View Full Version : Black Velvet

02-27-2002, 10:25 PM
I received a commission this week and I am still laughing about it... A client, whom I have done portraiture for before, requested that for her husband's 50th birthday, I paint a very special portrait. She wants it done on black velvet with her husband basically appearing as Elvis. After suggesting that she could find one much cheaper already completed in Laredo or paint one herself from a 'paint by the numbers' kit, I realized that this was something I should probably do for her in order to keep a working relationship going.

So, actually, now I am looking forward to it as something completely off-beat and different to do...but I have no CLUE what materials to use.

On the off-chance that anyone on these boards would have any advice -- please do not take it as a slight or an insult! -- I would greatly appreciate knowing what type of velvet is used and how it is prepared for painting. I work primarily in acrylic, but if oil is what works best on velvet, that I will try...but if I can get away with acrylic I would prefer to use it.

I suppose I could take off for the border and buy myself a geniune oil on velvet masterpiece and figure it out from there. But, in the interest of time and - hahahah - expense - I thought I'd throw the question out there and see if anyone had an answer.

By the way, if aforementioned client requests a portrait on china so that she can hang it on the wall with all her other collectible dishes, I will have to draw the line there. We all have our standards, right?

Thank you! Geeps in Texas

02-28-2002, 01:48 PM
check out the hgtv website...carol duvall's show...I know she's had someone on who's painted on velvet, but for the life of me i can't remember what the technique is callled...

oh yes... theorem paintings...obviously not the same technique or style you're looking for, but done often on velvet.

02-28-2002, 07:34 PM
Hannemuhle (sp?) makes a velvet-like paper that sometimes used with pastels. Acrylics should be ok on that. I have a few sheets of that somewhere. I'll take a look for it and try a little swatch with acrylics. I 'll write again a little later and let you know how it worked.
I wouldn't think that oils is a good idea on velvet, the oil would spread and the surface would get pretty icky. And you sure couldn't prime the surface, or it wouldn't be vervet anymore.

I think your commission sounds like fun! :D


03-01-2002, 08:27 PM
Thank you so much for the suggestion Arlene. I looked it up and found some good stuff on Carol Duvall's site. Amusingly enough, I found a Museum of Black Velvet in Seattle and have discovered that it is actually an artform that began in Japan...spread to the South Seas where several Americans picked it up and became genre painters of that ilk. Amazing...I had no clue...

Gisela - thanks for the suggestion, I am eager to hear what your experiment yields. Oil does sound icky to me too, but in looking at some of these paintings - they were indeed done in oil AND oil pastel if you can imagine. There were some really nice works done in black velvet with bleach and pigment...interesting stuff and not as "crafty" as it sounds.

03-01-2002, 08:54 PM
Originally posted by geeperstx

Gisela - thanks for the suggestion, I am eager to hear what your experiment yields.

Ok, well, it looks like the Hannemuhle would hold up alright. :cool:
It takes the acrylic paint just fine, although the first layer soaked right into the nap and it takes longer to dry. If you use this kind of paper, you might want to let that first layer soak in good and dry real well. I also found that the velvet still looks like velvet after being painted on, unless you apply the paint quite thickly.

I'd still stay away from the oils, though...I mean, this might wind up being a family heirloom and oils wouldn't be archival at all...lol! ;)

Hope that helps -- it was good to get a chance to play. :)


03-02-2002, 09:54 AM
Hi Geeps :)
I remember my Mom painting on velvet years ago.
Mainly on articles of clothing she made then embellished with beautiful patterns and flowers.
Have no idea exactly how she did it, but it would have been oil as that is what she worked in.
You commission sounds kind of fun.
I look forward to seeing your finished piece.