"Everybody knows a work of art takes at least an hour!" Lucy to Linus, (Peanuts)

FineArtViews Painting Competition - Twice in the Fav 15%

http://canvoo.com/boldbrush/badge/13203 three times selected for FAV15%, Fine Art Views Bold Brush Painting Competition

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Painting on Silk

I haven't had time to work more on the painting of Samanda. With Bob traveling down to Wisconsin to be with his father, who is dying, I have a heavier chore load around here, which is ok. I'm glad to be able to manage it. I did start a painting on silk over a week ago, which I scrapped (washed out) after a miserable start. It's been over 8 years since I painted on silk and I am in relearning mode. It is not quite the same as watercolour painting. There are some technical things that you need to know in order to avoid making a huge mess. It is coming back to me! I am doing this 36"x36" scarf for my dear sister-in-law, Sandy, (of the Presenting Miz Sandy fame - see blogs from last spring). She requested "ferns" when I asked what she would like me to paint.
I am also going to do one for my mother-in-law. Sandy suggested cupcakes. That will be fun!
Silk requires a lighter touch and a leap of faith. You draw the image with a gutta resist and then apply the dye with a brush and let it flow. It blends to the edges of the resist and stops (unless the resist has a leak!).The colours can be mixed right on the silk or in little glass cups. Over painting, too many strokes, letting part dry and then going back in causes blotches and ugly spots but sometimes they can be fortuitous if you are willing to play and take a few risks. Once the image is completed the silk is carefully wrapped in newsprint and placed in a container (a canning pot is good) so it sits over water that is brought to a simmer. A solid lid that holds the steam in is necessary. The steaming goes on for about four hours to set the colour. The results, if there are no problems with water touching the silk and unexpected "bleeding" of colour, are
spectacular - vibrant and satiny. Glorious.


  1. That sounds tricky!! But it's looking just beautiful :)

    I'm sorry Bob's father. I'll be thinking of you guys :)

  2. Have seen work of a few silk Artists and love what you have going here. Can't wait to see the cupcake one!

    So sorry to hear of Bob's Father Karen. Best wishes.

  3. Karen, may you and Bob have the grace and strength to help you deal with Bob's dad. I am a self taught watercolorist and recently I have been so drawn to silk painting (I have never been around it or tried it)but just have been pulling up sites on the internet to study it and find out what is needed. It was a very pleasant suprise to see this wip silk painting by you. It is beautiful and intriguing.

  4. I haven't worked on silk since I was at college. It used to give me terrible hand cramp.
    This looks beutiful though :)

  5. this looks very beautiful karen ..from the thumb nail i thought it was a watercolour ..i'd love to try this ...i'm so sorry to read your sad news karen best wishes to you and your family

  6. Silk painting is not like regular watercolour painting. Doing the gutta can cause hand cramp if the viscosity of the gutta isn't right. It needs to be thicker than you think and squeezing the little bottle with its tiny silver nib, held completely straight up and down as you draw, should require very little pressure from your fingers. Mixing the gutta consistency takes some practice. Leaning in over the center section of a large piece of silk can cause a bit of back ache too!

  7. Hi there Karen!... You really do step into the thick o' battle with your projects! Both the portrait and silk painting seem to be progressing well from what I am seeing!

    Sorry to hear about Bob's Dad! Not an easy path to be following... have been there a few times myself!

    Hope that your paintings work out the way you see them!
    Good painting!
    Warmest regards,

  8. I love silk painting and yours looks beautiful. I can't wait to see the cupcakes.

  9. Thank you everyone! So nice to hear from you!