Silk Painting Koi

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This is one of the designs I offer at my sessions at Center Parcs and I’m trying it today with wax as an outliner rather than gutta serti. I’m having a bit of a revival with wax at the moment and wanted to share what it can offer .
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You’ll need a koi template, a frame, silk ,pins, tjantings brush for wax and brush for dyes, wax pot, wax, hair dryer, iron and auto-fade pen.
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Start outlining from the template with the auto fade pen.
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Turn on the wax heater and melt some wax, I’m using a ready mix of paraffin and beeswax.
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Then it’s a bit of outlining with the tjanting, a traditional Indonesian tool for pouring wax out of a tiny spout. This can take a bit of practise and is not as easy as using a gutta bottle and nib ,but I thought it would be fun to have a go.
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It was helpful to have the frame at a slant when applying the wax and to wipe off under the bowl of the tjanting each time as drips can occur.
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With all the outlining done it was time to paint. I’m using the Pebeo Setasilk iron fix paints and using all these warm shades for the fish’s body.
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I also use an ice cube tray for mixing and some Chinese brushes and plastic pipettes for mixing paints.
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I place a bit of each concentrate into each pot in the tray and dilute and intermix to extend the shades.
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The small Chinese brush is good for these scales and I started with a dilute yellow and gradually worked across the body, introducing lots of different shades.

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The head was painted with concentrate colours , merging them quickly together.

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Time to paint the fins.
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Water is applied first with a brush.
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Then a concentrate Old Gold is painted near the body.
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Then the dye is dragged downward towards the tip of the fin to give a graduated dark to light effect.
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Fish complete!
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Time for the background, which is a dilute Turquoise, applied with a foam brush.
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I’m placing coarse sea salt on the background for a splash effect around the tail.
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Water is also worth a go as it can produce watery patterns when dropped on the dye using a pipette.
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I’d usually call this finished, but fancied taking things further with the wax so….
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After drying and removing the salt.
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The wax gets turned on again and I’m covering all the background with wax using a wider brush.

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Then I fill each of the scales with wax using a smaller brush.
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Once the wax is cool and is taken off the frame it can be scrunched to form a crackle effect.
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This is a sgraffito technique which will allow the dye to get in the lines I am making with a pin. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as you may cut the silk!

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More detail in the scales. I have seen these sort of marks on a Japanese woodblock print and liked them.
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Using my darker dyes Gitane Blue and Black mixed together and applied neat.
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Apply the dye all over , working into the broken lines of wax.
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Dab off surplus dye with a tissue.
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Looking a bit dreary! but I’m hoping it will get more cheery when the wax is removed.
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Remove wax between sheets of newspaper.
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Submerge in a jar of white spirit for a few minutes to release any wax left in the fabric.
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Wash in warm soapy water.
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Rinse and iron damp with a cotton setting.
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Detail of the scales with sgraffito effect.
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and tail detail.
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The finished silkpainting! I liked the extra marks on the fish’s body and cracking effects in the water, I didn’t expect the darker marks on the face where the wax crept through the wax. The wax gives a more characterful, weathered look which gutta resist used solely will not. I enjoyed using the tjanting and found it a very secure line of resist and surprisingly easy to apply and definitely think working with wax worth a try if you get the chance.

3 thoughts on “Silk Painting Koi”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your work – the simplicity of your instructions is wonderful. I’m going to try this with my group of seniors with dementia – if not this year, then 2016 – I will let you know how we get on!

    regards, Peta

    1. I’m so pleased you want to do some silkpainting with your group, I’d be very interested to hear how you get on.
      Yes, the silk I use for the workshops is called Habotai 8mm and is cut to size to fit my 18″x18″ frame size. I can supply this size if that’s any help for £2.00 per sq.+ p+p or you can buy ready rolled white silk scarves online in various sizes at very reasonable prices.
      Hope that helps,
      Jennifer

  2. ps to my first comment – please will you let me know where you buy your silk – are they scarves or pieces you have cut for your workshops?

    xxpeta

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