Thursday, October 30, 2008

The H Quilt Erika Made

The H Quilt Erika Made, Watercolor, 16 x 16

This piece was made in time to participate in Watercolor Wet n Wild's October Challenge, which was to paint a quilt. This quilt was made for me by my dear friend Erika Nelson, who, unbeknownst to me, worked secretly on it for years and years. She surprised me with it when I came to visit her in Arkansas exactly two years ago. It has graced my bed ever since, a wonderful reminder of our friendship and also that Erika is always full of surprises! Thank you Erika!

The H Quilt Erika Made, Detail

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pomegranates in Blue Bowl

16 x 16, Watercolor. The last piece before they need to be eaten!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Silk Painting Demo - Part 6

Here's the piece, "Earth and Sun Tallit" all finished. It's been hemmed, button holes have been sewn in the corner areas, and I've tied the "tsitsit" on the corners (click image for larger version).

The detail shot shows the Hebrew writing and the cool salt texture in the border. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed the demo. If you have any questions about getting started, just let me know. Happy painting!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Silk Painting Demo - Part 5

The painting is finished and dried. Now we're going to steam it, a process which will permanently infuse the dye into the fabric, making it colorfast. The artwork is layed flat on two layers of unprinted newsprint paper, and rolled up (I've got a PVC pipe that I roll it around to ease the job.
When it's all rolled up, I use masking tape to hold it closed and to seal up the ends.

Here are the components of my steaming system. Thanks go to David Ludwig for sharing both his silk stretcher and steamer system with me. I've placed the rolled silk into a pair of tights (the tights legs are one inside the other), and tied it on to a piece of wooden dowel. The bottom of the steamer is the fry-daddy (an electric fryer), and the top is the stove pipe behind the table.
The stove pipe sets into the electric fryer, which I will fill with water and use as a steamer. Hang the roll of silk into the cylinder of the stove pipe, and rest the dowel on top. Place a clean, folded towel on top of the stove pipe, and dowel, as you see in the next photo.
The old chair with no seat has straps attached to it, which holds the stove pipe in place, just in case someone isn't careful or there's an earthquake. I steam the silk for two hours. Then I throw it into the washing machine to remove the gutta and any excess dyes, and iron the piece until it's dry and beautiful. If you'd like more detailed information on the process, just email or send me a comment.

The next and last installment of the demo will be....The Finished Piece! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Silk Painting Demo - Part 4

As promised, this part of the demo shows how lovely salt technique is on silk. On a wet, just painted area, toss, throw or sprinkle regular ol' salt. You can also try rock, margarita and kosher salt for some interesting variations!

Above is a close-up of salt applied in the multi-colored section on the left. It has already started reacting and will dry soon.

The entire border of this piece is painted in a multicolored wash, and after painting a foot-long section or so, I throw on the salt, and continue on to complete the border.

Here's a couple of close-ups after the salt has dried and been brushed away. It's unpredictable, and varies with the wetness of the silk, the kind of salt, and, of course, the weather...

In the next installment, I'll show you how to set the colors permanently into the silk, and finish off the piece.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Silk Painting Demo - Part 3

Here's the finished olive green field surrounding the sun. It's still wet now, and will be lighter as it dries.

Tune in next week when I'll show you the salt texture technique in the border of this piece.

Silk Painting Demo - Part 2

Silk painting is similar to watercolor in it's basic techniques, i.e. washes and wet into wet. In this piece (which will be a tallis - Jewish prayer shawl) I'm going to use washes that change in color or intensity. I've painted the sun starting in it's middle with yellow, and as I've gone to the outer edge I've changed to orange-gold. The colors continue to blend with each other long after I've moved on to another section.

For the olive green color, I'm starting with a small brush because I have to work around the Hebrew lettering that borders the sun. The gutta I've put on the letters will keep the olive color out, but I need to be careful not to flood the area as that would send color over the gutta instead of just up to it.

I've lined up various values of my olive green colors in these cups, and will gradually change from on to the other as I paint the large field of color. Keep the paint nice and juicy, and overlap your strokes for the smoothest transition possible. Don't answer the phone - you gotta keep it going until you've finished the entire shape.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Silk Painting Demo, Part 1

I've gotten some questions about how to paint on silk. So, if you're interested, here's the first installment of a silk painting demo! If not, I won't be insulted if you skip this post. Please check back soon for new artwork to be posted.

You start with white silk and some kind of stretcher system. My favorite fabric is silk charmeuse, very luxurious with a good shine and weight. I'm using Chinese hooks, rubber bands and 3/4" PVC pipes and joints for my stretcher system. It's relatively cheap, and I can easily change the lengths and widths of the pipes to accommodate any size I wish to paint. Also, the rubber bands pick up any slack as the silk absorbs water and stretches, so the silk never sags. I buy my silk supplies from Dharma Trading Co.

In this example I'm going to color all my line work. Not only does it jazz up the painting, but this allows me to see the lines after applying gutta (next paragraph) which are almost invisible when dry.

Using a plastic bottle applicator with a fine metal tip, over my colored lines, I apply Gutta (silk painting's equivalent to watercolor's frisket - more essential, though, because without it silk dyes can spread unchecked on wet or dry fabric). I use water-soluble gutta, a greener alternative to the traditional rubber based, and really quite as good.

Here you can see the purple drawing (the purple is a "vanishing marker" whose lines disappear over time or when covered with water), one piece of drawing that has been colored with yellow silk dye using a fine brush, and one shape that has also received the gutta (still wet). the gutta darkens the silk and is shiny until it dries - then you can hardly see it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lone Pomegranate

I've met a group of friendly painters at "Watercolors Wet n Wild," a juried group of watercolor artists. Lee, one of the artists, sent me some Lana paper after hearing I'd never tried it. Here's to Lee - my first experience with this new paper - which I like! This is on hot pressed 140# Lana, 5 x 7

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pomegranates in a Row

Watercolor, 11 x 15
Thank you Doug for the inspiration. Doug grew these in his orchard and has graciously shared them with me!

Detail 1, Pomegranates in a Row

Detail 2, Pomegranates in a Row

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Black Spirals

Black Spirals Tallit, Silk, 22 x 70

One of my newer creations for my inventory (read: this is not a commission, it's available! As is the Tree of Life - Magma Tallit posted a couple of weeks ago)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gordon Apples II

Watercolor, 16 x 16
Number two in a series of fall fruits. Done on Kilimanjaro Paper, whereas last apples were done on either Strathmore or Canson. I enjoy the square format.