Painting Flowers - Mandy Southan
Colour Mixing - Mandy Southan
Decorative Effects - Leonard Thompson
Dyeing Devores - Caroline Munns
Silk Choker Necklace - Linda Graves
Wax Melting Pots - Jill Kennedy
Gutta Pro-liners - Isabella Whitworth
Javana Air Pen - Isabella Whitworth
Microwave Dyeing - Vera Dreyfuss
Painting Borders - Tessa Barnes
Ten Top Tips - Jill Kennedy
Transferring designs - Anon
Free-style landscapes - Marianne Nash
Painted Silk Poppy - Mandy Southan
Magic Lettering - Leonard Thompson
Painted Lilies - Mandy Southan
The Silk Road - Mandy Southan
Aspects of Design - Leonard Thompson
Selling your work - Ian Bowers
Japan: Textiles - Mandy Southan



There are lots of different ways of approaching flower painting on silk. Here are just some of them.

Working from designs If you have no artistic experience or lack confidence in your creative abilities, you can use linear designs in this book or work from tracings of photographs. You can transfer the designs on to silk using a soft graphite pencil, an autofade marker, gutta or outliner.
If you trace from a photograph, remember that you need not copy it exactly as it is.
The design may be improved by adding an extra flower or leaving out a leaf! Use a photocopier to enlarge the size to the size you want. You can then enjoy the painting process without the anxiety of feeling you have to be able to draw first!

Working from photographs Some flower painters like to work from photographs because flowers move and change as you paint them, and sometimes wither before the painting is finished. Photographs can also provide plenty of inspiration during the winter months, when there not so many flowers around to paint. You can find beautiful photographs in gardening books and flower catalogues, or better still, take your own. This way you will have had the chance to study the real flowers and therefore have a deeper understanding of their growth and structure.

Working from real flowers I prefer to work from real flowers. Before I start a painting, I make graphite pencil drawings in line and tone, or I use coloured pencils - this helps me to understand each flower's form and structure. Through drawing, I begin to simplify and clarify what I want to say about the flowers in my painting. I try to capture the 'essence' of each flower.

Before beginning to draw, it is a good idea to study the flower closely for a few minutes. Turn it around and examine the formation of the petals, the way the leaves grow out of the stem, how the buds open - all the details unique to that flower. When you feel you are beginning to understand it, make a simple line drawing on a large sheet of paper. Follow the edges of the flower, stem and leaves. As you draw, keep your eyes almost continuously on the flower, not on the paper.
Let your eyes move slowly around the edges of the plant, and as they do, let your hand holding the pencil trace the contours of the plant as you see them. Do not lift the pencil off the paper, and try to resist taking your eyes off the plant to check what you are doing.
A quick glance is alright from time to time, just to make sure you are still on the paper and not drawing all over the tablecloth. It is surprising how easy and absorbing this kind of drawing is, and how expressive the results are.

Now make the second drawing. This time look a little more often at the paper. As you draw, compare shapes and relationships between one thing and another. Look at the spaces between the leaves and petals, for example. These are known as 'negative shapes'.
Try to see them as actual shapes and draw these abstract shapes rather than the plant itself. In this way your drawing become much more accurate. The drawings you make can can be traced on to the silk if you wish, or used as a valuable reference for your painting.

Drawing directly on to silk As your confidence and observational skills increase, you can sketch freely and lossely on to silk using an autofade marker and then apply resists. The latter requires careful observation because incorrect lines cannot easily be removed. Drawings made using either of these methods have a freshness and immediacy which traced lines can lose.

TIPS If you have drawn on the silk with an autofade marker, you need to draw
your resist lines on quite quickly or go over the lines lightly with a pencil, before they fade.

If you plan to tint the background or paint without resists, you may prefer to draw
on to the silk with pencil, because autofade lines will dissolve as soon as they are dampened.

If you would like details of tuition in flower painting techniques
please visit my web page by clicking here.