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.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Thank You for taking the time to do this demo. I'm following this step by step, your silks are gorgeous and luxurious.