Part V: Painting
When the future doll passed through high firing, it’s time for the most interesting and creative step: painting. The painting makes the porcelain “alive” and finally defines the doll’s appearance.
For painting I use china paints: powder pigments which are mixed with mediums to make liquid paints of various colors. Painted parts are fired in kiln: at temperature about 800°С the paint “burns in” the porcelain at molecular level, so it never comes off and never fades because of UV.
Painting is a long multistage process. To create smooth transition and deep colors, it’s needed to apply many translucent layers of paint and fire each one. Some colors have their own specific and require individual firing program. So, some parts are fired up to 20 times, and the whole process takes weeks.
First, the underlying color tone is applied to give the doll a living look. It is several translucent layers of skin-colored paints.
Then the details are painted: lips are colored, eyes are painted, eyebrows and lashes appear at doll’s face. Every wrinkle, every hair has to be painted individually. For such delicate work, I need a small brush and a firm hand.
As a final touch, I add freckles and birthmarks, giving the doll especially living look.
When the painting is finished, the flat-toned porcelain looks like human’s skin, and the doll’s face becomes vibrant and expressive.