The Joy of Painting on Silk

By Jill Ami Meyers

Painting silk gives me a wonderful feeling as the fibres of the silk shimmer as my painting progresses.

I apply “Gutta” (or resist) when I create my design, as it forms a negative space for me to paint within. When applying silk dyes or fabric paints to silk, the colours tend to bleed into the fibbers of the silk and each other. The Gutta stops the flow of paint/dye, and allows me to creatively change my colours as I progress.

Some silks bleed faster than others. When blending two or more colours together, it is best to use the paint brush with a very tiny circular motion creating a scrubbing action. Use the tips of the bristles of your paint brush when applying new colours to your silk that you want to blend.

This action will allow the colours to softly mix and merge into the silk fibres so that the colours blend in a subtle transition. This technique can be used for shading or contrast.

If you are painting a large area, it is important to keep a wet edge on the entire area you are painting or the colour you are applying will not blend smoothly and you may end up with a dark dry edge (watermark effect) where the paint has dried and will no longer blend easily.

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Comment by Barbara Gabogrecan

Jill is a silk painter residing in Hawaii. Her work is inspired by the rich colours and sunshine of where she lives. You can see more of her work in her Blue Ginger Gallery It is great to have someone of Jill’s expertise, share her knowledge with our viewers.

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