes black or brown would appear.
* PPIO gives me sources. Ann Cline or the folk who run The Good Stuff and others beckon me to come into their stores and taste their wares.
* PPIO has stimulated writers. Several folk have decided that they can do lessons or tips and tactics and collate these ideas and make them available to the group.
* PPIO avails me of dates and places where seminars or workshops are taking place. Sometimes reaction to these give me an idea of what's hot and what's not.
* PPIO can also take me behind the scenes (if I pay my dues) and show me so many benefits that lie behind that portal. I also know that by paying my dues that I'm helping provide all this free stuff. I keep being reminded that this entire project is user oriented.
I suppose I could go on and on but I'm not trying to be exhaustive (nor exhausting). But I hope that while you're counting your blessing (or even re-counting them if you live in Florida) that you'll give a quick praise for PPIO.
Jesse (the e-male kind)
|Subject: I owe (crazy dream)
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999
|Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2001
Subject: Rehash - By request! (on art criticism)
I've been thinking about taking these communications to E-Bay for selling, but they're just too valuable to me. But since I have these old documents in my possession, I will share them with you, my friends... All of them are from judges of art.
"Dear Mr. Michelangelo,
"Dear Mr. Sergeant,
"Dear Mr. Wyeth,
"Dear Mr. Wildlife Painter,
"Dear Mr. Brown [this letter to me really hurt my
From my personal collection of famous rejection slips...
Sent: Saturday, November 20, 1999
Subject: My Creed
MY PORCELAIN PAINTERS MAIL LIST CREED... by Jesse B. Brown
* I shall realize that our mail list is a privilege and
not a right.
This is my creed! Do you have one?
|Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2000
Subject: Ma & Pa Painting
AN ENCOUNTER WITH CHINA PAINTING (a letter from my folks down South)
Howdy. Just thought you'd like to hear about Me and Ma China painting. We never did this before so we ordered this kit with all kinds of supplies in it. Well, almost everything. I did have to send Ma out for some tiles. We got one of them China magazines with instructions about how to do it. We'll just mention the hot spots, as cousin Susy Mae says.
BLEND THE BACKGROUND COLORS TOGETHER: Don't know why they
make us want to do this but who are we to argue? We took them colors in
the kitchen and put'em in the blender. They was blue and yellow and red.
It came out kind of an ugly gray. Why don't they just have you paint on
gray in the first place? We smeared in on the back of the tile where they
said to do the back ground first. We just thunk that the back ground was
the side closest to the
FEATHER THE EDGES. Now where in the heck can a city boy find a feather. I chased a pigeon around the park to borrow a feather - until this policeman caught up with me.. I told him I was looking for a feather. He asked, "Who are you, Yankee Doodle?" I never did doodle. Fact is, I have a hard time reading. But he did help me find a feather.
POUNCE THE COLOR: Shucks, we didn't know what pounce means. We got out that book that tells what things words are [my nephew gave it to us for Christmas in 1958] and it said, "The claw of a bird of prey." That made sense 'cause they make a kind of track when you drag it across what they call the back ground. So Ma goes out to the hen house and grabs the old rooster. By holding him just right we got that old bird to put his claw on the paint. Him jumping up and down shore looked funny. He didn't notice the feathers that fell out with all that jumping around. He shore could pounce.
QUICK AS A WHINK: We figured that stuff was kind of like Geritol for when you get tared. Well, we thought along about sundown that we was tared and needed a bit of refreshment. We opened that bottle and Ma took a quick sip and I took a swig. It Was just a little sip but it sure did create energy. Ma passed me doing about 20 miles an hour; then I took a swig and passed her. We all have drunk some powerful stuff (Uncle Henry makes it for us) but that Whink is quicker than them all. It am well named, but we ain't gonna use that stuff no more. And we shore don't recommend ya'll using it. It can get downright mean. We thought about giving the bottle to Uncle Henry. Ma thinks it'll make Eleanor who is his old mule plow faster than she does with his stuff.
KILN SITTER: We didn't get how to go about this job in our kit and China book didn't say nothing about it either. We was kind of at a loss as to how to handle that situation. We went to the super market and put up a little sign, where all them want ads hang out, trying to find out if anyone would be dumb enough to come and sit watching that stupid kiln. We got calls from baby sitters, dog sitters, geriatric sitters, house sitters, and all kinds of other sitters but no Kiln Sitters so we figured we'd do it ourselves. We cant understand why any body needs to sit thare watching it anyway.
FIRST FIRE IN KILN. We found this old kiln way back on the property. It is this big mound of dirt with a place to build a good wood fire under it. I stuck one of them cone things into the ground as far up as I could reach. Can't figure out why they call them cones. They were more like them piramids over in that other country. Ma thought they may be like a skinny teepees but she aint never seen no teepee neither. Well we put a little tile in there and fired her up. Three days later We blew out the fire and dug out our tile. That little cone thing had just shriveled up and died. Don't guess it was much good. It's fearsome. We read about gold in that China book. Ma loves gold. They say it has to be burn ished with sand. So, we're gonna use gold next time since with all that sand we got lying around out hear the barn. We can "burn" it and "ish" it at the same time. We take to that burnish stuff. But sitting three days while that darn thing makes me and ma burn, too.
SAND BETWEEN FIRES: This is darn peculiar. It was a mite difficult to fire that tile and head back to the shed to hook up the sander and sand the stupid plate off. Put it on and take it off! Must be real hard to please these China people. Can't make up their mind.
SECOND FIRE & THIRD FIRE: Gee, we got so darned tired of digging out the dirt and putting that tile in for all them fires. It took nine days, all tol. Why can't them China painters make up their mind and do it all together. Looks to me and ma like they get tired quick. Must have never worked on the farm. Maybe they're old people and can't do too much at one time anymore. Or maybe them folk from China just ain't up to us'ens.
I RELIEF: We kept at this painting stuff so long, (mostly putting on and taking off) our eyes were about to pop out. So we dug out the envelope that said "I Relief" and rubbed it in our eyes. It didn't keep them from stinging but it did seem to help them stay open. It's a shame that someone don't know how to spell "Eye." Don't want to insult him or her who sells this stuff but we wander about it.
Well, we finally finished that tile and it didn't look half bad. And we got no idear why you paint the back ground cause you cant see it noway. We knewed that's where it were cause like we said before , when you looked at the tile the back was toward the ground. The tile did get a bit chewed up from the sander, but you could tell what it was. Well, we could've if we remembered what it was when we started but what with all the going and coming and putting on and taking off it kind of got away from us what we intended to paint. Next time we gonna try them lusters. Ma says that don't sound Biblical to her. She thinks that anything with lust in it, can't be too good. I'd kind of like to find out for myself. We really love them China magazines, but we're awful proud they rewrote them in English. I don't know how to read Chinese and Ma dont neither. But the instructions are real clear once you get the hang of them. We can't wait to do another tile but we're so tuckered out it'll probably be a while now. We saw some skunks looking at our kiln like it would make a good house for them. Ya'll keep doing them magazine instructions coming, now, hear?
ON PORCELAIN PAINTING Date: Thu, 14 DEC 2000
|Subject: Happy PPIO Day!
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2001
Happy Birthday, PPIO, and many marvelous
Sent: Thursday, October 22, 1998
But it seems to me that we perhaps need desperately to be involved in discussions about "What is art," or "What about decals?" or "Is it OK to copy?" or "Which something is best..." Yet, when all is said and done, a lot more is said than done. It boils down to these discussions helping us to do our thing and know where we stand on an issue and think/do what each of us can live with. For after the dust clears, that's where the action really is, isn't it?
I sometimes buy a print of someone's picture. I buy it
because I like it. That's all. I do not buy for speculation or investment.
I know I'm not getting the real thing but I can live with that. I knew
a lady who tacked Sunday bulletin covers on her wall because they were
pretty. I thought they were pretty, too, but the wall was tacky - yet
it was not my business and that's where she was. I have several plates
that have beautiful "decals" made from paintings. Some of them
represent an original painting so intricate that I can only dream of how
much time the original must have taken. If that artist dealt only with
originals, he or she might put out two a year. If I could paint a plate
and some company wanted to make copies of it and sell thousands for $35
or so each and give me some decent percentage of that, I'd jump on it
in a second. But I'd be real disappointed if someone sold one to me one
of those plates as an original and I bought it for that. But if that happened;
then, maybe I ought to ask myself if a con artist didn't just catch a
sucker. who said that it's only a greedy person who gets caught in a scam?
That's not always true is it?
If I'm as honest as I can be and can solve for myself
what my personal moral values are in painting, then I'll do what I can
do and allow others to do the same. I'll keep on cussing and discussing,
but I know deep inside that the primary value of this is for me to rehearse
my own integrity. In the final analysis, fine art is what the community
decrees; not what I wish. Maybe when I die I will then be appreciated
but I'm not banking on it. Remember what Ecclesiates says:
A time to paint;
A time to criticize;
A time for decaling;
A time to buy;
A time to take nourishment;
Let's continue the discussions and paint the town red;
Subject: I'm Dead ( Jesse's take on health hazards in chinapainting)
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 2002
I just want you to know that I appreciate knowing that just about every thing is dangerous to my health. Of course, I always vent the kiln, raise the windows, turn on the fan and go on vacation when I do put something in the kiln but I felt so fearful about the danger that I got in my car to go get some medium that would be as harmless as a baby's breath. On the way to the store I got behind a bus whose exhaust was blowing motor oil right up my nose. That sent me to the hospital to get carcinogenic soot removed from my proboscis. The doctors suggested always wearing a mask and rubber gloves while I'm in the world. After three days, I rose from the bed and continued on my search for the perfect medium. I certainly don't want "Kilning Me Softly" sung at my funeral. I've heard that Propylene Glycol is bad. Too late I realized that 1% of that stuff was in my eye drops that I dripped on my cornea. And the irony is that I didn't real need them anyway because just thinking of all these bad things brought tears to my eyes. I was telling Vangie about this last night while we were cooking out and she said, "Do you know that eating a charbroiled hamburger is equivalent to smoking 27 cigarettes?" Now, Vangie is good with figures but not always with numbers but who am I to argue? I retired to my work space to experiment with various fiberglass pads. My neighbor whizzed in and saw me doing that and said, "What are you doing? Trying to kill yourself? Don't you know that stuff gets in your lungs and does all kinds of mischief?" I mean I threw that stuff down so quickly you'd think it was a mesh. I was really nervous. I picked up this piece of old curtain material to clean my hands and wipe my face. Ooooopppps. Unfortunately, it, too, was fiberglass material I used to shine gold. Now it's too late. The damage is probably done.
I don't want to die. I want more birthdays because birthdays are good for me - the more birthdays I have the longer I will live. I've discovered a few rules that help my understanding. If it's odorless, it's probably bad for me; if it has any smell, then it activates all my allergies. If it's liquid, I should look at it with caution; if it's not liquid, it really makes it hard to spread the paint. And speaking of paint, if it's lead-free, it's usually anemic in color; if it's not lead-free, then I can be pretty sure that I'll get lead poisoning. If I stay in the room with the kiln, I will get zapped; if I don't stay in the room with the kiln, it will burn the house down. I thought this was all so NEW but then I sat down to tell a story to my grandchild. I asked him what he wanted to hear. He said, "How about Henny Penny?"
|I ran across this specific email from Jesse
and thought some of you might like to reread it. It really shows how much
he thought of this list. I copied and pasted it in its entirety.
August 15th, 2001 . . . .
Did you know that that's the day set aside as PPIO APPRECIATION DAY?
This day was chosen because it will be a very hot day somewhere and reminds us of the hot tips gained on a day-by-day basis. I call your attention to this special day because very few people have heard of it -- for example, my wife. Even Marci and Betty don't know -- but that's what happens when folk like them work so hard behind the scenes making such an important contribution to this art that they are too busy to look at the calendar. There are many ways you can celebrate the day.
You can send a bouquet to the founders -- not of flowers but of little dollar bills all folded up to look like a flower -- maybe thirty-two of them. That's all it takes to express appreciation for this group that has meant so much to you.
You can wear the Patch -- It's a Patch that says, "I
Quit!" When folk ask you what that means you can say that you quit
having the "hitch-hiker's View" of things. They'll say, "What's
that?" You can reply (if appropriate) that you will no longer use
somebody else's car, somebody else's energy,
You can even determine that you will spend as much time researching how to send in Plain Text as you spend in searching for a special picture or technique. That would be a great gift to all PPIOers. Wow, would it be!
You can lift up that painted cup with a toast to a long and prosperous reign for PPIO.
And if you're one who does not celebrate special days -- folk will love you anyway.
|Sent: Thursday, September 10, 1998
Subject: Just stuff!
Pointed Q-Tips: Great helps. But in another life-time I was heavy into photography and in order to make some money (while in seminary) learned all I could about the "Coloring or Tinting" of photographs. Marshall still makes the oils and pencils for this process. In fact, they seem to be making something of a come-back. Anyway, in that process I had a water glass container full of different sized pointed skewers and a container of cotton balls. Just pull off a little whiff of cotton from the cotton ball, lightly wet the end of the skewer (I put mine in the mouth - no paint really touched the skewer) and quickly placed the cotton over the tip and a quick smooth and twist motion downward (harder to describe than to do) and you have a great painting tool or wipeout tool (or whatever) in various shapes. You learn to pull as much cotton off your cotton ball as you think you need for the action required (thin or fat). The "about six inch long" wooden skewers were easy to hold and did a great job. The diameter of the skewers can vary to toothpick-sized diameter to maybe 1/8 or 3/16. It takes only about 15 seconds to make these to use. The cotton then slips right off (with a tug) and it's ready for the next quick change. This is easy to adapt to china painting for your imagined uses. You can purchase the skewers in food places (maybe even the grocery) and the cotton balls in a pharmacy or many other places - all easily created and used.
Alice: Here's The Skinny: I haven't the slightest idea from what this term actually derives but my guess is that it's a cousin of skinny dipping. In the old days (among people who are old now) you will remember going skinny dipping in the pond or creek or whatever. Skinny is simply the bare essentials - or in our parlance, "the bottom line," or that "low" term (at "see" level). More than likely, when skinny dipping and desiring to "moon" someone, this probably gave rise to the term, "Bottom's up." :-) Try it; you'll love it - just chose carefully which to try.
Underwear: I've been painting in my underwear for years. It gives me a freedom of expression that I cannot find otherwise. Besides, it keeps me from wiping my hands on my trousers. When my underwears get worn and need replacing, I merely cut them apart, mount them on rather small stretcher frames and sell them as art from my wild side. People never know the truth. If you do this, be sure to buy basic white or an ivory color. It's much harder with wild patterns. Ooops, almost forgot. It works better with boxer shorts than jockeys.
Jackie K: Computers: They are definitely not religious. If anything, they are in cahoots with the devil and like you say, they demand their due and their pound of flesh.
Colette: Beautiful name. Love those French names and British voices. Fell madly in love with a lovely young lady (LeFevre) in early high school. It was un-reciprocated but it has not daunted my appreciation. My wonderful wife of 42 years says that I may look at the menu but I cannot order since I discovered that She, too, was a lovely young lady - and now is a mature, lovely lady and deserves so much credit for putting up with a very weird husband.
Gail: Pregnancy: While we lived in Massachusetts, about 25 years ago, I got my finger caught between the trailer hitch and car hitch (ball) and cut off the tip (hanging by a gristle hinge). So, went to hospital and had same sewn back on. A copy of my bill came and as I was looking over this it caught my eye that the insurance company was charged for a pregnancy test. I went to the hospital and got in line to talk with the money people about that little error. In line I started talking with people and discovered that they were all there to protest some error (from supposed tests being taken) on their bills. The hospital was running a scam of some sort in the padding of bills. They thought that "Jesse" must have been female and decided to add a pregnancy test to get more from the insurance company. I never did find out the result of the test.
Subject: Answer Man's Retirement
Sun, 27 Aug 2000
Let me tell you of my most recent frustrating experience. I went to the Belly Deli and asked (innocently enough), "What's in your baloney?" The sweet young thing behind the counter said, "Baloney." I replied, "Young lady, you don't have to get fresh with me. All I was asking was a list of the ingredients in your baloney. Inquiring minds want to know." Again she uttered, "baloney." I admit was a bit miffed. If I'm going to use that stuff at least there ought to be a list of ingredients somewhere on that white wrapping paper. I came home and saw my dear wife doing her wifey things. I knew that here was a kindred spirit. "Hey, Honey, what's baloney?" She said, "Ha!" I said, "I'm serious, my dear." She smiled and said, "It's sort of like one of your sermons." "Whatyamean?" "Well," said she, "Baloney is such that you can cut it anywhere and it's the same stuff." I kid you not. From now on I'm going to give a list of ingredients for that stuff I preach. No plain brown wrappers for my users. No sir. I don't want the responsibility for someone getting sick off my stuff and not knowing why. I'm gonna say, "What you hear today, dear folks, is a mixture of blood, sweat and tears, results of many years and a little bit of ...
Y'all have a good day.
Jesse (The Male Kind)
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000
We've had a good marriage for some 44 years. I know that I promised to marry you for better or worse but I didn't know it would all be down hill. I remember when we retired and bought our house. It was then you became interested in China Painting. First, you filled the basement with blanks for your hobby. Next, you needed one of the bedrooms and then another until we were sleeping on the sofa bed. For my birthday you bought me a trailer to park behind the house. You said it would be fun to rough-it again. I didn't realize your true motivation until I tried to get into the house and there were boxes of blank China pushed against the door and in every available space. I don't think it's fair that the entire house be given over to a China shop. I want you to know that I have bought a bull and plan on storing him in your house of china. You will learn that there are indeed some things that are exactly what they're cracked up to be. When you said that you were giving me sable for Christmas, I did not know that it was brushes. When you said that you were "going for the gold" I was thinking lottery and you were thinking liquid bright. You said something about blending and I thought you meant "getting together." If you keep this up there's something you will have in common with your china -- you will both be fired.
Your loving wife (for awhile)
|Subject: RE: Ann Cline's fish
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001
Ann Cline said...
Our fish have a tendency to rush and hide under the bridge whenever anyone walks up. Well, now Carl has taught the fish to come to him when he rings a bell!! As soon as he starts ringing the bell, they all come rushing out in a big bunch, kinda like a herd of cattle. (This, he did instead of things on his "honey, do" list.)
My cousin did the same thing. Then one day he was watching out the window when a Heron came by and picked up the little bell, put it in his beak and rang the darn thing. All those fish came to the Heron who lived happily ever after.
Jesse (the male kind)
P.S. Just kidding, Ann. Apparently Carl was a Pied Piper in a previous life. Good for him!
|Subject: First Aid
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000
FACT: If you have your porcelain painting supplies with you, you may not need to carry a first aid kit but on the other hand....
FICTION: The other day I was on the way to my porcelain painting lesson when I cut myself pretty badly right over the left eye but being the resourceful person I am, I broke open my china supplies and administered first aid to myself. I was feeling a little woozy so I opened my bottles of lavender oil and cloves and took a sniff. Immediately I lost my unsteady nature. I quickly mixed up some I-Relief and put it around my left visual orifice. I made a little dam for some Whink with which I cauterized my cut. That looked pretty clean so I stitched it with E-6000. Not having a clean bandage, I used Marci's Blue Resist. It was great and later on peeled right off in one fell swoop. You china painters are a mighty resourceful lot and Eye want to thank you for your products.
Jesse (the male kind)
|Sent: Monday, May 15, 2000
Subject: Plein Air Painting
Well, here's the way it happened.
The other day or so I went to the seashore to do some
plein air painting. I set my stuff up on the beach and began to consider
what would be a delicious subject. How about a bird on a plate? Or perhaps
a fish in a bowl? Perhaps something on porpoise? Anyway, as I sat there
ruminating, I watched this little bird at the edge of the water - and
suddenly it hit me. It was one of those eureka happenings. These birds
are the unsung heroes of our world.
Perhaps we need to get out more - at least that's what
my wife suggests I do.
|Sent: Monday, October 19, 1998 6:57 AM
So many questions; so little time...
* What kind of hammer is used with hammered lusters?
|Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 1999 8:36 AM
Subject: Two Cents
Darn, sometimes life just isn't fair. I was just about the put in my 2-centsworth on the subject - any subject. I've paid my dues so that entitles me to put in my 2-cents worth. At least I thought it did until I made a few calculations. I wondered to myself, "Just how much does my 2-cents worth cost?"
Now I'm lousy in math and a thousand other places but if this is calculated correctly (doubtful) this is what I found. We have 7 days a week of list stuff, 52 weeks a year, and 24 hours a day at 60 minutes per hour with 60 seconds per minute. If I multiply all that I would get something like 31,449,600 seconds.
My "dues" are $24.00 per year. By a little hocus-pocus mathematics I came up with the tremendous fact that my $24.00 buys me seven (7) seconds worth of having my say. Good grief, I could never insult anybody enough in seven seconds. So, I thought that I ought to send in enough money to get my true 2-cents worth. Ouch! My discovery was that it would cost me $378.95 to get in my 2-cents worth. That's sobering.
What if the next time any of us were to be down-right unneighborly either to somebody else or to somebody who was unneighborly to somebody else, we got a bill for $378.95? Getting ones 2-cents worth can get awful expensive - not to mention fall-out from all the charged ions in the air. The good thing abut it all is that you get paid when you're loving and helpful and warm and encouraging and neighborly and supporting and accommodating and such. You get paid in good wishes, good vibes, good times, good ideas, good... It pays to be good.
Now, about my wanting to get my 2-cents worth in. I think I'll just forget the whole thing. I'm in love.
P.S. If I've screwed the whole thing up because of my
being mathematically challenged, don't tell anyone. The principle is true
anyway. One just doesn't have enough money here to risk getting their
Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2000
Subject: To the Never Posters
Hello to you who have never posted here before - hundreds of you!
There's at least two valid reasons why you have never, ever sent messages to the China List. One is that you fear you will say dumb things - but this is really OK by me. You be dumb and I'll be dumber - maybe we can get hired by Hollywood. The second reason that I can think of is that you may fear knowing about two somewhat technical things. One of these is to not have the entire list dangling on the end of your message and the second thing is that you may fear that you're not in the Plain Text mode. If you (or anyone else) will follow my instructions I can guarantee that you'll never have the entire list dangling at the end. The way to assure this (guaranteed) is NOT to use the REPLY key at all. On the TO: line just type in firstname.lastname@example.org . That will always cure any possibility of your repeating everybody else's stuff. I cannot guarantee that you will have Plain Text but we'll forgive you the first time, even if you do. And what I'm going to ask you to do will be very short and not terribly vexing even if you do.
I have just realized that there are probably hundreds
of you from whom we've never heard a peep. You're truly a silent majority
(bbbbiiiggg majority). I don't much care what other folk think, I'd like
to hear from you. You're either good, better or best in your painting
talents -- makes no difference to me. But I would love to see you post
a "thing" to our China List. But
I have no official authorization for this venture; I have no one else who is in on this with me; so, I'm sticking my neck way out asking for your input. I know we have a theme of the week and I hope that I'm not taking away from this in any destructive way (I don't mean to and this is just a one-time thing for me). But I know (and you know if you think of it) that less than about (underline about) 20% of the list has ever communicated to the list. I believe that you have something to say or something to ask. Please respond in a manner to which you're comfortable.
Please send a brief E-mail to chinapaint@porcelainpainters. Remember, type that in on the TO: line and Do Not use the Reply key. I would appreciate your making two statements by completing the following two sentences. Here they are:
I wish I knew more about............. (you fill in from there with your own wish).
The other statement is this:
Of course, I'd like these to refer to China Painting. Don't worry if they've been asked before and don't be concerned that the answers may be in some FAQ. If anybody gives us a hard time for this, I'll borrow Marci's big fry pan provided she's not using it on me. Hopefully you will get some answers that are tailor-made to your needs. We owe you something and it's time you collected. And dare I say this? And once you get the hang of communicating, we can learn from you. That's fair, isn't it?
So, will you do that for me (and us)? I'm sticking my
neck out here. Don't let me down. I know it's my own doing, but I'm counting
on your response. I know that there's desire in some of your hearts. Just
do it! Don't leave me hanging here.
P.S. Please excuse me if I've screwed up the address. After I get shot at dawn I'll apologize. But if I do get shot at dawn, please, somebody, jump in real quick and correct same. Thanks. JB
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999
Subject: Secret Recipe
Folks, This entire conversation has embarrassed me, for you see, I am one of those who has created and held on to a secret recipe for my medium. People have asked for this and I have doggedly refused to divulge the ingredients. However, after reading all the arguments against holding onto my secret recipe, I have decided to print it out for you and the entire world to have. So, here it is:
1 Cup turpenoid or odorless paint thinner or fat oil or
thin oil or any other kind of strange smelling oil
There you have it. I sit here literally crying for I really
did not wish to give out my secret but the pressure of the group has simply
been too much. None of you now has to bother anyone else anymore. It's
settled. You've discovered my secret and it hasn't cost you a dime (except
for the ingredients which I guarantee will last 100,000 miles if you change
them every 3,000). This is an immensely versatile medium. You can paint
with it, baste turkeys with it, run your car with it and probably use
it as a poultice when you have a nasty cold. You can get off everybody
else's backs because their medium cannot possibly be as good as mine.
If you find great success with this you need not tell me; just pass the
word on to others (you may not bottle this and sell it under your own
name). Good luck!
I asked just what kind of red one uses to paint the town red. Elinor Skiles suggests American Beauty. Perhaps that is a very suitable choice. It sounds feminine and one that allows for horsing around. So I think I'll corral my filly and paint the town red.
She's the center of my attention;
She's the half that gives me life;
To all the women of my life by day;
|Sent: Monday, November 09, 1998
Subject: Patricia of New Beginnings ( Jesse's words of encouragement to a new china painter )
Hi, Patricia of New Beginings...
I, too, come out of a long background of oil painting and have enjoyed doing portraits in oils, as well as any other subjects that have come to mind. Let me add my piece to the good advice you've gotten thus far. Since I, too, am a new china painter (about a year and a half's worth - maybe two), you can take my experience with a grain of salt (which you can later use on lusters or some sweet thing).
As to mediums. I would suggest that you try what is at hand right in your home to see if any of those serve your needs. I don't see how you can do this without some kind of kiln or immediate and frequent access to one - otherwise, it just takes longer. It has already been suggested that you use Baby Oil for mixing your paints since it works greatly and you can always dab a little bit behind your ears for a delightful aroma. For your painting medium, you can try Olive Oil or if you do not like the aroma, give Canola Oil a try. See if you like the way they spread and determine what drag you like on your brush. If those get you cooking, you've got it made and they're a bit safer when firing. I prefer motor oil - plain and simple. No additives and no substractives. I use #30 weight (non-detergent, Kendall, because that's what they had on the shelf) but I don't think it makes a plug nickel's worth of difference what you use if you find one you like and it works for you. I personally like the drag on the brush from the motor oil that I do not find with the "kitchen oils." I like a wide-open medium for just about anything I do (especially coming from a push-it-all-around oils background) and I haven't found a need to add copaiba or clove or mineral oil or anything to the motor oil. Don't understand why others do (especially mineral oil or copaiba. I could see adding something to make it close, but I don't care about that in most of my painting, but heck, others must (?) have a reason for doing that they're doing). NOTE: Betty Turner will tell you that motor oil gets toxic when firing. She's always correct (and that's the absolute truth). I just open the windows, turn on my little (probably useless) air filter, turn on my ceiling fan to high, set my stuff and leave the room. I can see from a distance. Just about anything that fumes is going to have some toxic matter or problem particles of some kind. Just play as safe as you can. If you start off with lead-free paints (several vendors carry these) you never have to ask questions about their safety or worry about it.
If you want a medium that is water-based, you might try mixing your dry paint with glycerine or alcohol (again found around the house) then use water or soap as your painting medium (Gene Patterson, another endangered species male, is pioneering the use of soap). Again, try these and see if you like them. These will tend to close, which is very different from a wide-open medium. And if you mix with a drying medium, just mix enough for each painting time.
If you try both "home" approaches and care for neither, go ahead and purchase a medium from any of our fine and reputable vendors and have at it.
From the experience of an old oil painter let me say that my greatest adjustment is patience (note the present tense). In oils I was never so precise, I could move the paint until it became pretty much what I wished. In China painting, what you do on that first fire points to the direction that the entire project is going to go. So, the important elements are to learn your strokes but one of the hardest for me IS the brush control I need to achieve delicacy. You absolutely have to have a light hand (for the traditional way). There is one word that you have to learn and then you must learn how to do it - that word is "Fluff." In many instances the layer of china paint must be completely smooth so to "master" fluff is imperative. Other little niceties such as "fru fru" will come as you go along. You will discover that there is a secret language that china painters use to throw us beginners off our rocker. Oh, they'll tell you but you've got to pin them down when it passes their lips.
Highlights are tricky in china painting. In oil, we just dabbed on some white or light hue as was needed. In China painting you either leave the blank blank (love that expression) or you wipe out. In china painting one tends to wipe a lot. It's essential.
As to portraits, I don't necessarily agree with those who suggest you have to work up to. Anything you paint in china painting (as in oils) can be a challenge. If you have enough experience to "paint what you see" in oils, I think you can also learn quickly in china painting to "paint what you see." Besides, we don't know what your background is, your capabilities or your eye. Of course we have to learn our strokes and fluffing and the elements of china. Personally, I think a beautiful rose is harder to paint that a portrait - given equal practice. Did I use enough "ifs" to cover myself on that one?
I'm a voracious reader so I like books. I purchase what I can and I borrow what I'm able. But I read and read and read. Yet, I think a good video is worth its weight in pictures. Beg, borrow or buy somebody's video on portraits, on roses and textures and whatever else you can afford. It will be money well spent.
If you were pretty good in oils, why don't you try to just look at pictures you would like to put on your china blanks and sketch with a brush with a light shade of the color you will be using or perhaps a very light gray. If you can avoid tracing, you're well ahead of the game. Portraiture would be the exception unless you're really good.
In oils, you'll discover that you can mix your beautiful crimson (probably alizarin) with your cadmium yellow and neither will gobble up the other. In china painting you will discover that some colors (actually the ingredients in the colors) hate other colors. You might consider a palette that has, say, no more than twenty colors. However many you chose be sure to make your test tiles (or plate or whatever). Paint narrow streaks of each of your paints across some blank. Fire it. Go back and put narrow streaks of paint cross-wise to those you fired. That way you'll see how they go over each other. I'm about to do my own testing by taking my yellows and reds (same with some other colors), mix them together and fire to see who eats whom. Mixing yellows and Yellow For Reds are created to be a little happier with reds than some other yellows. But you're on your own for testing. Several vendors handle great paints. But paints are like wild horses. You have to learn how to whisper to them.
You will see much wisdom in my comments (ha!) but let
me warn you. Please wait about two or three days before taking any of
this to heart. The e-mails will begin to flood the list any moment now
as to how I got so dumb in my near 65 years and that your paints will
go up in smoke and your blanks will look like blankety blank blanks if
you follow my suggestions.
May all your paintings be beautiful. Someday I may show you my etchings.
|Sent: Friday, July 28, 2000
Subject: Another Perspective
I suspect that our approach to art depends on what kind of personality we have, what kind of latent talent we own and how much time we spend on the process - and a whole lot of other variables. This is true with you and it is true with me. It also matters whether you are simply learning to paint or if you're taking some kind of formal course. It also depends on where you want to go with your art. Will you need to please the world or simply yourself?
Many years ago I was at a clothes-line-exhibit and saw an oil painting that I liked. It was over a hundred dollars at that time. I didn't have that much money to spend on a painting; so, I said to myself, "I'll just have to learn to paint." Well, it would have been a lot cheaper through the years to have bought the darn picture and forgot about learning to paint. So, I dabbled here and there and finally (about twenty years ago) began taking lessons. There has been no drawing. There has been no homework. There has been no demands. There has been quite a bit of encouragement and guidance and gentle theory and a lot of mistakes. With all the above there was one "rule." I give you that now! Paint What You See! That's it. As I painted week after week, I learned to see better and learned to paint better. I sell enough of my paintings now to feel good about where I am in art. I don't want to use time trying to figure out which side of the brain makes the best mistakes or paints the best. I want to paint what I see. What I see and what is in my mind are becoming more recognizable on the canvas. That's good.
What about Porcelain Painting? Well, I've been painting for only about three years but I'm learning. And whether from a photograph or picture or a setup or in the field and regardless of the medium - Oils on canvas or Oils On Porcelain - my goal is simply to Paint What I See! Oh, I read and listen and absorb and paint -- but at my age I'm not after formal so much as fun. If you don't have the time and energy or resources to take the Long Path, try painting what you see. If you can find someone to help you learn to see, you'll be ahead of the game but please do not feel that if you do not follow someone else's prescription for success in painting that you'll never make it. All these heady theories can make yours swim. Come with me and we'll paint what we see.
You take care. I've got to take another look.
| Subject: I hate these emails
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2000
This is a question I might have received in an email from my alter ego.
All this quibbling really doesn't do any harm, does it?"
My better self, in solemn response says,
"Yes, it does do harm. Let me count the ways:"
* Every time these provocations occur there are at least several folks on the periphery who say something like this, "I've had enough of this stuff. Count-me-out-of-here" and we lose them - forever!
* There are several new folk who come to the list about that time and wonder, "What in the world am I getting into?"
* There are dozens who are paying by the word to download this stuff and proclaiming, "I don't need this.
* There are 880 (out of 900, or whatever) who say, "Darn, the kids are fighting again."
* There are a ton or so who really wonder if it's worth it, but realize this is "all we've got" and try to hang in there.
* There are fifteen or twenty who must take sides and offer testimonials to the goodness of whomever.
* There are at least a half dozen who get their word in and then say, "now let's get back to porcelain."
* There are several who are trying to figure out the precise frequency of these happenings and wondering if there's some physical, emotional, mental or mystical reason for the regularity of these eruptions.
* There are two or three very inquisitive souls who wonder what kind of kicks this stirring-of-the-waters really serves.
* Then, there's I. I am a genius and I have the secret on how to deal with these - a secret to which not one soul will listen, but I will tell you anyway. If, when someone says something provocative - and in response, no one (not one solitary soul) says anything in retort, I guarantee you that there will be no eruption. If the bad do not become incensed and the good don't get even more righteous there will be no flame and no fire; ergo, that little spark will die a natural death. But this, like asking folk to not use the "Reply" key or please set their machines to "Plain Text" falls on deaf ears - but regardless of what you say, it keeps my typing skills tuned and to the 880 looking on I say, "Hang in there. Like kidney stones, this too shall pass."