Monday, December 14, 2009

Silk Clivias - Silk Painting

Aaahhh...I'm back to silk painting. I haven't painted on silk since August. Silk painting is like a drug and if I go too long without doing it, I start having withdrawal symptoms. I'm making up for the hiatus this week. So far, I've finished this one, painted two freeform scarves 14" x 72" and have put the resist on another silk that is the same size as this one.

My intention when I started this painting was to do a background that had leaves painted without resist so that they would be fuzzy and give a sense of foreground and background but after painting the flowers and leaves I felt that giving it a plain black background would give it a dramatic, more graphic quality. Once I had that in my mind, I knew that if I tried to do the dimensional looking background I would probably mess it up because my heart wasn't into it any longer. I was also afraid to use the black because my resist lines on this were really thin because my bottle of resist was almost gone and it was a little thicker than usual and I used a really small tip to apply it. Usually that means that I'm going to have lots of places where the resist didn't fully penetrate the fabric and the dyes will break through. The scarf would have been ruined if the black broke into the yellow flowers. Also, sometimes when steaming the silk after it's painted, the dyes migrate to places where they shouldn't be. I was lucky neither of those things happened and I'm very happy with the finished piece. This can be worn as a scarf but I like to frame the square silks because I have so much labor into them and they look really good hanging on the wall. Some of the tactile beauty of the silk is lost behind the glass but I use the glass because I want them to be protected.

Silk Clivias
Image Size 21" x 21"
Silk dyes on silk


  1. Beautiful, Nancy! This is done with silk dyes and resist on silk? I've not heard of that before (but then we all know how knowledgeable I am! LOLOL); it is a lovely treatment! Can't wait to see what you do next. Your colors are always so vibrant and beautiful and luscious!

  2. One of the things I love about silk painting is the vivid colors. I'm sure you can tell I love color! Another thing I love about silk painting is how each part of the painting is separated by the white lines. I love realism but I also love these graphic, almost cartoony (word?)
    paintings, probably from my past stained glass work. They just feel so pristine and innocent. You should try silk painting. It's SO much fun! Check out to see some tutorials.

  3. Exquisite, Nancy! The black background really makes them pop. I know what you mean about dye migrating during steaming - been there, done that - and it's always the dark colors! These turned out just perfectly though.

  4. Funny you should mention stained glass. I also love that, and have bought the materials to do it myself. Alas...I only had one mini lesson with lead came and I don't care for that stuff. Apparently it can stretch fairly easily, especially when heated. It was too far to drive to continue with the classes (even though I paid for them). Sigh...I do have books though... I suppose before I ever attempt silk painting, I should try to better nail down the basics of drawing! LOLOLOL

  5. Thank you Deborah. I'm really glad I did the black background. I think a busier background would have taken away from the flowers.

    Sherry, one of the great things about silk painting is that I don't have to worry about drawing as much. If you look at my silk paintings on my website, many of them look like children's drawings because of the lack of detail etc. I don't really like to draw but I always enjoy drawing for a silk painting because it's much less stressful.
    You should try to do a stained glass piece using copper foil instead of lead. It can give a more delicate look, can be stronger, (depending on the thickness of the foil) you don't have to worry about it stretching and you don't have to use putty to waterproof it. Of course, the accuracy of your glass cuts will be more critical. Since you already have the supplies, you should try it again. As with so many artistic endeavors, it's all about practice, practice, practice.

  6. beautiful scarf! I'm glad you went with the solid background - it encourages the viewer to get into the lovely details in the flowers.

  7. Thanks Hillary. When I first finished it, I was thinking about doing a second one with the busier background but have decided against that now. On to some new, exciting subjects!

  8. Wonderful!
    Lifts my spirit!
    Thank you for your comment about my "Illumined Angel."

  9. Gorgeous flowers Nancy! So vibrant and so appealing: I can only wish have a silk scarf in those stunning colors :0)

  10. I went over this website and I believe you have a lot of wonderful information, saved to my bookmarks
    Wool Scarves UK


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