Sunday, August 15, 2010

Silk Painting - A Special Scarf For A Special Lady

I love painting flowers!
This is "Parrot Tulips" - a 42" x 42" Crepe de Chine scarf.

I was commissioned by my friends at the Betty Ferguson Foundation,
to paint a silk scarf for this years "Woman of Honor" -
the fabulous Jacquie Petersen.
I was told that her favorite flower was the Gardenia.
(I can almost smell it! Yum!)

The first thing I did was freak-out just a little,
because white flowers are the most difficult to paint.
Jacquie, are you sure you wouldn't rather have red Roses, blue Poppies,
yellow Sunflowers?! :)

I snapped out of it - and gathered my supplies.

Brushes -

Dyes -

Silk flowers for inspiration -

Look! I even found a cute, white-flower tea pot! (I'm so easily amused.)

Getting down to business -
I made a drawing of what I had in mind.

But wait! Before I go any further, let's play a little game.
As some of you know, this is my little friend, Mel-Mel.
Unlike "Eleanor Rigby" who's already 'wearing her face',
Mel-Mel's is still 'in a jar by the door'.
(I haven't painted her little face yet. It's SO tiny, it's big-time intimidating.)

Anyway, I've hidden Mel-Mel in some of the photographs. :)
Can you find her? How many times?
* (I'll tell you at the end, but NO peeking!)

OK, moving on -
I checked out my silk 'color-chart' to see which colors I wanted to go with.
Even though the flower is white, there are pastel colors involved.

I realized that I had a color-scheme already planned-out,
from a white flower I'd painted before. That saved me a bunch of time!

I hand-washed the silk.

And hung it to dry.

I attached it to the stretcher-bars.

I set up my dyes and did a little testing on a scrap-piece of silk.

I sketched out my design with a disappearing-ink pen.
(Not to be used on checks.)

I used a light color for my linear-underpainting.

After it was dry, I outlined the entire design with a water-soluble resist.
I used a hair-dryer to speed-up the drying process.

Then I painted. (The part I love the most!)

I used a little Vodka to slow the dyes down, so that some white areas remained on the flowers.
Some artists use Rubbing Alcohol, but I'm allergic to it and don't like the smell. Nasty!
(How many of you are making Vodka jokes right now?!:)

Well, the painting part of it anyway.

I rolled the scarf in several layers of paper.

Then taped it up.

I stuck it in a steamer - and steamed it on the stove for three hours.

Unwrapping it after steaming is fun, because the colors are more intense
and it's like looking at it for the first time! Ahhhhhhh

Then, more hand-washing -

More drying -

Some ironing.

And finally, here it is - "Gardenias For Jacquie".

Here's a photo from a previous post,
It's me, in my studio. I love my studio!! I love silk-painting!!
(I love comments! I love Followers!;)

* (Four times.) :)

Signing off for now,


  1. very nice job! yes, I guess you heard me: I was the one making all of the Vodka jokes! I love the way your scarf turned out, and I like your playful sense of humor.

    thanks for sharing!

  2. OMG- that is crazy lovely and you're right. Painting white? I'd be pretty much like, Can I bake you the empire state building instead?

    wow. And I was all over the vodka jokes how did you know???


  3. Thank you for the compliments, ladies!
    And I knew YOU guys would be the ones making the jokes! ;)

    Thanks for becoming a Follower, adding my link to your blogs and leaving me comments! I'm doing the same with you.
    Good times!!


  4. Wow!!! White florals with a black background is incredibly challenging to pull off and this came out absolutely beautiful, so rich and alive with color. I really love how you walked us step by step through your process with the photos. And I noticed you used some extra tape on either end of your steamer roll - up until this point I didn't think that was possible (I use the same one) but the final product speaks for itself! :o) Thanks so much for sharing your work, looking forward to following you Gabriele! Happy painting :)


  5. Joanna,
    Thank you for the compliment, which was much appreciated!

    That tape on the ends is tricky to get off, so be careful. Don't burn yourself! You have to take it off first, while it's still soft, or it's hard to get off the post.

    Gotta go - I'm checking out your blog now!! :)


  6. Love the attitude! Love the talent!! It's always so much fun to see how other artists work......your website: fantastic!....thank you for sharing Gabriele...paint on! I arrived at your site thanks to my great friend Karen Sistek.

  7. OK, I'll try this again-
    I tried to leave a reply for you, Lynn, and it got lost somewhere.
    I'm trying again and hope the other one doesn't show up too. Duh

    As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted - thanks SO much for your compliments! I really appreciate them! And you're friends with Karen? Awesome! I thinks she's great!

    Bye for now,

  8. Have checked your blog out a few times now and you just amaze me! Your work is stunning. Thanks so much for sharing your process.

    Laura Ann Beehler

  9. Not only are you a VERY gifted artist, but a sweet, gentle soul! Thank you for sharing your process with us! I may work up the nerve to try it myself someday.

  10. You are ONE talented lady! The piece is gorgeous. I can only imagine what a pleasure it will be for the honoree to open a gift box and find this in there. Just wondering how long it took from start to finish? You did a fabulous job! Diana

  11. Wow, this is amazing!!

    Sadie at heyMamas

  12. I had no idea the process was so involved. You do just beautiful work. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Stunning. Absolutely stunning. I weep.

  14. Bitchy Waiter,

    You have NO idea how much your comments mean to me!

    And to anyone reading this, you HAVE to go look at his blog! HAAA!!

    Again, thank you B.W.!!

    Love ya,

  15. Laura Ann, Denise, Sadie and Pat,

    Thank you SO much for your wonderful comments!
    I really appreciate you taking the time to leave them.

    I check out your blogs all the time and love knowing you're out there! Read you soon!


  16. Oh DROOL. Just that, drool.....sigh, envy, lust, glorious color and cloth, DROOL! Thanks so much for sharing the process, too! I really need to start buying DuPont and Tinfix? Sigh...too many wonderful colors and cloths, never enough time! Cheers, Sarah

  17. Sarah!
    You are so funny!!

    Yes! Dupont and Tinfix are a must! :)

    Thanks for commenting!


  18. Gorgeous work! I'm glad you're doing what you're doing.

    Carol in Denver

  19. Okay- I have no idea what happened here. I was sure I placed a post here before about this scarf!?!? You didn't delete me, did you?:>) Anyway...What I said (I thought) was that this is probably the most beautiful scarf I've ever seen! You are truly, truly a wonderful artist! I never realized how much work went into that whole silk painting process.'s the deal...I'm pretty sure this woman that is being honored is NOT going to like this old scarf anyway. Why don't you just save the lady the embarassment of returning it and just send it directly to me? It would look ever so wonderful hanging on ME...and your problem would be solved! Just an idea.....

    Thanks for visiting my blog, by the way...and commenting. You're a doll! Diana

    ps...when I went to post this I just figured out that I missed the word verification process the firt time...

  20. Thank you for the compliment, Carol!
    It's much appreciated!


  21. Nana Diana,
    You're killing me!! You are SOOO funny! Thanks for the chuckle AND the compliments!!

    And I would never delete you! Are you kidding?!
    You left a comment on the previous post - about Chocolate Truffles and Snaggletooth the Poodle.
    But I never saw anything here - until now. Yay!!

    Again, thank you, funny gal!
    I'll be reading your blog again, tomorrow. Love it!


  22. Hey Gabriele! I was here before and got so carried away by reading all your other blog posts that I forgot to leave a comment ... your scarf is absolutely breath taking! So vibrant and alive it just makes me sigh with wonder!
    Now, go paint a face on Mel-Mel, lol!
    hugs, luny

  23. lunytuner, (the perfect name for you - hysterically funny lady!:)

    Thanks for your kind words!! I really appreciate them!

    Poor Mel-Mel. I feel like that, before I put eyeliner on...

    You will be the first to see her, when I've given her a make-over.


  24. This is so much work!! I never knew that so much effort is put in hand painted silk scarves! Wow, you did a really good job with this one and of course the all other ones i saw on your web page!! :)

    p.s. - you look amazing in your studio!

  25. Just Cake girl,

    Please feel free to comment or email me EVERY morning!
    What a nice thing to wake up to!
    Compliments, ya gotta love 'em! :)

    Seriously - thank you!


  26. Hihi,

    You mad me so laugh :)) love the compliments too :)

    Kisses from Croatia :)

  27. So so very beautiful - what lovely work!

  28. Amazingly beautiful!! I am so glad that Chef Tina mentioned you on her blog, because now I can follow you and your work!

  29. Stephanie, UK lass, The Best Decade,
    Thank you for the wonderful compliments!!
    They're much appreciated!
    Thank you for following me!!