Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hand-painted Purple, Yellow, and Green Silk Scarf with Clematis Flowers

     This hand-painted 11" x 60" silk scarf was inspired by the lovely flowers on clematis vines. Of the various varieties in our botanical reference books (oh, the gorgeous photos!), I decided to represent one with six-petal blossoms in shaded purple tones. My silk painting technique, using French-style dyes, does not allow for perfection in reproducing nature exactly; the results are more free-form or impressionistic. But these flowers look more like the photos than some (for example, I used a different approach for an earlier scarwith a loose painting technique; they are not meant to be like any "real" flowers).

     Rather than describe all the details of the process, I'll summarize and readers who want more can follow links to more extensive explanations. To avoid pure white gutta outlines, I painted the entire scarf with pale yellow and yellow-green, wet-on-wet, before any drawing and let the piece dry. Then, with preliminary sketches as a guide to shape and placement, I lightly drew in the flowers and leaves with a water-soluble fabric pencil and then traced the design with gutta resist.

Closer view of design details
     The flowers and leaves took several layers of dye to gradually deepen and vary the shades and tones. I used a permanent fabric marker for the vines and a few other small details.

     Painting on silk is always a discovery process, and I am still learning and growing in the art. This particular scarf turned out well, I think, and I am using a similar approach to create an autumn leaf design. Stay tuned.

Question of the day: For scarf wearers, what sorts of designs do you like best: flowers and other themes from nature, abstract, geometric, or other?