I’m often asked about the process of creating a silk painting so here’s a brief description for those who are interested!
First I draw the basic lines of my subject on paper, simplifying into areas where I want the colours on the silk to remain separate.
I then stretch a piece of silk onto a suitable sized wooden frame using a hammer and three-pin tacks.
I then trace my drawing from the paper onto the silk using a special pen that fades away with time.
The race is then on to apply gutta lines over my pen lines before they fade away (this usually happens within an hour or two). Gutta is a kind of rubbery paint, which I apply from a squeezy bottle with a nib attached. The gutta will prevent the coloured silk paint from running from one area of the silk to another.
I then have to allow the gutta lines to completely dry before I can add any colour. This will take about 12 hours at room temperature but can be speeded up with the use of a hairdryer or heater.
Once the gutta is dry I apply coloured silk paints to the areas of silk between the lines. The silk paint is very liquid, like ink. Whilst the colour is still wet I can use various techniques to alter the appearance of the paint: table salt or sea salt can be used to get speckled effects; water or alcohol can be applied to leave different kinds of marks; colours can be blended together. A hairdryer can be used to control the rate at which the paint dries and therefore how much it spreads.
When all the colour has been applied and is dry, the painting is removed from the frame and ironed on a low heat to fix the colours.
I then stretch the finished painting onto a mount before framing.