View Full Version : Silk Painting Demonstaration - Undersea World.

04-11-2004, 11:46 PM

I told a few people ages ago I would do a silk painting WIP here. I'm not even sure yet if and where I'll add the mer- folk so forgive if it ends up not being totally fantasy.

It is 15 X 60 stretched Charmeuse silk using French dyes and gutta resist ( latex based resist used with a squeeze bottle and metal tip. ) Thin lines of dye are painted, then covered with resist. The start doing first layers and shading within. When that dries, more resist is put into the shaded areas and that is painted with more dye.

04-11-2004, 11:53 PM
You can see how much light the dye dries so you have to judge your values carefully.

Last picture gives you an idea of the size and how much more I have to do. :rolleyes:

More to come.

04-12-2004, 06:04 PM
Thank you for looking and commenting Leanne, Sonia, TereP, Amy, Kiwi, and Mark.

To answer your questions: It's not that it's difficult as much as it is time consuming. I developed these techniques on my own because I wanted them to look like paintings and not flat like most silk paintings I've seen. Amy, after the painting is finished, it will be steam " cooked" for two hours then washed to remove excess dye. After that it is dry cleaned to remove the resist. I found the steamed dyes are more intense in color saturation than the heat set dyes.

As you look at it now, you can see where the resisted areas look a little more yellow.

As of last night:

1st picture: Because dye flows very fast and can become flat or muddy, I use rubbing alcohol in confined areas to keep the light areas. Alcohol repels dye so the dark dyes won't flow into the light areas.

2nd pic : I let the fern dry before underpainting the second turtle because I am using salt for texture.

3rd pic: After that dried, wiped off all of the salt because it interferes with the gutta. Added gutta texture to turtle. The underpainting bled through the resist in a few areas so the painting had to be flipped and resisted again on the back.

4th pic: Added the line work for the left side of painting.

5th: Where it's at so far. Forgot to say, the thin purple lines of my ambiguous drawing :rolleyes: are made with a fabric fanishing marker that disappears as soon as it gets wet.

Hope to get a lot done today. Thanks for looking.


04-14-2004, 05:20 PM
Thank you for looking and commenting Dorith, Shari, and Sarah. Wow, you all had a lot of questions ! LOL. I will try to answer them all.

Sarah- The silks are suspended on simple pine frames that I made that are slightly largers than the silks. I have about 7 different sizes to fit the sizes of silk that I like to work on. I buy pre- hemmed silks so they are standard sizes. The silks must be painted flat because the dye would otherwise run. Those blue plastic things you see on the edges are called Chinese hooks. Each has 3 sharp bent needles that slide into the silk. They are adjusted with rubber bands.

Shari- Some people do airbrush on silk but the silk must be specially treated ( with a gutta/ turpenoid mix ) and the treatment prevents full penetration of the dyes so I don't like the effect because the colors are weaker.

Yes, I did have some art schooling and experience with oil painting prior to discovering silk painting but I wasn't very good. LOL. In the '90's I was working as a chef at a backcountry lodge and not doing any art at that point. A woman came for a fly fishing class but we got snowed in. Turns out she was a silk painter ( how I wish I could remember her name ! ) She had brought her painting supplies with her and since her fishing class was cancelled, she volunteered to show the few of us who were working, how she silk painted. It was serendipity. Two hours in a back country lodge that changed my direction forever. I was very poor at the time and filed away the experience. Several years later I bought some supplies and some books and just went for it.

I paint on many different types of silk and each has it's own characteristics, pro and con. I will cover all of that in that article that I am writing.

Thanks for all the interest. :p

Here's the update. I am on the last layer. I have painted a very pale blue background. This will set the final elements into the distance. Hope to finish today.

The first picture is a close up of the Chinese hooks and gutta bottle.

Thanks for looking.


04-16-2004, 10:24 PM
Thanks for hanging with me on this one. Took longer than expected but it's basically done.

Thanks also for the kind words Lava Chameleon, Mary, Sarah,
and Jacki.

Mary- This one took roughly 25- 30 hours (?) A lot of that is spent staring at it thinking....where in the heck do I go now ? LOL. I do some very simple pieces that can be done in an hour or 2, some take up to 40 hrs. :o Prices range from $ 20- $ 1100 And everywhere in between. I've done some silks that are 4' X 6', though those are very hard to work on and are usually commissions.

As far as longevity, there are silk paintings from Asian that are a thousand years old and still in top condition. Type and weight of silk have a lot to do with it as well as the sizing used, wear, and washing conditions.

Jacki- Many of my pieces, though painted on scarves like this one, are really meant as wall pieces. They frame beautifully. This one is up for grabs at my next show ( Strawberry Music Festival in Yosemite.) There's a couple there that have purchased almost every single fantasy piece I've done so I do admit I had them in the back of my mind. :evil:

At this point the silk is removed from the stretcher and will be steam cooked to set the dyes. It's extremely salt and resist laden and very difficult to photograph because of the goo ( or I should say gutta.) The colors are also slightly off because the resist gives everything a yellowish tint. That will all be removed at the dry cleaner.

I did end up adding a mermaid and dolphins to the background. You can see in the first photo that there's a lot of sketching right on the silk with vanishing marker until I get things right where I want them( and sometimes not :rolleyes: )

If anyone would like, I will post the finish again post dry cleaning so you can get a truer idea of the final. That will not be until next week.

Cheers and Thanks for the encouragement !


04-17-2004, 06:44 AM
Axl, thanks. Wasn't sure if that itty- bitty boobie needed a butt icon or not. LOL.There's a sentence one does not often get to say.

Jacki- Forgot to answer your resist question. I use solvent based gutta ( turpenoid.) I hate the water based, it's sticky, never seems to dry and dissolves if the silk is too wet with dyes. The solvent based gutta's do require good ventilation but the linear barrier holds better.

I use Jacquard, Dupont, Sennilier. They are all interchangeable.



04-18-2004, 05:06 PM
Leanne, Sarah, Nina, Teresa- Thank you all for the generous comments and encouragement. They are appreciated.



04-23-2004, 11:48 PM
Thank you so much Lorna and Arlene. You all are making me blush. I appreciate your comments.

Lorna- You made me laugh because on the larger pieces, it does sometimes take me a hour just to stretch them as I keep having to adjust the tension.



06-14-2004, 04:21 PM
Hi Luka and Bill,

My apologies. My computer has been a royal pain lately, no emails. Grrr

I am embarrassed ( and happy ) to say that this piece sold the day after it got out of the dry cleaner ( never happens ) so I was unable to photograph it. ( Thus my letting the thread quietly fade away. LOL )

I do have a four seasons- four elements WIP going in the wearables forum and I will be photographing that tomorrow....I swear ! I will p.m. you both with the link if you like.

Thank you both so much for your interest and generous comments.

06-14-2004, 06:53 PM
Diane and Luka- You two are a hoot. You're making me blush.

Here's the link to the other WIP. Not as good a painting but what the heck. I WILL be posting that final tomorrow...no...really.

Four Seasons-Four Elements WIP (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=184083/)

Thanks for all the kind words. :p