Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Elephant Family–Artist’s Statement

The last of our three featured pieces is another silk painting, The Elephant Family, by Kay Collins. This is what she says about her technique:


“Using special pins, I stretched white China silk tightly over a wooden frame, much like canvas is stretched over a similar frame when oil painting. I used the combination of imported French silk dyes and a resist called gutta. The purpose of a resist is to stop the flow of dye to create a barrier which makes the outline of an image. Silk painting begins by drawing the outlines of the design with the gutta liquid. When the liquid lines are dry, the silk dye is allowed to flow within each segment of the picture. The result can be uniform fields of color.
”In painting The Elephant Family, there were places where I didn't complete the line drawing with gutta so as to allow the dyes to flow into one another, mixing and creating additional colors and a more fluid, rhythmic design rather than one constricted with rigid lines. This is where you "let go" and allow your imagination to help with the design.
”Silk painters use some of the same techniques as watercolorists to create designs... use of salt, rubbing alcohol, wet-on-wet, and wet-on-dry brush strokes are common in silk painting.
“After the painting was completed, I steamed the silk to set the dye, which increased the intensity of the color and made the painting permanent and durable.
“Before framing, I attached the silk painting to a piece of red foam core that I had spray painted with gold paint allowing more dimension. When you look closely at the work, you see glimmers of gold and red that come through the silk.
“I had the painting professionally framed as I felt that was part of the entire presentation. I didn't want to have it look like an "after-thought" in submitting the piece to the jury committee for review. If the painting "called for" a plain black frame, that would have been appropriate, but this painting needed to be enhanced with the choice of earth tones. “

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