Elizabeth Priddy’s Chinese Brush Painting Workshop Transcript

Okay everyone, Tonight we are pleased to introduce to you Elizabeth Priddy.  She is a professional artist/potter that has been in the buisness for over 25 years. Her home and studio is in Beaufort, North Carolina, located on an esturaine reserve salt marsh.

She is a master at many techniques, but tonight she will teach us her Chinese Brush Painting.

Hopefully everyone has read the pdf’s and watched the movie she provided before the class.

Please keep this link/page open during the workshop, this is your textbook/videos and she will refer to them during the class.


Remember, NO comments, likes or post during this class.

Direct all comments, by private message to me or Mimi Champlin.

Thank you for your cooperation!!!


Links and pdf’s provided:  brushes  http://www.orientalartsupply.com/news/#ink

Elizabeth Priddy

I began teaching about 25 years ago. I began brushpainting about 20 years ago. I began teaching brushpaing about 10 years ago.

Chinese brushpainting is an artform that has been practiced in China for about 3000 years. It is an Imperial artform as it was a necessary skill of the rulers of China. As an exercise, it teaches patience, skill development, and expression, all desirable traits in rulers. Over time, it became a normal part of everyday life for the Chinese. It is a natural extension of writing with a brush and ink. Ink painting is wen you use the brush techniques with only black ink on rice papre, silk, or bamboo.

Chinese brush techniques are often sought by potters because the technique dominates the presentation. What you see when you are done painting with ceramic pigments is not what will emerge after firing. So the application of the marks is essential. You have to lay them in and then hope for the best. This is why potters are drawn to this style.

It is NOT china painting. China painting happens on top of fired surfaces and is a process of laying in ceramic pigments in layers and repeatedly firing the work as the next material applied’s temperature rangeis reached, ending with gold and other metals that fire at the lowest temperatures. I do not do this and do not know how.

Potters are also drawn to the brushes. They are made in a way that is different from western watercolor brushes. They are made of compound hair, more than one set into the ferrule with the softer hair at the center to be absorbant and the oilier hairs on the outside to keep the paint, ink, water, or slip wicking upward to hold it until the brush strokes release it into either paper, glaze, or bisque surfaces.

The techniques I describe in the PDF can be practiced on rice paper as watercolor paint lays into rice paper in the same way that underglazes lay into a glazed, unfired surface. Both are absorbed immediately, staining the surface material. You cannot smudge or move it around, the initial brush mark is it, no do-overs unless you wash it off and start over. The glaze is now ruined, you cannot use it again. The paper, when marred with ugly strokes is ruined, you cannot scrub the marks or change them as the rice paper is very delicate. So both have the same advantage and price.

The solution is to practice on rice paper, rolls of it are relatively cheap compared to firing pots to find ugly paintings!

So you practice on rice paper. There is a child’s toy called an aquadoodle that shows a blue mark on a white material when you make a mark with water only. You can practice your stroke techniques on that as well. There is also a product called brush-up paper that is paper that brush painters use to practice. It works in the same way as the aquadoodle only it shows black marks on paper. They both dry and can be used again. You can find them at toy stores and hobby supply stores.

The subjects I like to paint are creatures. Bugs and insects show a lot of personality. When I was a young person, I needed glasses but did not have them. So I would go face first into my mother’s garden to see the flowers. When I did, I would come face to face with the world of insects and creatures that lived in the bosom of flowers. Flowers alone do not mean much to me. I cannot garden. But I love their beauty and their home for creatures that are comical and magical to me. That is what I paint.

I also paint wild animals, buildings, landscapes, large birds and environments. The salt marsh where I live is a marine estuary. That means that egrets and herons and other shore birds nest within a few hundred yards of my home. They are my inspiration for my large works. I also live near the outer banks horses, another favorite topic of my work.

So, enough about me. Let’s get to questions.

Elizabeth Priddy’s Clay Workshop www.elizabethpriddy.com


Elizabeth Priddy

Good evening!

I hope everyone has had a chance to review materials and read the opening remarks posted below

We are going to go ahead and begin, assuming that the preliminary material was enough to generate questions.

In the video-gallery, you can look ahead to any picture and use that as your launch for specific questions

I can’t paint to demo for you, so you have to let me know what you would like discuss.
In a normal workshop, I would be demonstrating on paper and letting you warm up to the painting.

You can start with your questions.

June Hileman KinsingerHYPERLINK  \l “”

Where is the best place to get the brunches? For quality n price…

Elizabeth Priddy

June, OAS or through me. I offer a brush DVD combo. But online, I suggest this company


That company has a very good overview of the structure and quality of brushes.

June Hileman Kinsinger

Explain the best brush for bambo painting n the process.

Elizabeth Priddy

I suggest a beginning class in Sumi-e or brushpainting to learn to use this style of brush. you will begin on paper, but it will work just like it does in glaze

Then you can use a good DVD (like mine) to teach you how to apply that skill to pots.

Ruth Drewery

Does Elizabeth paint on bisque or greenware or leatherhard? And can she paint on any if she wants to? and will the results be different after firing?

Elizabeth Priddy

Ruth, I paint on any kind of clay, green, bisque, or glazed but unfired.

The difference between types indicates the final surface. Raku tends to turn into line drawings as reduction takes out the color.

If you paint on greenware, for instance, the painting will be muted by the interaction of the clay and the underglazes.

The way I do it, with a glaze surface that is painted with underglazes and then topped with a clear glaze, the painting is “sandwiched” between the soft white and clear, keeping a barrier between the underglazes and the bisque underneath.

Sharon Mande

question for Elizabeth – I’ve always wanted to paint but between work and actually making the pots, it’s never happened.

what is the best way for a true beginner – a class, a dvd and lots of at home practice? Workshop although I don’t know that there are any in this area… it seems so overwhelming but I love it so much!

Elizabeth Priddy

Sharon, where are you?

Sharon Moormann Mande

Saskatchewan, Canada!

Elizabeth Priddy

Sharon, I bundle a brush with the DVD. It is a good quality brush. Once you have used a good quality chinese compound brush, you will get a good feel for what they are like.

Sally Brook

Elizabeth, you said you use velvet underglazes, but your paintings look so translucent. Do you water down the underglazes? Have you tried the EZ Stroke translucent underglazes?

Elizabeth Priddy

Sally, I use Velevet underglazes, as indicated in the file above. They water down like tube watercolor pigment. The easy strokes did not work well for me.

Other velvet underglazes are not my choice either. I like the specific ones that I listed because they mix true and they are an intensified version so they do not fade out when mixed on the brush.

Elaine Carol

what kind of strokes are used to paint the goldfish?

Elizabeth Priddy

Elaine, which goldfish.

Elaine, the goldfish uses the vertical stroke the most.

To paint a goldfish, 2:02 in the video gallery, you load a brush with yellow to the hilt, red to the half, and tip it with purple. This stroke through the vertical stroke will make the fins, which you do first.

Then you go back in with the same brush to paint the eye sockets. You go with a black liner brush, usually rabbit hair and very thin, into Jet black and do the line work to show the outside lines of the fish.

Mark Campbell

Curious what her preferred medium is. Raku, low fire, or high fire…and why



Elizabeth Priddy

Mark, my preferred medium is electric firing. I also use raku, gas, wood, and pit firing at my studio in Beaufort. It depends on the feel of the work I am trying to get.

Electric firing causes the best color development.

Elizabeth Priddy

Are there any other questions that can help me answer what you need? We did not post the question that I was answering at first. We can post the question with my answer to make it more clear.

Mark Campbell

what cone does she fire to? cone 06 or higher?

Elizabeth Priddy

I use a short soak, 20 minutes at the top to set the top glaze (clear) the painting, and the base coat of white.
I fire to cone 7 in electric and also in my wood kiln.

June Hileman Kinsinger

Would she recommend using speckled clay with grog w clear glaze as a base then painting w overcoat of clear again?

Elizabeth Priddy

No, I think that would have way too much interference from the specks underneath. The underglazes will react with the specks. But on the other hand, it could look great.

Look at this one in the video-gallery. 7:12 should show a fish, a black fish on a speckled background. The specks are from the clay body in that one.

Sally Brook

Elizabeth, what type clay do you use? Is it commercially available?

Elizabeth Priddy

I use Dan Finch throwing clay. It has a warm color and is great in both wood and electric firing. I also use it for handbuilding. It is a very versatile clay body. Highwater Clay distributes it.

June Hileman Kinsinger

Would she recommend using speckled clay with grog w clear glaze as a base then painting w overcoat of clear again?
Was thinking it might make for a softer more rustic look that might look cool but different.

Elizabeth Priddy

I think it would look cool! I would advise that you use a strong base and not look for the softer watercolor effect, though. The background of white is what makes that happen.

This treatment is particularly beautiful on porcelain.

With a more rustic subject to complement the clay you describe, I think it would work well. But do not use as much water to thin the underglaze.

Elaine Carroll

How to paint spots on :23 of video?

Elizabeth Priddy

That is a pomegranate?

The pomegranate on :23 of the video is a painting of a splitting ripe fruit. The outline of the pomegranate is painted first with black. then the seeds are painted red, then using a black liner brush, I go back in and paint the small details or dian that might be called “dots”. Is that what you mean?

Mimi Champlin

Is there any reason not to trace forms to practice painting in the beginning?

Elizabeth Priddy

Mimi, tracing is perfectly legit! If you need to trace forms in the beginning instead of drawing them with the brush, you can do that. There is carbon paper that will transfer a drawing onto the glaze surface or the rice paper and you can go from there. It burns out of the fired clay leaving only the marks you make yourself.

Elizabeth Priddy

Any new questions?

I will answer anything, though. Doesn’t have to be about painting, exactly, as I am a full service potter.

I was asked where I sell my work. I sell both through a gallery in New Bern NC called Carolina Creations and through my website. I travel to do workshops and offer them here in Beaufort. When I do workshops, I usually spend two days there and paint on work that has been made on site instead of bringing it with me. With a firing overnight, the second day, we get to look at results and auction off the work.

On the website, I offer video instruction through DVD’s and use video materials on the site. We will be making a second brushpaintng video that is easier and more basic than the first one we offered.

Melissa Brown Bidermann

Does Elizabeth use any mishima or other technique forthe white line on 1:17

Elizabeth Priddy

At 1:17 of the video, the painting is of a pomegranate, bees, and grass. The white lines are scratched through the painting with a bamboo skewer. You put the white glaze base on, then the painting, then when you scratch through the painting, it leaves a white line of detail work. In the PDF there are pictures of what this looks like up close.

Mishima would be so difficult for this!

I use the white lines a lot in the goldfish work. It makes very good fin lines.

Melissa Brown Bidermann

Love the detail the white lines add!Thank you

Mimi Champlin

If my clay studio wanted to have you come give a workshop, how much advance notice and where do I contact you directly?

Elizabeth Priddy

You can friend me on FB under my real name, Elizabeth Priddy, just make sure it is me and not a rogue FB with my name. Or you can email me at Elizabeth @elizabethpriddy.com. I only need about 4 weeks notice to make a trip. I am pretty affordable. For a class of 20 people, usually a $100 fee will cover the workshop, with a minor adjustment for travel.

I like to travel and like seeing new places. Beaufort is way at the end of NC, the bit that sticks out in the ocean. So bringing people here is a bit difficult. But we had over 100 potters here for the Potters Council Natural Instincts conference

If any one else has any other questions, you can send them now. Otherwise, the information will be up on the blog in the next few days. The class materials will also be up on my website with a link to it from the main page. If you have other questions, please email me and stay in touch.

Thank you for participating!

A parting gift for the group! A peacock big enough to print.








  1. July 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Again, thank you all for this generous gift. It is appreciated.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: