Friday, April 16, 2010

Silk Painting - Going With The Flow

I love painting flowers!! This is a detail of a piece called "Blue Poppies".
I love vibrant colors!!

And brushes!!

And dyes!! And art supplies of all shapes and sizes!!

Two weeks ago, I took a few pictures of my neighbor's beautiful Tulips, wanting to use them as reference for a silk scarf I was going to paint.

When I tried to upload them to my computer, the camera's battery was dead!
After charging it and uploading the pictures, the printer wouldn't work!!

Trying not to lose it, I took a deep breath, went into my storage area and grabbed an armful of silk Tulips! (Going with the flow.)

Silk flowers come in handy, if you don't have the real-deal! Aren't they gorgeous?!

I was all set to go! I hand-washed the white silk and hung it to dry.

Then I attached it to the stretcher-bars.

I figured out my color scheme using my silk 'color-chart'.

I made a drawing of what I had in mind.

These were the colors I decided on.

Then I chose my dyes and...


After cleaning up the mess, I outlined the design with a water-soluble resist.

When it dried, I painted the flowers and leaves.

Later, when I painted the background, I realized that the resist was too thin and the colors bled. Seriously?!!

I had to outline the design with resist again, and when it was dry, paint over the areas that bled.
Then the scarf was rolled in steaming paper and placed in a steamer.

It steamed on the stove for three hours.
I usually have five or six scarves steaming at the same time, but I needed this one for this post. :)

After the steaming process, the scarf was hand-washed and rinsed until the water was clear, hung to dry and ironed. (The colors are then permanent.)

Since I'd decided to paint a pink background instead of the darker one, like in my drawing, the colors just didn't 'pop' enough for me.

I hung it back on the stretcher-bars and outlined the entire design in black, giving it a more graphic look.
Now it had to go back in the steamer for another three hours and be washed and ironed again!

And finally, on the third day -

It's finished! (Oh happy day!!)

Not wanting to waste the left-over dyes, I decided to paint a Poppy.
No muss! No fuss! Just for fun.

Why a Poppy?

Because, in that armful of Tulips, was this single, flattened-out, faded Poppy!
There was just something about it.

So, like before, I hand-washed, dried and attached the new scarf to the stretcher-bars.
But this time, I didn't do any of the sketching and thinking about it, I just dove right in.
(But I made sure to use a thicker resist!)

(I LOVE my studio!!)

Like the other scarf, this one went into the steamer for three hours, was hand-washed, ironed and...

Not one problem!! And I'm really happy with it.

Sometimes "going with the flow" doesn't suck!

Signing off for now,


  1. Hello Gabriele,
    Congratulations on your new blog! I saw your post on CC. It looks great, love your banner. Beautiful fabric, can't wait to come back. I enjoyed it all - your images, seeing your process. Wish you well.

  2. Those are beautiful paintings! I especially like the poppy one.

    Seriously, your studio looks awesome. :)

  3. Love your new blog, and your pieces of silk painting!!! Brava!

  4. Gabriele, I love your blog, your generosity of spirit and you have inspired me to go RAW! I may need a helping hand along the way....
    Ann Graham

  5. Ladies, thank you for your kind words! They are truly appreciated!!
    Being new to this blog-thing is a little intimidating, so your comments really help me feel more at ease!

    And Ann, welcome to the world of raw-foods!!!!
    What a difference that will make in how you feel! Congratulations!!
    I can steer you in the direction of books and info that you may need.

    Hugs to you all,

  6. Hey Gabrielle,

    It's me J*e from Lassens. Get out, I didn't know u were an artist. I knew u were raw foodist but never an artist.

    Great blog, I keep telling Tim & Sheila to start one, so they can at least get their name online to many health enthusiasts who are dying for info, (& may even get them work on the side.)

    Do u do batik work as well. My mom used to do it during her experimental days. : )

  7. Hey Anonymous J*e, :)

    Yup, I've been an artist all of my life.
    (Did ya think all I did was eat?!)

    Glad you like my blog! Thanks.
    Become a "Follower", or I'll come in the store and rearrange all the vegetables!
    (Oh, never mind - I do that already.)

    Yes, they should blog! They have SO much knowledge!

    I did batik in my hippy-chick days, until I burned the shape of an iron into the carpet! Our landlord was not amused.

    C U Soon,