Marcia Kuperberg: artist - Oils, acrylic, watercolour, mixed media. Miniaturist. Ceramicist
My Blog

Open Studios

This year I am taking part in Harrow Open Studios for the first time. 
I've visited other artists' homes and studios as part of this annual event, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing a huge variety of art and meeting other artists but have always either been too busy to take part or the time has clashed with our holiday arrangements. Now, I've bitten the bullet!

HOS takes place over the first two weekends in June and local artists open their studios/homes to the general public so people can see the wonderful creativity that abounds on their doorsteps.

It's a One-Woman-Show for me, something I've always wanted to do. So as not to have any last minute panics, I've already begun preparations: painting (as always), hanging - and preparing invitations for my neighbours to accompany the 300 printed brochures given to each participating artist to distribute. 

As drinks and nibbles will be served in the garden, I'm also trying to get that in good order. 

Most work will be available for sale - but it's really an opportunity simply to welcome my neighbours and art lovers to my home to see, and hopefully, enjoy my work.

If you're in Stanmore, London during the first two weekends in June, drop in!

It's great to sell work but also great to be published!

Even better to both sell work and be published.

Over the past year I've sent samples of my work to the magazine for all artists: SAA (society for all artists) and buy some of my art materials from their website. It's gratifying to have my work regularly chosen for the 'Members' Gallery' and for a feature on 'mixed media', one of my favourite techniques.

Here are three of my mixed media pieces shown in recent issues:

'Seahorses': mixed media painting by Marcia Kuperberg (sold)

'Turtles': mixed media piece by Marcia Kuperberg featured in the SAA Magazine's Members' Gallery

'Warriors': mixed media collage art by Marcia Kuperberg, featured in SAA Magazine's Members' Gallery

Love those little red dots!

Don't all artists? We exhibit our work - putting it up for the public to view. Our family and friends (hopefully) like our work but I certainly get a bit of a thrill every time I sell a piece. It means someone out there loves it enough to lay out good money to own it.

These paintings sold at the recent 2016 exhibitions of the Harrow Art Society and The Pinner Sketch Club. Seems people like rainy scenes!

Oil painting

Acrylic painting:

Long time No post! Sorry!

If I still have any readers out there in the Blogosphere, I offer my humble apologies for not posting anything for (help!) about a year! It's not that I haven't been busy painting and creating, it's just that - well, no excuses - I've bitten the bullet and I'm back to posting again.

I find that once I leave it a few weeks (never mind months!) without posting, I get out of the habit - or maybe I just get lazy about photographing what I'm doing and writing about it. Let's face it, for us artists, painting is more interesting than writing.

So-o-o in no particular order, here is some art that I've created in the last year.
These are what I call 'pebble murals' as they are created with pebbles gathered from the nearby Calis Beach, in Fethiye, Turkey where we frequently holiday.


PSC Exhibition 2015

Picnic in the Park: acrylic painting of Pinner Memorial Park, by Marcia KuperbergThe Pinner Sketch Club (PSC) annual exhibition has just finished. I sold this piece 'Picnic in the Park' (acrylic washes with touches of pen) together with a number of handmade greeting cards. 

Pinner Memorial Park: acrylic painting by Marcia KuperbergBelow, another of the Pinner park showing the fountain. The flowers in the foreground are impasto (thick and textured) in contrast to the delicate washes.

These paintings look great as prints (for sale in limited editions) on special heavy weight watercolour archival paper (Hahnemuhle). 

New Paintings - new exhibitions!

The first exhibition this year from Harrow Art Society, London, has just finished at Stanmore Library. There was a wide range of work on display, including three of my recent paintings and some of my ceramic jewellery. I also lugged along my Eagle has Landed sculpture which although not for sale, I felt deserved a public showing. There's no doubt that my most popular artwork was Gold Mosque and Minarets. Many people asked how I achieved the particular textured effect. The quick answer is "with a lot of effort!" Details of how I actually did it, can be seen on the Featured Art section of this site. The mount was hand painted to match the image.

Immediately following the Harrow Art Society's show, is the exhibition of my Stanmore Art Group. I helped hang this exhibition, and have six works on display. Seen here are three of my seascapes in mixed media, and my Gold Mosque and Minarets, also mixed media as above. The Private View is tomorrow (Tuesday 28 April) night, 8 p.m. Stanmore Library. 

Stanmore Art Group Exhibition. Seascapes and Gold Mosque & Minarets by Marcia Kuperberg

Clay modelling from life: Bogana (fellow ceramics student)

Clay model after biscuit firing. Next step: painting on her clothes, hair and shoes with glazes.Bogana was our model. I took shots of her from all angles to help me later.I enjoy modelling from life but always take loads of reference photos with my iPhone. These are invaluable when the model is no longer available. Bogana, a fellow ceramics student, only sat for us for two sessions just before Christmas '14 and I intended to work on her over the break. Of course, I didn't - and the clay hardened too much for me to carve as much detail as I wanted e.g. her fingers and toes. 
At least, that's my excuse.
I modelled her in terra cotta (red clay) so she matches some of the models I made previously. These reside on my radiator shelf in the hall.

In the Ceramic Studio, painting glaze onto the biscuit fired model.
Previously created clay models by Marcia Kuperberg

Resuming ceramics! Bowls, fish, mermaids and models!

small ceramic bowl by Marcia Kuperberg using shiny white glaze, yellow velvet glaze and manganese dioxide. For anyone kind enough to read these blogs, apologies for the lapse in posting. Anyway, for you, Gloria, (fellow ceramicist who has been patiently looking for blog updates) here are my latest ceramic efforts:

I made a set of 5 of these before term break-up end of 2014, and was quite excited when I took them from the kiln, they had turned out more interesting that I had expected. I then carelessly left one on the end of the table - and - you guessed - it smashed. I made patterns on the outside by pressing in a plastic doily. The inside flower was drawn and carved. After biscuit firing, I used manganese dioxide to bring out the pattern, poured a shiny white glaze into the centre of the bowls, wiped away the glaze from the central flower and painted parts with yellow glaze. The happy surprise was that where little bits of the shiny glaze touched the outside, they turned into splashes of pale green. Nice!

Ceramic mermaid, 6 ft high, on outside wall of house.ceramic fish by Marcia Kuperberg, glazed in pink and blue, in crank clay.This fish, about 8" wide (20 cm), was made with crank clay so it will withstand frost when left outside during winter months. It will swim alongside the mermaid on the external wall of our balcony. Later I'll add starfish, seahorse, reeds and other fish. If that's not enough to create an undersea world, I'll add some painted waves once the weather is better. That's the general intention anyway.

Working from live models for Ceramics.

Modelling for ceramics. Two 2-hour sessions are not enough so I end up; working from photos.Today in my ceramics class I worked on a number of pieces: two models (Mory, the ceramics technician who acted as model for a change, and Bogana, a fellow ceramics student), a lamp in the shape of a mosque (a better one than the one I made previously) and a carved dish. They are in various stages of production. 

I began work on both models before the Summer break, so had to take care to keep them moist over several weeks (so that the clay remained workable). Each was wrapped in a moist cloth and then further wrapped with two layers of cling film. Bogana kindly did not dry out as much as my model of Mory, the ceramics technician, so I worked on her today. 

Unfortunately we only have the models for two or three periods of two hours, so I end up working from photos which can be frustrating at times when you can't see the detail. 

Back to painting in oils!

My old art school training was in oils (all those years ago) but I discovered the advantages of acrylics when they were introduced in the 1970s: easier cleaning of brushes and mixing with water, no smell, quicker drying.  

Oil painting 4'x3: ' Swans in Calm Waters, by Marcia KuperbergBut. . . now, after all this time, I'm rediscovering the delights of oil painting again: the greater richness and depth of colours that don't change in the light, crisper, cleaner highlights, the buttery paint texture that I enjoy mixing and moving on the canvas. Also, if desired, one can work in acrylic as an 'under foundation' to establish tones, and put oils on top (never the other way round though) - so . . goodbye acrylic, hello oils. And in a big way, too - my Swans in Calm Waters is really big (nearly bigger than me): 4' high x 3' wide.

Summer in the Park: new watercolour

Watercolour: Pinner Memorial Park - Summer. Size:20.25
Pinner Memorial Park is a lovely place to spend a Summer afternoon. As I have an exhibition opening in West House in the park from Saturday 27 September until Sunday 5 October, I visited and had a coffee in the cafe at West House overlooking the artificial lake. 

Two children were playing with a puppy - great subject for a painting, so I quickly sketched them and clicked away on my iPhone. Here is the result, my latest watercolour. I should have had the presence of mind to find out their identity so I could send the family my photos or possibly a print of the painting. Maybe they'll come to the exhibition and discover themselves on the wall. . .

Lest we forget...

Now that my ceramics classes have closed for the summer, I'm spending a lot of time painting watercolours. With so much on the news lately to commemorate WW2, I've created 'Lest we forget' - a watercolour of the best known symbol of war remembrance, red poppies. This will be exhibited for the first time in the Pinner Arts Week at West House, Pinner Memorial Park from Friday 26th September - for one week.

As reference, I used some poppies from the garden to get the flower's fragile 'feel' as well as an image from The Sunday Times that suggested movement in the breeze. 
 
STRETCHING WATER COLOUR PAPER.
After some earlier struggles with watercolour paper buckling after applying wet colour washes, I have mastered the stretching technique to keep it flat.
There are various clips on YouTube which makes the process appear complicated, and I tried some of them - useless and worse. And yet, it's really so easy! 

I'll post the technique very soon as a separate post, with thanks to Madeleine Brennan of the Harrow Art Society who passed on her technique to me and others. Maybe I'll also post it to YouTube as a 'fail safe' method.

The third wild beast! My panther watercolour!

Watercolour of Panther by Marcia KuperbergHere he is - to join his mates the tiger and the leopard: my evil panther. Take care - he has his eyes on you! Painting him was a challenge - all that black fur. In reality, I did not use any actual black paint in the painting - it's all blues, dark mauves, greens and mixes.

Painting local landscapes in pen & wash

Haven't posted for a while - been so busy creating.
I've been painting pen and wash watercolours of local scenes. This is Bernays Gardens near where I live in Stanmore.

In Springtime parts of London are transformed by blossom trees and, Bernays Gardens, like so many areas in London bursts out in glorious pink blossoms. Bernays is a local treasure: a small walled garden hidden amongst the shops - a little sanctuary to get away from the hustle and bustle.

Marcia's pen & wash painting of Bernays Gardens in Stanmore.Here's the final pen & wash painting just under A1 size 27" x 19.75"
Below: two stages of creation - left image shows initial broad washes to begin basic tones and colours. The second stage, shown on the right, gives more detail but no pen work as yet. 
The fine pen strokes seen above in the final painting, are done with a fine nib dipped in Indian ink, adding detail while giving delicacy to areas such as blossoms.

First stage of painting pen & wash of Bernays Gardens, by Marcia KuperbergMore detail in pen & wash painting, but no pen as yet.

Another wild beast painting: growling tiger!

Watercolour: Tiger, now complete. By Marcia Kuperberg. Size A3: 42 cm x 30 cmFirst stage of watercolour painting of tiger & cub by Marcia Kuperberg2nd stage of watercolour painting of tiger by Marcia KuperbergWatercolour of tiger & cub by Marcia Kuperberg. Needs to look fiercer.


I've completed the second wild cat, my tiger (and her little cub). As usual, when I showed it to my husband, the first thing he said was "she looks too tame - like a pussycat", so I opened her mouth and she let out an angry growl! Here are some of the stages of creation.

Stage 1: broad washes of basic tones and colours.

Stage 2: more detail, more stripes that help define the body.

Stage 3: (colour only look washed out because of the different light when I took the shot.) Best part is adding the fine lines, especially the whiskers. 
However, at this stage the tiger's tongue was hanging out but she was not growling or snarling. 

closeup of watercolour of tiger's face showing whiskers and snarl.To do this, I had to crinkle up her nose, and add teeth. Now she's suitably fierce. 

The Eagle has landed!

Ceramic pot by Marcia Kuperberg, entered for competition at the V & A Museum, London.My most ambitious ceramics piece to date. I've entered it into a competition run by the Victoria & Albert Museum for adult learners in Ceramics.
Japanese stoneware vase at the V & A museum, 1810.

The competition rules state that the piece submitted must have been inspired by a piece seen at the V & A. 
The V & A piece that inspired me was a Japanese stoneware vase of 1810 with an amazing relief eagle and foliage around it  (see left). 

The rules also state that although the influence must be clear, the piece created must be innovative and not a direct copy. As the deadline was last Friday to send images and related explanatory text, I did not have time to complete the glazing that will give my vase/pot its proper colour and detail - great shame! Nevertheless, I sent in my submission, knowing that if, by some miracle, the piece was selected (a total of 8, from all UK), I would be able to show the properly glazed piece. Imagine - having one's work shown at the V & A. I'd die of happiness - and revel in the glory for evermore. One can but dream…

Here are some images of stages of creation:

Marcia coil building ceramic eagle pot.Marcia creating eagle for ceramic pot.  
Marcia Kuperberg carving detail on eagle's wings for eagle stoneware pot.

Leopard is now spotted and whiskered and finished!

I've finally completed my leopard and the forest background. The best fun was putting on his fur and whiskers which were done with the fine nib of an artist's pen using gouache so it would show up on the watercolour. 
Size: A3, 42 cm x 29.7 cm
Watercolour (pen & wash) painting by Marcia Kuperberg. The fur, done in fine line with a pen, was a painstaking task, but gives him his furry texture and skin.
Below are the stages of creation. As this painting is watercolour, and I do not use black, the spots are a mixture of colours: ultramarine, brown, dark green. I took care to keep tonal contrast that helps give him shape.  

Stage 2 of leopard watercolour painting. The spots had to be sized and placed to help show the leopard's form.stage 1 of watercolour painting: broad washes of watercolour, trying to get correct proportionsn and tones.

Current Exhibition: Harrow Art Society

Acrylic painting of Stanmore Pond, (top of Dennis Lane), by Marcia Kuperberg.The Owl in Winter, mixed media painting by Marcia Kuperberg
Took three of my paintings to exhibit at the Harrow Art Society Exhibition. 

The private view will be 7.p.m. Tuesday 11th March, Stanmore Library and the exhibition will opened by the head of the Art Department of the famous Harrow School. 

The paintings I'll be showing are an acrylic of  'Stanmore Ponds' a local landscape just a few streets from our home, a sweet little pen and wash painting called 'Dolly' with a hand decorated frame, and an experimental mixed media painting that I began 2 years ago, called 'The Owl in Winter'. This is a semi abstract painting that relies mainly on texture and restrained colour for impact. Will upload the 'Dolly' painting later (unless it sells at the exhibition). Haven't yet taken a photo of it.

Disaster in the kiln!

The back of Louis' head has come away - broken in three pieces after firing in the kiln (to set the oxides applied). My own fault  - as although the inside of the head is hollow, I did not prick holes in the back of the scalp where thick clay was applied later. Warning to would-be ceramicists: hollow out and prick - don't make the same mistake as me. The front looks good, and I think I'll be able to stick the broken pieces onto the head with araldite. It could have been worse.

A new head of hair for Louis?

No, this image is misleading! It may look as if I'm painting on thick dark grey hair, but most of this oxide will be washed off to leave thin traces in the crevices so that the hair strands of the hair he has left (!) will be a bit more clearly defined.

The head has been fired in the kiln for its first 'biscuit' firing and will be fired again after painting on the oxides (manganese dioxide, a dark grey seen here, and a light sponging of red iron oxide to warm up the skin tones a little, subtly darkening here and there to add some more life.) Once the head is fired, the painted on oxides cannot be removed, so I'll have to be very careful. Every time the head is fired, it shrinks up to 10% so I have to do an equal number of firings for his neck and collar.

I've protected his face with masking tape and cling wrap to avoid giving him unwanted dark grey spots on his skin. 

The next job will be to decide how to treat his cravat and collar: cravat maybe have cobalt blue oxide and collar a small pattern of dark grey, cobalt blue and red iron. Mmmmm, watch this space.

More ceramics creations: bowls, fish, hedgehog, birds!

I just love my ceramics classes!

The hedgehog is small, about 5 inches wide and will go outside on the balcony with other pot plants, so he will look natural - light and dark brown with the crevices picked out in black.

The fish will be glazed so it is shiny bright and multi-coloured. It will swim on the outside wall next to the mermaid. More fish to come.

This little bird and pot has been made in crank clay to withstand outside elements. You can see the drainage hole in the bottom as I intend to plant some small flowers in it. 

Haven't yet decided what the colours should be: the bird could be a robin redbreast, a bluebird or even a budgerigar. Maybe make a floral pattern on the outside of the bowl.

Head now has a neck and a collar too!

His head looked odd with the chin just resting on a surface, so I had to add a neck - a bit difficult to add at a later stage, so I tried to disguise the join by giving him a collar and polo neck/cravat. The clay will soon be dry enough to fire for the first biscuit firing and then comes the decision as to how to glaze him.

Husband's head now has a scalp!

I finally released his head from the vase (he was modelled around the vase in order to ensure his head was hollow). It's important to hollow out anything thick -sorry, Louis!- in ceramics as otherwise it might shatter when in the kiln during firing. I had to perform the surgery of slicing his head behind the ears and then rejoining the pieces. 
Marcia Kuperberg sculpting clay head of husband, Louis.However I ran out of space when the head was on the vase and couldn't give him a proper neck or a base. Solution: make this as a separate piece with the collar at the back to hide the join of head to neck, and the jutting out chin to hide the join in the front - that's the plan, anyway, and I'll soon start working on the neck/collar. 

The clay head was modelled around a vase to make the hollow-out process easier.
I'm thinking about the final finish - the main possibilities being:

  1. all shiny white china
  2. matt finish skin tone, details such as wrinkles and recessed areas picked out with dark oxide, with glazed shiny white hair.
  3. metallic look using a special glaze that gives the appearance of a metallic dark bronze.

I've applied techniques 2) and 3) to the small heads and will see the results soon. This will help decide what the finished full size head will look like. Watch this space.

Full size clay head: HELP!

Here he is, now well on the way. I've modelled him around a glass cylindrical vase in order to keep the head hollow. It really does look like Louis, down to the half smile, the hooded eyes and the dimple in the chin. 

BUT, a big but, how to remove the vase? It should slide out as I covered it in newspaper before putting on the clay, and have waited until the clay is 'leather hard' before trying to remove it, but … of course the vase is stuck solid. If I keep trying to remove it, I'm in danger of distorting or breaking the head - so, following advice from Jo, my ceramics tutor, I'll make two length way cuts, one behind each ear (bit like a brain surgeon) to separate front from back of the head. Then I'll remove the vase, stuff the inside of the head right up to the top with newspaper to support it, and fit the pieces back together. 

There's a special technique to doing this, involving scratching the joins to create a suitable rough surface, applying a creamy clay (called slurry) to the edges to stick together, and then applying clay on  top to disguise the joints.

Full size clay head, modelled around a vase to keep it hollow.After that, will come the difficult part of constructing the top scalp, supported by newspaper stuffed underneath. Here goes . . .

The Big One! Creating my full size ceramic head.

I've now completed the first stage of my two small heads (each about 4" or 10 cm) of husband, Louis - the first stage being the clay modelling. They will need to be dried and biscuit fired, then glazed in alternative finishes. 

Next - the BIG ONE! A full size head. I'm finding it a quite different process to working on the small heads. For a start, so much more clay needed which must be kept moist and workable.
I've decided to use a glass cylindrical vase to begin (must be covered with newspaper) and model the clay on top before removing the vase, so that I won't have such a difficult task of hollowing out later. The centre of any thick clay object has to be hollowed and pricked so that it fires evenly and won't crack or break in the kiln. My problem will be to be able to safely remove the vase and then model the top of the head.

The other difference is simply the size - I need a different much larger set of modelling tools and find I'm using my fingers much more. This time, I'm determined to model more from life and less from photos. This means that I'll have to persuade my husband to sit for me much more often.

Modelling my husband's head.

Head modelled from white clay is 4 inches high. Work in progress.Model for my ceramic head: husband, Louis.Modelling my husband's head is no easy task- especially when he is hard to pin down for sitting. As a 'back-up' for his 'live' head, I took photos from all sides. For the actual sittings, I put the TV on a sports channel so he didn't become too bored but somehow I still seem to end up trying to model from the photos. Doing this at home, I don't have a turntable and in my efforts to model from various angles, the clay head fell onto the floor. Tragedy! One half of his face was squashed flat so it had to be redone. This is still very much a work in progress as there is a lot of refinement to be done especially around the eyes - well, the more I look - just about everywhere.  

M'mermaid is lonely now mounted on the wall

Well, her final position has changed from where it was originally planned. Originally she was going to be surrounded by clematis vines at the bottom of the garden, but here she is - somewhat more exposed but definitely more visible from the house. 

She looks a bit lonely on that white wall so at some time I'll probably add some additional ceramic elements such as coral, reeds and tropical fish.

Here is the first fish I've just made (not shown to scale with Mimi the mermaid). The fish is biscuit fired at this stage. It will be glazed in bright pink and blue with parts fringed in white. Lots more fish plus other ceramic undersea items will be added, so watch this space.

Ceramic inspiration at the V & A.

Contemporary ceramic heads by Stephen Dixon (born '57): terra Cotta, stoneware & porcelain with glazes & transfer printed techniques. I've spent the day in the Ceramics section of the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, London
Wow!
Such incredible work by ceramicists from many countries stretching over the centuries. 

It will give me endless inspiration and ideas for glazes, designs and finishes. I took loads of notes, sketches and photos (no problems with taking shots) for reference for looking up further details on the museum website. 
Have set myself the task of creating a ceramic head of husband, Louis. 
I'll take photos of his head from various angles in case he gets fed up with sitting.

Lustreware from Spain. Tin glazed earthenware painted with lustres. The artist used lines of wax resist to separate different coloured glazes.Ceramic bowl made in Iran 1150-1200. Turquoise glaze is used over carved black slip.Japanese stoneware vase 1810. The relief bird & branches wrap the vase. Painted in overglaze enamels incl gold.

Ceramic mosque lamp - finished!

Ceramic Mosque lamp made by Marcia KuperbergCeramic lamp created by Marcia Kuperberg with sketchbook.Here it is: the lamp for the shelf next to the fireplace mosque mural in the Turkey villa (see yesterday's post).

It is made in three pieces: the bottom cylinder, the top onion dome, and the surrounding wall.  I have also shown my sketch book where I worked out the construction details but... when I tried to fit the lamp inside the hollow, I discovered that I had made the onion dome a millimetre too small (shrunk in the kiln) so I could not fit the lamp tube inside. I'll have to make it again!

Ceramics details: all three made in stoneware.

WALL- covered in brown slip with detail scratched out (scraffito) around openings. After biscuit firing, sprayed with earthenware shiny transparent glaze. Then fired.

DOME & CYLINDER- after biscuit firing, lightly sponged with red iron oxide, then lightly sprayed with shiny white glaze before firing. I wanted bits of light brown (the red oxide) to show through - how much will depend on how thinly the glaze is sprayed: the thicker, the less brown will show. You can see that the onion dome has been sprayed more thinly than the cylinder. This is tricky!

Mosque mural for Turkish Villa's fireplace.

mosque mural painted by Marcia Kuperberg







The open plan lounge area of the Turkish villa looked a bit bland, so I decided to add a bit of interest by painting a simple mural over the fireplace. Then had the idea of creating a matching ceramic lamp which could be placed on the shelf next to it. Watch this space!

m'Mermaid! 5 ft high ceramic piece

ceramic mermaid by Marcia Kuperberg 5 ft high hanging in archwayShe's finally finished and home!
Just where she finds her final resting ground is still under discussion. Originally she was designed to be hung on a narrow pillar in the Turkish villa, but we decided we'd see her more often if she remained in London. Then, the logical place for her seemed to be inside the clematis arch at the bottom of the garden where she'd be visible from both house and garden but at a distance.

Now we're thinking of hanging her on the wall just outside on the balcony so we can see her closer to the house. Louis really likes her!

Reclining Lady is now painted, glazed and finished!

ceramic reclining lady with denim skirt and patent leather bootsmodel for 'reclining lady' ceramic pieceMarcia Kuperberg working on clay model, Here she is!  She was modelled in clay from life (model at left). 
I'm pleased with the final result, particularly the texture of her denim skirt and the folds of her matching sweater. Also happy with her shiny brown boots that contrast well with her less shiny black tights. 

Next figure to show will be my mermaid but for this, there was no model - couldn't persuade the local mermaids to pose.
Front view of Marcia's clay model, now painted, glazed and finished.

Ceramic Mermaid is on her way!

I haven't posted for a while - been too busy creating work, especially ceramics. My mermaid is taking a long time, but she's coming along really well (in stages). She will have green hair, lips and nipples and turquoise melted glass eyes. She is destined to go on a wall at the bottom of the garden and will be nearly 5 ft tall (about 1.5 metres). I've also finally finished painting and glazing my reclining lady and she will come out of the kiln soon and be displayed on this site.

New painting: still life of daffodils

Finally Spring has sprung and the daffodils are out. To celebrate, I've painted a still life of this vase of daffs in acrylic with touches of oil pastel to bring out the texture of the canvas paper. Let's hope the sunshine continues!

Marcia Kuperberg's painting of still life, vase of daffodils. Acrylic with oil pastel on textured paper. A3 size.

Bonfire night painting finds a new home

'Bonfire Night' mixed media paintiing on canvas by Marcia Kuperberg

One of my favourite paintings, 'Bonfire Night', is going to a new home so this is a 'goodbye' 

It is a large acrylic on canvas,  2ftx3ft            with the sparks and fireworks done in sequins and beads.

It shows the heat and swirling movement of the flames and the excitement of a big fire.

Hot stuff! 

New watercolour painting: garden (as seen from my studio)

Well, it's been quite a long time in creating - started in Summer, nearly finished in Autumn, finally finished in Winter. The season shown is the end of Autumn - I loved painting the fine tracery of tree trunks and bare branches in the distance. In fact, I loved painting all of it. Now, can't wait for Summer to enjoy the real garden again.

Soon: a 5 foot high Ceramic Mermaid for the garden

Marcia Kuperberg creating a section of a mermaid for the garden.Originally destined to decorate a pillar in a Turkish villa, she will now hopefully enhance the bottom of our garden in London- when finally finished. So far, seen here, I've created most of her top half: face, flowing hair and torso - moulding and carving her to give 3D effect to 4x A3 sized large tiles that will join together for the whole body (this is one - the rest show more hair and her tail). 

She is still in the soft clay stage - a few weeks from biscuit firing. She'll be fixed to the painted mirrors in the garden, surrounded by clematis and vines next to the pool. Can't wait to add glazes and oxide to her green hair coils and make her pearly scaled tail. I'll need to experiment on smaller tiles for different effects. Watch this space!

New! Seahorse mixed media paintings.

Seahorses: mixed media painting by Marcia Kuperberg
This image began life as a polyblock print on silver card, similar in technique to the image below. 

I cut the seahorse from a thin piece of polystyrene, carved grooves/patterns into it, inked it in various blue and green printing inks and transferred the image onto the card. I did the same with strips of textured wallpaper giving the horizontal 'waves' inked in pale green. 

The funny wiggly strands of undersea weeds are pieces of wool (I keep a collection of interesting wools). 

I put the print aside as it took ages for the printing ink to dry and then forgot about it. Looking at it in the cold light of day months later I decided I did not like it and then experimented on it today using a range of different acrylic paints, including 'interference' paint which gives a metallic like glow, pearlised 'sparkly' paint and silver paint mixed with other colours. Also in amongst all that is a bit of oil pastel. I want to bring out the foreground seahorse a bit more and then I'll leave it. Enough is enough!
Seahorses: polyblock print by Marcia Kuperberg
This is another polyblock print using the same cut out seahorses, but without other media. 

Although it does not look like it in this photo taken in artificial light with a flash,  it is also on silver card. I'll take a better shot later and replace this one on the blog.

I just may work into it and give it more texture - haven't decided.

Modelling from life: refining detail on Reclining Girl

Marcia Kuperberg refining the detail on the clay model of Reclining Girl.Live model for Harrow College ceramics class: Marcia's work in foreground.I've been working on her for an hour or so every day, refining detail by looking at photos that I took at her last sitting (or lying!), so now she looks rather better.

I have some great ideas for her final appearance which will include a textured blue denim skirt, shiny brown boots and more. You'll see!

China Dolly - happier expression - finally finished

Here's the final China Dolly, now with a more benign expression.Earlier version of China Dolly. I think she looks a bit cross.
Subtle change of expression. I'm happier now, and so is she!

Hope you can spot the difference.

China Dolly now finished.

china dolly now finished: acrylic paint & oil pastel on canvas textured paper (Marcia Kuperberg)Third session developing painting of china dolly: more washes to develop colour.2nd session: developing painting of china dolly - first washes of colour on top of pencil sketch.Initial pencil sketch of china dolly.


   
Here are the stages of creating China Dolly, building her up from a pencil sketch. She now has deepened tones, more contrast to make her less bland and with greater definition to bring out detail. On second thoughts, maybe she looks a bit stern? Should I give her a happier look?  Please comment! 
Media: acrylic paint and oil pastels.

Modelling from life

Modelling the figure from life. My rough shape after 2 hours work is in the foreground (Marcia Kuperberg)
Jo Anderson, ceramics teacher, gives guidance when modelling the human figure.
Working with a live model is great fun and makes a pleasant change from creating pottery or ceramic jewellery.

We have two 2-hour sessions to create our clay models so we have to work fast. This is my work at the start of the second session. By the end of the second session I still had lots more detail to model, so I've taken her home (my clay creation that is!) for further work. From now, I'll have to resort to working from photos. 

Session 3: China Dolly acrylic and oil pastel painting

China Dolly acrylic and oil pastel now developed with more tone and detail. More to be done (Marcia Kuperberg)First acrylic washes on pencil sketch of China Dolly (Marcia Kuperberg)Initial pencil sketch of China Dolly (Marcia Kuperberg)This afternoon I spent another couple of hours working on China Dolly adding deeper tones of acrylic wash and building up the texture and detail with touches of wax crayon. 

One more session and she should be finished.

Little twiggy earrings and pendants now glazed.

Earrings and pendants are glazed both sides (reversible!) Marcia Kuperberg.
I wanted them to be glazed both sides, so they had to be hung, carefully spaced on wire so as not to touch each other before going into the kiln. 
I couldn't lie them on kiln shelves (normally the case with other ceramic pieces ) as the glaze would stick to the shelf causing them to break on removal. Here they are, glazed.







I'm happy with the results. The cobalt oxide and chrome oxides have worked well to give rich blue/green effects and the twig carving into the red clay has come out well. The white slip has become pale blue due to the delicate sponging of the cobalt - slightly bluer than expected but it looks good.


China dolly painting is progressing.

First acrylic wash on canvas textured paper by Marcia Kuperbergpencil sketch of china dolly, preparatory to acrylic wash (Marcia Kuperberg)She's no longer just a pencil sketch. 







As of today she has the first tones and washes of acrylic paint on canvas paper. 

She's pretty wishy-washy at the moment but there's much more to do - including using oil pastel to bring out the canvas texture and pattern on her dress and bring her to life.

Out of the kiln! Little pendant rock-pools!

I'm delighted with them!  The melted glass looks like limpid pools of water. 

Little ceramic pendant 'rock-pools' by Marcia Kuperberg made with melted glass.
close up of ceramic pendant 'rock-pool' by Marcia Kuperberg


Ceramic rock-pool pendant made with melted glass, by Marcia KuperbergCeramic rock-pool pendant made with melted glass, by Marcia KuperbergCeramic rock-pool pendant made with melted glass, by Marcia KuperbergNow that I can see this idea has worked, I'm planning other ceramic ideas based on melted glass. 

I really like the contrast of the shiny 'water' with the matt 'rock' surround. You almost want to put your finger inside them to check for wetness.

Creating ceramic jewellery pendants: mixing media

Marcia Kuperberg's ceramic beaded pendants (each £15..00). Matching earrings: £8.00.My recent ceramic pendants are a deep greeny-black colour as a background to rich Autumn tones of the floral design on top done with glass beads and wire. 

Each pendant is an individual piece of art: £15.00. Matching earrings £8.00..They combine a ceramic oval base, textured around the edges and imprinted/ etched to give an indication of leaves, then highly glazed. 

At first glance they may look the same, but each has a subtly different texture and design. That's the fun and beauty of creating ceramic jewellery - each piece is one of a kind.  

Ceramics class: pots, wheel-work and glass pendant progress.

Janet shapes the bottom of her pot, using the wheel.The potter's wheel may look easy when you see the experts at work but it takes perseverance, dedication and practice - (a lot of practice!) to produce simple, elegant pottery such as Janet's shown here.






Gloria Ssali moulds her coil built pot.


Gloria has a big, bold personality and produces big bold pots. 

She uses the coil method rather than the wheel. This pot is still at the clay stage - yet to be biscuit fired and glazed. She decorates them in many interesting ways; I'll show some in later blogs.




After biscuit firing, I'm bringing out the outside texture by using cobalt blue oxide.


My earrings and pendants have now been biscuit fired. Today I put touches of dilute cobalt oxide to run into the crevices of the texture on the outside of the little pendant 'bowls'. It appears pink but will become blue.

The outside will have a matt finish, without glaze but the inside will be shiny with the melted turquoise glass. I also put a blob of dark blue underglaze in the centre of the bottom of the bowl - I hope it will give the appearance of depth once the glass has melted.  We'll see!

Marcia's ceramic pendants, now filled with glass which will melt in the kiln.The outside surface of the pendant 'bowl' will be matt and the inside will have melted glass.

Final alterations to Japanese Lady

Earlier image of Japanese Lady: her hands need correction. Final Japanese Lady - hands now better formed.Here she is (right image) with hands that look more natural. You can now see what her left hand is doing if you enlarge: pinching the fabric of her robe between thumb and finger. The grey colour in the background on the right looked a bit dirty, so I've added more blue and mauve to enrich it. 

Initial pencil sketch of still life doll prior to painting.Also, today in my art group, I began the initial pencil sketch of a still life of a china doll.

I took a photo of the doll on my iPhone to continue work at home. The plan is to use the same techniques and media as for Japanese Lady i.e. acrylic paint (in water-colour transparent mode) on canvas textured acrylic paper. Oil pastel touches on top of the paint bring out the texture of the canvas paper. The painting can be done in layers: it's effective to use transparent tones of acrylic on top of the pastel (as well as pastel on top of acrylic), so that the canvas grain remains visible.

Artwork on tiles

I've created two adjacent square tiles on red clay and covered them with various brush strokes and random splashes of slip in colours of pale blue, pale green and white - even though they appear white at the moment. They have still to be biscuit fired so I hope they don't break when I try to draw into them after cleaning and smoothing the edges. Unfortunately they are a bit too thin for comfort and have curled up slightly - I should have weighted them when they were drying or simply made them thicker.

2 red clay tiles covered in pale blue, green and white slip. Will be etched to reveal scene or pattern. The plan is to etch a scene into these patterns of colour which will show up as dark red lines and shapes. Haven't yet decided what the scene will be - maybe some animals or a simple landscape. If the final result warrants it, I may then mount the tiles and frame them.

Here are the tiles at the stage before etching the scene. Of course the true colours will not be obvious until the final glazing.