Enamels are made by painting a substrate, typically metal, with powdered glass; minerals called color oxides provide coloration. After firing at a temperature of 750–850 degrees Celsius (1380–1560 degrees Fahrenheit), the result is a fused lamination of glass and metal. Unlike most painted techniques, the surface can be handled and wetted Enamels have traditionally been used for decoration of precious objects, but have also been used for other purposes. Limoges enamel was the leading centre of Renaissance enamel painting, with small religious and mythological scenes in decorated surrounds, on plaques or objects such as salts or caskets. In the 18th century, enamel painting enjoyed a vogue in Europe, especially as a medium for portrait miniatures. In the late 20th century, the technique of porcelain enamel on metal has been used as a durable medium for outdoor murals.
Peter Heller is the best-selling author of The Dog Stars. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook, The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
Painting is an important form in the visual arts, bringing in elements such as drawing, gesture (as in gestural painting), composition, narration (as in narrative art), or abstraction (as in abstract art). Paintings can be naturalistic and representational (as in a still life or landscape painting), photographic, abstract, narrative, symbolistic (as in Symbolist art), emotive (as in Expressionism), or political in nature (as in Artivism).