Painting my second-hand crockery

A while ago I started to paint some of my collection of found second-hand  vintage and retro crockery.  It's taken a while and I've not painted everything (far too many things to paint all of them!) but I've made a start at least.

I'd love to do something with the illustrations and maybe create some designs featuring the artwork - but for now it's just been fun to get the coffee pots, cups and plates out and paint some of the beautiful colours and patterns featured on the old pieces.

I thought I'd share some of the painting in progress and some of the finished artwork.....
All the illustrations were painted in watercolours; I only ever use Winsor & Newton watercolour paints (the tubes) and I personally prefer painting onto a 'cold-pressed' watercolour paper which has a textured surface, rather than painting onto a smooth 'hot-pressed paper'.  I used Arches medium 300gsm 100% cotton paper.

There is some good information about different watercolour papers on the Winsor & Newton website here
I always start by quickly sketching the object, and putting in some rough detail.  I then start to paint by building up layers of 'washes' of colour to get the basic outline, shape and shadows of the object.  When I'm happy with the overall body and shape of the mug or plate for example,  I'll move on to concentrate on the actual pattern.  Depending on whether I want a detailed or washy effect will depend on whether I allow the paint to dry, or work wet-on-wet.  If I allow the paint to dry in-between layers I can build up more detail, whereas wet-on-wet will give a more washy and free-flowing finished effect with less detail.      


  1. I absolutely adore these, particularly since you have a few pieces that I also have. They have been on my mind since you first posted them. Lovely

  2. My goodness, they're all so so SO lovely. I can't even pick a favourite. Though I do really like the orange floral tin (?), my Grandad used to keep his Digestive Biscuits in one just like it, and my Grandma had a set of plates like the square frilly one! Makes me want to go home to find them! Hopefully at Christmas time I will :) What a wonderful group of images to share, thank you :) x

  3. Hi Lucy,
    How nice it was to find your blog via the Design Files.
    Gorgeous illustrations!

  4. Very very pretty. love them all but just like KM above, the orange floral tin is a personal fav. My mother still has one exactly the same and i remember when my grandmother bought it for her. We thought it was incredibly stylish! Even now you can always find a ginger nut in there. Thanks Lucy! x

  5. These are the most amazing paintings. I love them all and they are just so full of memory and love.

  6. Awww thanks for your comments everyone! Painting is such a personal thing for me, so it's lovely when people respond positively to my illustrations - whether the subject matter of the artwork itself.

    The orange tins are a bit if a personal fav of mine too - whilst I don't have childhood memeories of them (I think they are an old Australian design) I just love the colours and the bold floral pattern. I have a set of 4 tins that all stack inside each other - like babushka tins, and a large cake tin too!

  7. Hi Lucy,
    They really are beautiful illustrations. And how wonderful that they prompt such personal reflections from those who see them.
    I look forward to seeing how you use them, though personally feel framed and sold as artworks in themselves would do the trick!

  8. Your paintings are beautiful. I like the subjects too.

  9. Loving your paintings & think these would make lovely cards & the vintage stuff is great. I adore the 'new' bread bin & think this should be painted as well ...Lol Soph xx

  10. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!


  11. Absolutely stunning work we are very much looking forward to featuring you on our blog :O) xxx