Failure Teaches Success

Hello, there! Long time no see! I recently think that I always say “Long time no see” to y’all, lol.

I’m so happy because I finally can post this blog entry today! Woot!!

Today’s entry is a portrait!!!!

My practicing Piece with Jane Mark's studies in Portrait  #1

My practicing Piece with Jane Marks’s studies in Portrait #1


After I returned to Japan from America last time, I started practicing a portrait with Jane Marks’s studies and her colors. I like her colors because it’s very smooth for painting.  Since I took her portrait class at the GA school in America, I have become a big fan of her portraits and colors. I think her colors are especially good for painting Caucasion people like Victorian ladies, babies and little girls and boys. I also think it’s good for us to practice different angles of portraits with her studies. When I was in the GA school, I painted a front side portrait. The light sauce was also from the front side. I learned how to catch the shadows and lights on the face. This time I wanted to practice a different angle of portrait, and I chose her. Her angle is slightly a side face, and light sauce is from the right side. I thought it wasn’t difficult for me to paint her, but my idea was wrong!!!!!!

My Failure Piece in the Portrait

My Failure Piece in the Portrait


Look at the second picture! I fired her twice and burned her lip color and lost her skin color. I fired her at a temperature that Jane mentions in her studies. However, I lost some yellow and red colors and burned them. I asked my painting friends which temperature was the best for her colors. I tried again and I lost them again…… I added some yellow and red colors and lost them back and forth many times. And then, I realized that I couldn’t fix the piece. I gave up keeping on painting on the piece and test fired all her colors on the rear side of the plate.

A Test Fire

A Test Fire


It seemed to be good for me, and I fired my second piece for her (I mean I repainted her on the other tile, and that is my finished piece.) at the same temperature. My first fire was good. I could keep the colors, but I lost some yellow and red again at my second fire. At the time, I almost lost my motivation to keep on painting her. It was really frustrating for me. I know that my kiln is a digital kiln. I don’t need to control anything like opening a lid of the kiln, controling temperatures or whatever. On the other hand, I can’t control anything. I can’t open the lid, control the firing time, maturing time or whatever. It’s sometimes convenient, but it sometimes inconvenient. In this case, it was quite inconvenient!!!

After I lost yellow and red again, I asked my friends again. I received a lot of good advice and ideas from my painting friends! I really appreciate them! Even thought my Texan friend isn’t a painter, he also helped me! Thank you, Matt!!! A friend of mine, Emilie asked to Jane Marks about my problem. She was also surprised at my problem because she never ever had the problem for a long time. I think the digital kiln can’t create an air flow, and that’s is also the problem that I lost some colors. I tried to do all kind of things to create the air flow in my kiln.

I finally could solve the problem! It was a long way, and I took three weeks to conquer it!


My Practicing Piece with Jane Marks's Studies #1

My Practicing Piece with Jane Marks’s Studies in Portraits #1


My Practicing Piece with Jane Marks's Studies in Portraits #1

My Practicing Piece with Jane Marks’s Studies in Portraits #1


Now, I’m thinking that I’d love to paint all Jane’s studies that I have because I can practice a lot of different angles portraits and light sauces with Jane’s colors to study her colors more. I really would love to improve my skills and knowledge in portraits. I guess I sometimes will become tired and bored to paint only her portraits, so I’d love to paint real people’s pictures that are good ones for Jane’s colors as well. This project is my goal for this year!

Next year, I’d love to use San Do’s portrait colors to study his colors. At the time I’d love to paint portraits from real people’s pictures with his colors.


I will go to America again to take San Do’s private class two days from now. I will take his still life class. I love painting still life with oil paints, but I haven’t tried to paint it on pottery. I’m really curious how to paint still life paintings on ceramics. I’m thinking that I’d love to buy all his colors to study how to paint still life paintings. While painting all his still life studies, I’d love to study how to paint still life on pottery next year! That’s is my next goal for next year!!!

I probably won’t be able to post anything in a month because I will be in America in a month! See you, everyone one month from now!!!





10 Responses to “Failure Teaches Success”

  1. this is lovely! have a nice time in america!

  2. Gloria Cowan Says:

    Hi Yumi, Your portrait is a success! It is great that you solved the problem. I too am interested in portraits. I try mine in pastel (soft) first. It makes see all the little things and prepares me for painting on the porcelain. I find that one of the greatest challenges with painting portraits is to find the “right” photo that is interesting and with good lighting etc. I am always searching magazines. You will learn alot from San Do. I have studied with Violet Temple and Barbara Bougher . I hope you keep me up dated with your portrait painting
    and the other painting ,as well.
    Gloria Cowan (Canada)

    • Hi, Gloria!

      Thank you so much for the comment! I also learned a portrait from Barbara Bougher at the Michigan school, and I painted my daughter. You can see my daughter’s portrait in my portraits’ category on this blog. She is also a good portrait teacher for me. She has been using San Do’s portrait colors. I think his colors are good for Asian skins because compared to Jane’s colors his skin colors seem to be a bit yellow-ish for me.

      I agree with you! Painting portraits is so much fun, but we have to find good ones! So, practicing someone’s studies is one of the shortest cut, lol. I love Jane’s studies because her studies are rich variety of angles, light sauces, people from youngs to adults.

      After I conquer Jane’s, I’d love to try to paint wrinkles! That is also a very interesting subject for me to paint on human’s faces!!

  3. She is lovely. I am happy you conquered your problem.

  4. René Astudillo Says:

    Saludos desde Ecuador
    Excelente trabajo pero requiere de mucha paciencia sigue adelante luego será más práctico. Si hay la posibilidad de comprar el Libro bueno comuníquenme Gracias por la atención.

    • Hola, René!

      Nice to meet you! Gracias por el comentario. ¿Me estás preguntando por un buen libro para los retratos en porcelana? Te recomiendo los libros de Jane Marks. Tengo dos de ellos, y ellos son muy buenos. Ella también ha hecho una película a pintar retratos. Esto también es muy bueno.

  5. I like your portrait and even though you had some frustrating times there, I am sure it was a learning process, and your are correct that failure does teach success.

    I too like to paint portraits and find that when I look at someone, I am always looking at the facial contours and shadows. (but I do listen to what they are saying) lol. This is my opinion only, but I do think you do not need everyone’s portrait paints, that you can mix you paints to find the color you need. But everyone has their own path to follow. Jane is a good teacher, I took from her 25-30 years ago and learned alot, but I paint mostly with Margarett Winborn’s paints. I do have a few of Jane’s . They are all good.

    In my opinion, the best learning tool is to draw your subjects before you paint them, this gets you familiar with all the shapes of the face. Like Gloria said, find your own photos and paint alot of those. Do not rely on other peoples studies after awhile of study and painting portraits. I have not seen any of your other paintings but I can tell you are a good painter. So keep on a “trucking” as they would say here in Texas.

    I love the side note “where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art” So well said!!!
    Happy painting, Joanna

    • Hi, Joanna!

      Nice to meet you! Thank you so much for the wonderful comment! I learned a lot from your comment! I just start learning portraits and I’d love to use a lot of different colors to study what colors are the best for my portraits! I’d love to find my own colors to my original portraits! To it, using a lot of colors is important, I think.

      Drawing is very important! Before I paint still life paintings on canvas with some oil paints, I do that. I haven’t drown portraits yet, but I think that is also important to learn values, light sauces, shadows and lights and forms! I’d love to do it! Thank you so much!

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