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.
Here are some time lapse videos of the process: