Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MUSE debut May 9th&10th - Mother's Day Weekend!

Come visit me at my booth for my first Art Show and new Spring/Summer line of MUSE hand painted silk scarves! For more info., email me at arscarves@hotmail.com

Monday, April 27, 2009

Black silk experiment

Over the weekend, my very close friend and I experimented with painting on black silk. We traveled to Laguna Beach to learn this technique from a professional silk painter named Olivia Batchelder. She is an excellent teacher and very talented artist.

The weather was like a dream - peek-a-boo sunshine with a light ocean breeze mixed in. We mixed actual metallic pigment powder with white fabric gum to make the paste and then painted away!

This technique is so liberating - no resist lines, just freedom to paint whatever comes to mind. The possibilities are endless, here. Once I get my hands on these "Lumiere & Neopaque" paints, I would like to add some metallic accents to my existing silk scarves as well as create some far more painterly imagery as well.  I'm about to burst with excitement to create a series with this technique now!  What will it be?  Ocean scenes, expanding on new florals for summer, more geometric abstract patterns?  Stay tuned to see..

My palette was quite limited, however the free flowing feathers and swirly lines do represent my cheery mood I felt that day.  Happy to have my friend by my side, sharing this new and exciting learning process, and well, just happy to be alive!

For more information about Olivia's workshops and artwork, please visit her at http://www.oliviabatchelder.com  Her email is pacificoceanmermaid@gmail.com

For information about these paints, visit http://www.dharmatrading.com/lum_neo.html.  

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Ocean Bouquet" a salt water adventure

First Salting!  In keeping with my string of "firsts", today I'm sharing step by step progression of my first successful silk painting using the salt technique. I started with silk habotai (China silk) 36"x36" square of silk habotai.  I had drawn in the floral outlines in a silver metallic resist weeks ago, so first I needed to re-stretch the square out.
I used a bristle brush to make sure the silk fully caught onto the tiny needles on each end of the frame.  A sponge was used to paint the dark blues and aquas of the watercolor ground.  I find it so peaceful when mixing shades of blue.  The lights and dark blues blend and flow together so beautifully.  Sometimes, I wish everything was blue - blue/white/silver.. those very well might be my favorite hues.
After painting the blue washes, the next step was to sprinkle rock salt. This technique is quite intriguing because you can see the effects right away as the granules soak up the extra paint water so quickly.  It creates comet like shooting stars or the illusion of water splashing.  It gives a whole new meaning to "watching the paint dry"as, in this case, it can be quite exciting!

Once the background dried, I moved on to painting in the green leaves and floral bouquet, complete with little mushrooms and budding rosettes.  I do remember being in quite a whimsical mood while drawing those lines.  Think "Alice in Wonderland", chasing white rabbits in day dreams.. memories of happy summer days of childhood.. skipping along the board walk smelling the ocean breeze. 

And viola! Here it is drawn, salted, painted and all stretched out on the frame. Once completely washed and finished, it feels silky smooth and can be worn any which way.  Here I borrowed an idea from a friend  - rolling up the square, tying knots, and wearing it like a necklace.  I love this idea - it's fun and whimsical, just like the mood of the painting.  

I believe that I will paint more scarves like this, with one color contrasting the other side since it provides such versatility.  Tonight I did a little photo shoot and here are some other ways (not including around the waist or as a head scarf) to tie this happy-go-lucky hand painting.  Keep in mind - this is all the same scarf, just arranged other ways to create varied looks.  The possibilities seem endless, actually.
European around the neck, or knotted necklace for a preppy/dressed up casual feel...

Cowl neck showing multi, color, or all blue to wear over a nice work outfit...

Over the shoulder for an evening accent or as a sexy bandana top for a hot summer day...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

a Rose is a Rose - in this case a Ribbon

What is it about a rose that is so fascinating?  Is it the unmistakable fragrance, velvety petals, or the contrast symbolism of a beautiful bloom sitting atop a sharp thorny stem... representing love and sorrow, victory and hardship, beauty and beast?  Things to consider, I suppose..

But for now, I would like to share my thoughts on the first scarf I have painted with black resist lines (instead of the clear resist which turn to white after washing).  This scarf is silk charmeuse, the shiny silk, for those who are not familiar.  I enjoy painting on this surface quality because the paints run so fast and blend gorgeously.  When I first stretched out the long piece, I thought how rich and luxurious this fabric feels and for some reason I immediately thought of roses.. the petals in particular were on my mind... The way they curve all over.  I looked up and saw a few leaves fly by that had been blown off a tree nearby - so playful as they trickled across the ground...and so I began.

The line work was possibly my favorite part of creating this scarf.  I became mesmerized allowing the black lines to inform each other of it's next path.  As the motifs eventually took on a mind of their own,  spiraling outwards, I began to think how they rather resembled ribbons flowing in the wind.  Thus it was named "Ribbon Rose".

I wanted to use a palette of violets and pale yellows for this piece, but I have to say, after seeing how graphic and chic it looked without the petals filled in,  I spent an entire week contemplating whether to just leave it white or not.  The black/violet/white combination was so striking - this something I will definitely have to use in another piece soon.  

Eventually, I couldn't resist, and went ahead and painted in the petals.  They transition from deep violet to washed lilac to shades of ice yellows and I think it turned out nicely!  It still needs to be steamed and washed, but once it is, it will have a glimmering sheen to it and will look riveting on the right girl.

I could see an artsy girl with patent yellow heals in a black dress
rocking out Ribbon Rose as a head band or a waist sash. Or an elegant, sophisticated lady folding it up in a twisted bow like way with a grey, navy or white outfit and black accessories.. or lovingly wrapped around a tote (any color except brown) slung over the chair of a a woman on-the-go having lunch with her girlfriends in jeans, but still keeping it chic with a touch of gold jewelry and a luxe scarf which her friends keep staring at... hmm conversation piece, anyone?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Welcome to Muse!  I am delighted to have this space to reflect and share my intimate (behind the scenes) experience of silk painting.  Please continue check in periodically for regular updates on new pieces, stories of the trials and tribulations of the creative process, and of course for any news of upcoming Muse events.

A brief back story...

Anyone who knows me knows I'm completely obsessed with patterns. They are everywhere I look...  in the tiles on the floor beneath my toes in the morning, in the glowing street lights showing the way home at night, and don't even get me started with nature. Well, I suppose I'll start a little! Butterfly wings, tree bark, petals, skins, rock textures, water, the ethereal mixes of radiant colored sunsets streaking with glowing clouds... sigh... however I digress.

From patterns to painting... 

Although silk painting is an ancient practice originating in China thousands of years ago, it was a new experience for me when I decided to take a class for the first time. Incredible. First there were the resist lines.  Of course I became wonderfully lost in infinite variations of line work patterns ideas.  Then, after painting the open areas in and watching the vivid french dyes flow from my sumi brush spread across the silk, I simply couldn't get enough. My fascination with pattern, fabric, and fine art could finally all be expressed in combined harmony. It was an exhilarating moment!

And we're off...

So in the spirit of new beginnings, I am sharing today a picture of the first silk scarf I painted. It's named "Celestial Dance" due to the whimsical "dancing" of the sunset colors and stylized winds around the sun. It is a 22" square on silk habotai and it gracefully travels with me everywhere wrapped and coiled around my purse handle.  The colors look pretty against the white leather...

"Celestial Dance" has a special value to me as it represents my personal beginning to my ventures in silk painting. Funny how something so seemingly unsubstantial can make me positively glow inside.  "Cheers" to special treasures, "aha" moments, and to future musings!