You asked – so here it is – the first in a series of blog posts on “How to”… I guess you could call the collection “Silk Painting 101”, which seems a lot more polite than “Silk Painting for Dummies”!
There are various silk painting techniques. I like to describe them as Controlled Gutta Styling, Loose Gutta Accenting and Free Flow. As I am (admittedly) a bit of a control freak, I prefer the Controlled Gutta Style which some say is reminiscent of stained glass. This method best suits the bold outlines of my drawing style and is the technique I will be discussing in the next few blogs.
I purchase most of my materials online from Dharma Trading*.
1: Habotei 8 White Silk
I prefer this weight as it works well with a range of different matting and mounting choices.
2: Adjustable stretcher frame
I have had mine for years and it is known as batik style – I haven’t found an identical style here in the US however. The most important thing is that it needs to be adjustable so that you have flexibility in your choice of painting sizes. A cheap alternative to try initially is a circular embroidery frame. As long as the silk can be stretched taut for painting, this will work.
Three prong silk thumb tacks to hold the silk in place. I require these for my particular frame – make sure you purchase the ones that work with best with the frame you choose.
This is a latex based outliner/resist and is available in many colors. I prefer black, and occasionally use clear which will result in white outlines or accents. On the red illustration page in “Moyo’s Journey” I used this to create the aboriginal dot style effect.
5: Gutta applicator nozzle
These come in two sizes – #4 and #6. I prefer #6 as it allows the gutta to flow a little more freely.
6: Gutta applicator bottle
The gutta comes in larger bottles and needs to be decanted into these smaller applicator bottles. A messy business if you aren’t patient!
7: Marabu Silk Paints
There are many different brands of silk paint available but I prefer this range as it does not need to be steam set – just ironed. I also prefer to purchase from the wide selection of colors available instead of mixing. A little goes an incredibly long way. I have white in my palette but I have never used it – probably something I should experiment with down the line, to mix some pastels. The paint is extremely liquid – like ink – and is water soluble. This is good for creating tonal variation in your art AND for cleaning up afterwards.
8′ Paintbrushes in 3 sizes – your preference. I like the nylon bristle size 7 as my go-to brush for finer work.
You will also need to decide whether you are going to have your silk painting professional dry mounted and matted (expensive), whether you are going to stretch it over a blank canvas (pretty simple), or whether you are going to glue it with ModgePodge directly to the canvas (not without its own issues!). This choice will probably determine the size of your original painting.
So – get online and get shopping. I DO prefer to shop locally but where I live, its difficult to find the materials. I like to I support Dharma Trading, who are doing a lot of good in the global community, have been in business for 49 years and work hard to have a green environmental scorecard. Check them out
*Disclaimer – I did not receive payment from Dharma for this post, I am just a long standing customer who is happy with the products and service they provide.
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