Before Sam Wilkins began working with clay, he was a painter, working primarily with watercolor and gouache. About fifteen years ago, Wilkins started working with clay and pottery, and h
aving an urge for painting, began to look for ways to combine the two media.
About five years ago, Wilkins started painting on his functional porcelain pieces. Initially, those paintings were figurative. He began developing an interesting system of glazing on these porcelain pots. He says, "I found the combination of painting and clay quite pleasing. After throwing and trimming the porcelain pieces, it must be painted with underglazes while the piece is in a somewhat fragile, leather-hard state. Typically, at least three coats of the underglaze are required, which means, in effect, that the same picture must be painted on the same piece three times. The piece is then initially low-fired and then high-fired. The firing of the clay with the underglazes, of course, contains an element of surprise as to what the result will be."
During the last year, Wilkins ventured beyond figurative painting to landscape scenes on my porcelain pieces. "My travels to Italy led naturally to my focus on Tuscan and Venetian landscapes. The Tuscan cypress trees are as omnipresent as the Venetian gondolas in the regional landscapes. And, the trees and the gondolas evoke for me the essence of their regions: I think both offer an element of tranquility."