Friday, January 1, 2010

Do's and Dont's of silk painting in 2009

Happy 2010!!! Instead of posting my usual Friday Fashion Finds (which will return back to schedule next Friday), I am starting off this year's first posting with a list of "Dos and Don'ts" of silk painting that I have learned by painful trial and error over the past year in hopes that others will read, laugh, and learn the easy way in their adventures in this wonderful artistic medium.

1. Do not paint silk before washing with Synthrapol. You might encounter all sorts of defects and stubborn areas in the silk where the paint will refuse to bleed!
2. Do not leave your silk painting drying in the direct sunlight, unless you like to have the horrible shadows of pins incorporated into your design
3. Do not draw resist lines while your silk is even the least bit damp. The lines will blur, bleed, and the dye will refuse to spread all the way to the edge.
4. Do not draw with an invisible pen, and leave the silk stretched and sitting for a week. The marks will NOT melt away after painting over them!
5. Do not think that after one mistake, your painting is ruined. There is always a way to fix it - you just have to be even more creative :)
6. Do not attempt silk painting in a robe, as your long sleeves and waist tie WILL brush against your painting and smear everything.
7. Do not have a cup of drinking water near your painting water.. umm.. you can put together the horrible possibility here.
8. Do not ask any silk painting forum to debate the question "paints vs. dyes"? You will start a HUGE uproar and will forever wish you never asked the question.
9. Do not heat set water based paints on "silk setting" with the iron. It's not nearly hot enough, and your colors will become faded in washing, not to mention any metallics will just peel right off later
10. Do not underestimate the powerful beauty and inner peace of silk painting - it's simply like no other

1. Do have an inspiration, picture, or some reference in mind before you begin
2. Do have a nice shady area to paint and let your piece dry completely flat
3. Do buy "test/practice" silk to play with different techniques and test out colors
4. Do keep in mind the end use of your piece - is it to wear or to hang? What part will be most visible? Your composition should reflect this end use.
5. Do know your color charts and which colors, when mixed together, will make a terrible brown (for ex. purple/yellow, red/green, blue/orange)
6. Do share your work with friends and family - listen to their ideas and feedback
7. Do accept the organic and beautiful nature of silk painting.. it's not easy to create perfect lines or perfectly flat color, but that is also what is so wonderful!
8. Do try to let your pieces stay dry for 24 hours before heat setting or washing - the colors tend to set better
9. Do take the extra time to make sure the silk is stretched evenly and taught - the slightest dip or looseness can ruin your design
10. Do allow yourself fall in love with each brush stroke, each color, and each moment as your silk painting comes to life. I know I did, and it's made all the difference in the world!

This might not be the most technical lesson, and I'm definitely no expert, but it's things I've come to know all the same. In 2009, despite many unfortunate events, I have learned that painting on silk has been the most rewarding and fulfilling form of art that I've ever experienced. Thanks for reading, and as usual, wishing you happy musings, and happy painting!


Anonymous said...

All excellent points, Angela! Thanks for posting these.

Best wishes for a fabulous year of painting on silk :-)

Teena Hughes in Australia!

joy in my studio said...

Wow, what a joy to read, and such a gem of knowledge! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with the world!

Angel Ray said...

It's my pleasure to share my experiences! Silk painting is so unforgiving.. but so beautiful! And after all, if you can't laugh at your own silly mistakes, life would be most unfortunate :)

Francine Dufour Jones said...

Well said. This wisdom sure resonates with me.
Thank you for sharing your gifts.