Creating Silk Art is much like fly fishing! Rewarding, frustrating, beautiful colors can be found, every mistake brings a new learning experience and tons of great friends and new folks all the time coming in and out of your life to share what they know with you, and most importantly to me, they are both pure fun.
A long number of years ago, while driving through Montana on a fishing trip, a giant billboard along the hiway caught my eye. It was an advertisement for an artist, who happened to paint on silk. The colors were vibrant and the work whimsical and fun and depicted the lifestyle I lived at the time. Oh wow! Being completely taken aback by her work, a vow was made. Over the years I had searched out her work, and did not know then this would become my medium of choice. Painting on silk, wow! Working with oil paints since being in junior high when I could get my hands on paints and something to paint on. I hid them from everyone. When I left home to raise a family is when the long, long hours of painting at night began, when no one was around. (I have never been one of those souls who needs hours and hours of sleep). I did this for years. Early in the predawn hours, slipping back into bed, and sleeping till being bombarded with kids to get up.
Knowing about different canvas types, I figured painting on silk was the same as painting on linen, or plain canvas, the silk was prepared already and pre-stretched on bars in the same manner as canvas or linen, what was the big deal or hoopla about anyway. Boy was I wrong. However, immersed in my daily family life and changes going on there raising a family- this dream went on a very far away back burner.
But, despite my efforts (then without the internet) I never was able to find real insight into the process with out having to go to a far away country, and how it all worked. A few years back, a local artist and instructors name was given to me, only then did I began to find out more information. By then, the internet had been a huge part of my life for a number of years, finding several websites of other silk artists who pointed me in the right direction for supplies. Guessing it would be too expensive to just jump in, and go for it until one day while with my daughter in a gift shop looking at silk scarves, I mentioned it to her. She asked me why not give it a try, on a small scale. I did and became immediately transformed. It was wonderful to follow blogs, and websites regarding silk artists and painters. After that, it was time to try to take a class. No looking back any more.
For me, painting on silk, was nothing like painting on watercolor paper, canvas, linen, board of any kind and nothing like painting in any other medium I had experience in. But in the beginning it was like painting on a paper napkin with watercolor paint, it ran everywhere. I just did not know enough about it and not knowing how to control the dyes it was like painting in watercolor run amuck if you just free flow. Just like everything else, there is a learning curve, and I needed to do my homework, study and yep, practice, practice, practice and keep doing it hands on.
Silk is not applied to a canvas, board, paper, until after the painting is completed and the dye is set, either with heat or steam. Just part of the process. It takes dedication, work and years to acquire the skills to completely master it, and someone is always advancing the process – a new skill can be
learned. Almost everyday I learn more and more about this fine art.
So many wonderful Silk and Fiber Artists have given so much advice, hints, tips and listening to them has been the best thing I have done. I try what they share when I can and adapt it to my style and use what I can of the information. I was never interested in showing someone how to do something before as I get so lost in what I am doing it is hard to teach it and I thought I was too critical and it was hard for me to let people do it their way. One day my father said what’s wrong with that- you do everything you do your way. Yep-he hit a nerve!
Classes are held every month and it is such a good time meeting the people who come and have developed some great friendships from this. It is a magical thing to watch some one develop their talents. If you would like to learn the basics of silk painting, please give me a shout out as it is a very exciting medium to learn and very rewarding. Private instruction is offered locally, taking beginners through to an advanced class in a series of three to five classes. You can also take a Silk Scarf Painting Class, which is offered in groups of six maximum. These classes can be in your home or a studio of choice and last about three to four hours depending on how many are in attendance.
Take care, and I hope to see you along the river of colors on my pallet soon.
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