Painting Poppies

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I always look forward to seeing these oriental poppies come into flower each year in my garden.Their bold shapes and colours make them an inspiration for silkpainting, so I thought I would show how I go about painting poppies.

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Georgia O’Keeffe is a great favourite of mine and I find her flower paintings very inspirational. “Oriental Poppies”,painted in 1928, shows wonderful shades of light and shade in the petals which I find a  helpful  reference when trying to mix colours.
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I drew a simple paper template of the poppy design, inspired by  Georgia O’keeffe’s  poppies!

 

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Then traced the design from the template with the auto-fade pen. All these lines will disappear completely!

 

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Working with clear gutta-serti resist on the outlines, this will control the flow of the dyes and eventually be washed out of the silk to reveal a white line.
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 These are the Pebeo Setasilk paints I use frequently in my workshops. I’m using “Buttercup”, “Tangerine”, Poppy Red”,” Magenta”, “Plum”, “Iris”, and Black”. I thought it might be interesting to show the stages of painting so starting with the poppy centres I mixed iris and black together and added on top of this some fine salt to hopefully add the impression of stamens.
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Here I’m applying several shades side by side, with some dilution to get the lighter more pastel shades.

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Here you can see the fine salt sitting on the silk, making it’s interesting pattern. I’ve then started applying  concentrate paints quickly, one after another, to get them to blend into each other. I’ve also diluted the poppy red which then becomes a very soft coral colour which is useful for the lighter shades in the poppy.

 

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I’m using a small natural “wolf” hair brush , which is great for working in these areas.You have to just apply the paint boldly and quickly so paints blend together on the silk, tying to keep in mind where the lightest shades want to be.

 

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Looking at the painting by Georgia O’Keefe, I ‘m trying to establish where the lightest areas are using a mixture of the lighter shades of buttercup and tangerine.

 

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Then follow swiftly with layers of darker poppy reds and magenta.
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Then I apply the  darkest red tone “Plum” on top of the other shades,  mostly around the centre and following the lines down from the outer edges to give a sense of shading.
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I also apply  water with a brush to areas which have been left to dry a bit longer which can give the effect of a delicate lightening to the petals.

 

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Time to paint the background and I chose a diluted “Gitane Blue”,  which gives a good contrast with the oranges and reds of the poppy. I’m using a 1″ foam brush which is useful for painting larger areas quickly and evenly.

 

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When all the diluted blue is painted, I apply a concentrate blue on top and paint around the flower to give a soft shadow.
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Background complete, but I’m tempted to add some rock salt around the edges of the blue border.
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After about 5 minutes the salt starts to absorb the dye, leaving these amazing patterns.
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Finally the poppy comes alive with the addition of black, painted whilst the base colours of the flower are still slightly damp, which can give this soft look.
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All the painting is complete and the salt is ready to be taken off, usually with a hair dryer. Then pins out and leave for a day and then iron fix,hand wash and iron damp!
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Iron fixing the silk paints with a cotton setting for 2mins does the trick.
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Then a short soak in warm, soapy water to remove gutta resist and any salt. Rinse in cold water.
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Lightly towel dry to remove excess water and iron damp with a cotton setting for a creaseless finish.
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The finished iron fixed painting ready for framing,making into a quilted cushion or hanging, I’m not quite sure which yet!

 

 

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