By Barbara Gabogrecan
As discussed in an earlier post, there is some discussion on whether or not Silk Painting is a craft or an art. To some degree this dilemma has been caused by folk treating it like a craft. They just copy a photo and simply ‘colour it in’ with dyes. They are really only ‘switched on’ by the beauty of the vibrant colour of dyes on silk. I think this is understandable because probably the main reason an artist would paint on silk is because of the iridescence and beauty of the colour.
By the way; it is also confusing to say ‘painting’ if you are using dyes. You can also use paint which leaves the area stiff from the paint used, rather than the softness of the silk texture when dyes are used.
So, what do I consider to be the main skills you need to make your silk painting special? There are five steps I think you should be prepared to practice and become proficient in:-.
- Learn how to draw
- Learn how to design
- Understand some of the elements of design, especially line, tone, colour and texture
- Experiment with different grades of silk and different ways of applying your gutta, colour tone etc.
- Develop a signature so that your style of painting is easily recogniseable.
It is these skills that not only will make your silk painting a work of art, but they will also add to your confidence and pleasure. So often I hear fold say, “I can’t draw a straight line”, or “I can only draw stick figures”. Well, guess what; everyone can draw if they want to and are shown how. Sure, some will be better than others; but everyone can draw.
Designing is just a series of techniques you can use to adjust your drawings to fit specific shapes and sizes you are working on. I actually get a lot of pleasure from designing as it uses most of the elements of design. Those joining my online silk painting course are given lots of help in both these areas.
You do need to better understand the elements of design, some of which I have listed above. You can also achieve different effects if you use different grades and weight of silk. Once you have experimented, it is time to develop a signature. Let me explain more about what a ‘signature’ actually means.
Let me know your thoughts on the necessity of achieving these #5 skills listed above. If you are interested in learning more, join the online silk painting course. There are artists from America, England and Australia participating.