Applying the gutta is technically the most challenging part of silk painting. You need to make sure that you have strong solid outlines, with no gaps or breaks in them. To this end, I thought we would start with a practice piece first with a free form design. We are going to apply the paint FIRST for this project and then add the gutta on top of it as a decoration. This will give you a good idea of how the paint flows on the fabric, and how to control the gutta applicator.
The finished piece could be used for a card or a multimedia piece at a later stage.
HINT: When I crop painted silk fabric from a painting, I always hang on to it for future embellishments
Stretching the Silk
To begin the process, you will need to stretch the silk so that it is taut over the frame, attaching it at close intervals with the three prong silk thumb tacks. Begin with one tack in each corner of the frame. Then pin it down one side of the frame, and then pin the opposite side. Do the same with the other two sides until the silk is snug on the frame with no wrinkles. Cut the silk on the outside of the frame so that you have no pieces left flapping in the wind! Here is a short video on how to do this.
Freeflow painting for the practice piece – click here for video.
As your paint will not be restricted by gutta for this process, remember that the colors will flow into one another. Get a feel for how quickly the paint does dry – and you will see that it leaves a water mark when this happens. Also consider which colors you juxtapose with others to avoid an all over muddy brown! I am assuming that you are familiar with primary and secondary colors of the color wheel. If you aren’t then take a refresher look online to remind yourself of which colors together create other colors. I use nylon brushes in various sizes to apply the silk paint. Experiment with blending colors without washing your brush and with adding a little bit of water. Don’t try and paint anything specific, instead just work on getting the feel of the paint and how it flows on the silk.
When the silk is dry, try doodling with the gutta to get a feel for the pressure you need to apply to both the applicator bottle and the silk, the kind of bold lines you need to use, and how to avoid blobs!
Once your abstract test piece is finished and completely dry, remove it from the frame and on a low setting, with no steam, gently iron the entire piece. You can then cut out the pieces you wish to use. If you are making cards, then a light application of spray mount on the back of the piece you plan to use will work well. I will cover other gluing options in a later post. The most important thing to remember is that in order for the colors to “pop” you will need to attach the finished piece to a white background. Try it out against other colors and you will see what I mean.
This is a fun and easy way to start silk painting. Please send me any related questions – I’ll be happy to answer them!
If you are interested in receiving occasional informational newsletters from MirandaRobertsArt and Moyo’s Journey, please click here. I will never share your information with a third party and will not fill your inbox with spam mail!