Some of the detailed pieces I have painted on silk over the years have required a steady hand and a bit of know-how as well as lots of patience and good-will.
But we all start somewhere and I am certainly no exception. I remember when I first taught myself to paint on silk many years ago how I was absolutely mesmerised at seeing the salt technique in action.
This video shows you the technique in some detail:
I have found with practice that you can control the outcome to a certain extent. It’s really important to ensure that your work is wet. I’ve taught many silk painting workshops where participants have been really disappointed when the salt grains didn’t have the effect they wanted.
This was mostly due to them adding the salt when the paint was already too dry to react with the dyes on the silk.
You will get the longer lines similar to masses of little comets rushing across your silk on the areas that are sloped at the edge. And where the silk might have sagged a little in the middle, the markings are rounder.
What I particularly love is that, even after you’ve removed the salt grains, the pattern continues to work and so the picture looks a bit different again when the silk is properly dry. You can see this clearly illustrated by comparing the photo on the left with the final image on the video.
This technique is great for combining with other techniques such as embellishing your work with metallic resist. If you’d like to see how to do this, have a look at my video ‘How to Embellish a Silk Painting with Gold Resist or Gutta’.
You can also add wonderful accents with dilutant or alcohol. I hope to be able to demonstrate the techniques soon to you on video as well.
One of the prettiest things you can with this technique is to create a stunning silk scarf with vibrant colours. Just make sure you remove all the salt grains before rolling up the silk ready for steaming as there will be unsightly marking after steaming if you don’t.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried this out before or are thinking of trying it out. What did you paint and how did it turn out?