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Wall Flowers - Artist's oils, non-fire painting: Article or Project

Suitable Bisque fired to 04-05 (photo on top right – mfr unknown)
Acrylic stain - light gray or a mix of gray and taupe
Artists' Oils -
Sap Green
Permanent Green
Green Gold Hue
Burnt Umber
Dioxazine Purple
Perylene Maroon
Permanent Rose.
(It sounds like a lot, but oils may be purchased in sets, the colors are standardized, and infinite mixing produces an infinite spectrum of tones.)

T-shirt wiping cloths
Low odor mineral spirits NOT turpentine
Matte sealer
Soft Bristled Brushes of choice, (avoid stiff bristles except for base-coating)

More Details


This non-fired technique can be applied in a myriad of variations. By using different tones and colors for the (sealing) basecoat, the results may be brighter or more subtle. Use artists' tube oils, thinned with low odor mineral spirits. The concentrated pigments provide depth of color and absolute blendability without muddiness. The one factor for success: use the colors SPARINGLY! Also, avoid using stiff bristled brushes except for the base For more definition, the piece may be antiqued with a water-based product, as mineral spirit products will be dissolved by the color pigments. I do not spray between layers, as this affects the ability of the oils to penetrate the base layer.

Prepare 05-04 bisque: Apply a smooth coat of acrylic stain to the entire piece. Take care to not leave brush marks. For those in photo top right, a very light taupe/gray mix was used. When dry, use a fan brush dipped in clean water and go over the piece. This reveals any missed spots needing base color. Touch up where needed. It is important for good coverage so the oils do not 'grab' into the bisque creating disruption in the smooth flow of color.

Prepare color: Put a small amount of each main color of oil paint from the tube onto palette or wax paper (or any suitable surface). You only need about a teaspoon of each color. Working light to dark, mix several variations of each color, for example: Purple, +lighter, +bluer, +pinker. To make lighter add a bit of white, to make pinker, add a bit of rose, to make bluer add a bit of blue… you should end up with four hues for each color.

Do the same for the rose tones and the leaves.

You might want to use plastic egg holders, you will need less than a teaspoon of each color for the project. Use the umber and black to shadow and tone the colors. These are strong pigments, only a brush tip is needed to change the tone.

Application: Begin applying the lightest tones to the flowers, wipe with soft cloth/teeshirt to remove any excess. Begin the shading with the deeper tones, applying to a few petals and wiping to blend. Blend the layers of color to create depth and shading.

The mineral spirits may be used to remove excess if you apply too much color. ALWAYS blot the cloth first to remove excess thinner. It DOES NOT take much thinner to ‘move’ the paint.

Do the same for the second plaque, then the leaves.

Allow to dry 2-3 days, or until dry to touch.

Once dry, use your choice of spray sealer.

Practicing the application and gaining a familiarity with the respective pigments will open a new adventure in decorating possibilities. Vibrancy, blend-ability and spectrum may be achieved beyond all other commercial products.

CMEZ would like to thank Jan D Moore for sharing her method of using Artist’s Oils on Ceramics.

For Bisque, you may contact Bernies Ceramics at

Questions on the technique and method, contact artist JD Moore at


Article/Project Pictures:
Wall Flowers - Artist's oils, non-fire painting Wall Flowers - Artist's oils, non-fire painting

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