For 23 years I have had an intimate relationship with the world’s most luscious fabric – Silk. Painting on this fabric is the vehicle I have chosen for its unique properties to reflect and refract color. Using wax, dye, and steam I create lush images with luminous colors that enliven and uplift any room.
My compositions are derived from many sources. When I traveled through Europe, Australia, Africa, and the American Southwest, I developed a great love for prehistoric petroglyph rock art. I have studied the art of these ancient peoples extensively. From the caves which housed cro-magnum man in France, to the rock cliff ruins of the Anasazi Indians of the American Southwest to the ancient Tassili civilization of the Sahara, I am continually impressed with the sophistication of these talented “primitive” peoples.
I am also crazy about flowers. Looking directly into a blossom and recreating the subtle nuances in the shadows, while capturing the intense colors or subtle colors is an exciting challenge for me. I want the flower to jump of the wall and hug the observer with joy.
Peaceful landscapes are also a favorite subject of mine. I love taking long hikes and climbing mountains - the scenery that God has blessed us with is unsurpassable. If I can capture just a bit of the essence of this bounty, I feel privileged.
My hope that many people will choose to brighten their homes and their outlook with one of my paintings. If I can bring a bit of joy every day into the lives of my collectors, my mission is accomplished.
My Silk Painting Process
I begin by drawing the composition on white paper with a black pen. Then I lay my white silk over the paper. I prefer a heavy weight silk charmeuse for its luster and strength. The drawing is then traced on to the silk with a brush dipped into melted beeswax. The wax creates a waterproof line.
Then I suspend the silk in air, tacking it onto sawhorses. The “paint” is actually special dye made especially for silk. The dye is painted on to the silk and the wax lines act as a resist, keeping the dyes from bleeding together. The technique of painting the dye is similar to working with watercolor, as far as shading and color manipulation.
When the painting is finished I carefully wrap it in newsprint and steam it for two hours. This sets the dyes and they become permanent – color fast and light fast. No moisture or condensation may come into contact with the painting until this critical and very tricky step is complete. Once steamed, I wash the painting in hot water to remove excess dye and put it in the dryer. Now I take it to the dry cleaner to remove the wax. Finally, the painting is ready to frame.
The last step: I paint over the white lines (left by the wax) with acrylic paint. I have found that this creates another level of depth and richness.
Over time, dust tends to settle on the top edge of the painting, but it doesn’t stick to the face of the painting, so occasionally dust off the top edge with a clean, dry towel.