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The Art of Silk Painting


Silk painting is an ancient art dating back to 2600 bc in China.

Painting on silk is different than painting on surfaces such as canvas or paper because the "paint" used does not sit on the surface, but is absorbed and becomes part of the protein fiber of the silk ....hence, the shine of the silk itself becomes part of the brilliance of the color. The "paint" used is an ink or dye and is in liquid form. To control the flow of this dye, I limit the amount of dye on my brush or use gutta serti, a latex based resist, drawn in as a line that stops the flow of dye.

There is no dip dyeing involved. All my pieces are painted with watercolor brushes. Since the dye medium is transparent "mistakes" cannot be painted over.

I use a 10 or 12 mommie (weight of silk) chinese silk habotai as my canvas.

When the painting is done it is wrapped in newsprint and steamed to set the color. Then it is ironed and mounted on foam-core board to be framed.

The longevity of an original painting on silk is similar to, or better than, a watercolor painting or pastel. There are chinese silk paintings from 300 bc that are still intact. The most permanent silk dyes are still however subject to fading over time in bright light, especially sunlight, so paintings should be hung out of direct UV rays. Silk itself is more durable than other fabrics. Most of the old textiles preserved now in museums are silk. It is also naturally resistant to various molds and mildews.

For more information email me : Margriet.