January 22, 2009 in Washington Voices

North Side woman masters art of painting porcelain

Jennifer LaRue
 
Kathy Plonka photo

Sola Raynor talked about her recent paintings on porcelain at her home in Spokane.
(Full-size photo)

The list of “lost arts” is endless.

With the discoveries of technological advances, things that were once done by hand can now be done by machine in a timelier and money saving fashion from furniture and family meals to works of art. A form of the latter is what artist Sola Raynor hopes to preserve.

“It is frequently said that porcelain art is dying. This is because most of the practitioners are elderly and it is not being passed down to a younger generation,” she said, “I know this is true but I have a hard time believing it when I am sliding my brush into the paint. Brush and porcelain become an instrument as the overglaze is stroked onto the glassy surface, evoking a quiet delicate sound.”

Raynor, 36, was exposed to art as a child through family members and friends who worked in photography, watercolor, ceramics and acrylics.

“It was ingrained in my childhood that it’s important to be creating,” Raynor said. “All the women in my family crocheted.” She was inspired by the craftsmanship and hard work others were willing to put into their creations.

She took art lessons as a child and as a teen she often spent Friday and Saturday nights drawing.

Raynor continued to draw and paint. Eventually she decided that a secure day job would be necessary to fund her habit so she registered at Eastern Washington University. “My art was curtailed by the fact that I had to get an education,” she said. In June 2008, she graduated with a master’s in social work.

In 2001, a friend suggested that Raynor try painting on porcelain. Her interest was piqued and she researched, even trying to teach herself, comparing that experience to a child’s first attempt at using crayons.

“Nothing remotely resembling instant gratification can be found in porcelain art. It takes much time and discipline to learn,” she said. She found a teacher who she studies with weekly.

The time consuming art form is worth it to Raynor who searched out a new challenge once she mastered dreamy and whimsical landscapes. “I wanted a new challenge. I’m really attracted to the works of Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) and Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) and I wondered if I could paint realistically like the old guys did.”

Now with school done and a secure day job, Raynor has time to focus on her work; spending hours perfecting flowers and landscapes in a bedroom studio in her North Side home.

“Currently my artistic priority is increasing my technical proficiency in both porcelain and acrylics. I want to realize moments of light, color and motion. I want the closest possible fidelity to the subject I am painting. This is my exploration of the beauty of the world.”


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